Sara’s Broccoli Game-Changer


Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for all your messages & prayers & comments, & especially for the lovely early reviews so many of you have posted on your blogs. If you’re a blogger who received an early copy of Bread & Wine and you haven’t yet posted about it, next week would be amazing–thank you times one thousand. I’m feeling so deeply incredibly grateful for you all, for being a warm and loving and truly fantastic community. You’re the best. And I thought you might like some broccoli.

Originally, I put a recipe for roasted broccoli in Bread & Wine. And then along the way I pulled it, because it’s not really a recipe. It’s more like a sentence, really. But then my editor asked me to put it back in because she’d tried it, having run across it in one of the millions of drafts we traded back and forth. She loved it, and she wanted it in the book. We slipped it into the appendix, in a section about very practical, non-spectacular weeknight cooking.

To my great surprise, I’ve been getting more Twitter messages and FB comments and emails from early readers about the broccoli than I ever imagined. And I’m thrilled. It’s a total staple in our house—even our picky boys eat their “trees for big muscles.” I will warn you that the smell is just a little bit diaper-y…not nearly as bad as kale, which makes you want to move away, but a touch stinky. Worth it, entirely.

I’d always steamed broccoli, I think, and never been particularly excited about it, but then one winter I went to stay with my friend Sara in Boston for a writing retreat, and she roasted broccoli with lots of sea salt as an afternoon snack.

She told me it would taste like french fries. I was skeptical, understandably. And then she was right — absolutely delicious french-fry-ish bites of broccoli. Since that trip, broccoli has been a permanent fixture on the grocery list, making once-a-week (at least!) appearances on our dinner plates.

Since that winter in Boston, Sara has lived in Islamabad, Santa Barbara, and now Botswana, and I haven’t seen her since the summer, but every time I roast broccoli–which is a lot–I think of my friend Sara. I love how food transports us that way.

Earlier this year, my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law asked me to teach them a few new recipes. They were looking for simple weeknight dinners for their families. We made white chicken chili, pasta with bolognese, goat cheese scrambled eggs, roasted broccoli, and breakfast cookies.

The broccoli, obviously, is the least exciting item on that list, but after the eggs and before the cookies, I insisted we do the broccoli.

My sister-in-law Amy had been skeptical, just as I had been, but when she tasted it, she said, “This? This is a broccoli game-changer!” That phrase has made its way into lots of our conversations since then, and the broccoli has made its way to several of their tables.

Preheat your oven to 425. Cut up one crown of broccoli into bite-size pieces, then toss it with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some sea salt on a cookie sheet. Cook for 12-14 minutes, tossing once, until it starts getting a little browned and crackly in a good way.

Love, love, love, S

19 thoughts on “Sara’s Broccoli Game-Changer

  1. Yes, roasted broccoli is a major game changer. I’ve tried to get my parents to believe me on this, but they cannot get past the smell. Their loss.

    p.s. if you throw some lemon juice in there pre-baking and some parmesan post-baking, you will not be sorry.

  2. Roasted Brocolli was hands-down the brocolli game changer in my house of picky eater roomates as well. I read about it on a blog that touted a recipe that could turn veggie haters into lovers…the roasted brocolli followed.

    The only spin on mine is that includes 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (on top of the exact same recipe above). It makes the natural sugars already in the brocolli carmelize and POP. Typically I’m a veggie purist, so don’t write me off as one of those who has to add sugar to strawberries. THIS is 5 extra calories of MAGIC. The combo of sea salt and veggie carmelization is delectable.

    Try it out, and thanks for sharing the greatest Brocolli secret to more of the world ;)

  3. I am an unabashed fan of this recipe! Works great on cauliflower, too. And I’ll be adding a pinch of sugar tonight, thanks to Rachel. But to really bring the broccoli to the height of flavor, you need to roast this on the grill! Little charry tips to the broccoli crowns, a bit of smoke flavor, and a nice crunch to the stalks.

  4. You taught me this recipe in, like, a text. Still making it.
    Don’t forget Trader Joes sells those bags of pre-cut broccoli… doesn’t get more simple than that!

  5. Thanks for this recipe. My stepdaughter (13) just started working with a nutritionist and this was a hit!

  6. Love this recipe. Like soo simple & yum. Is that a dish towel underneath the broccoli in the picture above? If so, where is it from??

  7. I am a person who eats broccoli because I should, not because I want to. I just made this and really liked it. I am also now feeling like super mom as my son, who hates most vegetables with a passion, tried it and said “I actually like this” . I am so glad you shared this!

  8. It’s funny that you wrote about this because after I finished the advanced copy of the book, the first thing I did was go back and look for that recipe for the broccoli. And I did have to really search for it back there in the appendix! But it was so worth it! Thanks for the recipe, and seriously, Shauna, thanks for the book. I’m composing my review of it for my blog and Amazon even as we speak, and I’m having a hard time even describing what it made me feel. This book, even more than your others, felt like a cup of tea and a long conversation with a best friend. It was real and raw and honest and comforting all at the same time. Incredible. Also, I’m pretty sure you and I are supposed to be best friends. Just sayin’.

  9. Shauna-I’m a blogger and would love love love to review your book! I also do some book reviews for Crossway. Any chance you need more reviewers? I love your writing…inspiring!

  10. This is a weekly staple at our house too. When I was trying to convince my two year olds to eat broccoli, I sliced it into “chips” and gave them ranch dressing. Now, they’ve graduated to plain old broccoli with sea salt. It’s a family favorite for sure!

  11. I couldn’t agree more! I discovered roasted broccoli a few years ago, and I still crave it at least once a week. CRAVE broccoli. How crazy is that? My favorite way to eat it is to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over it right after it comes out of the oven then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. DE-lectable. I can’t wait to read the book and get more recipes and conversation!

  12. I roast mine the same way, but drizzle some gourmet balsamic vinegar on after you take it out of the oven and it’s delightful! My husband and I ate the whole bowl before dinner was even ready…!

  13. So, I popped over to Storyline tonight and loved your post. Then I did some catch-up on your site and am rolling about the broccoli discussion.

    We too, love roasted broccoli. I made some this afternoon and was all proud of myself for picking something healthy for a snack. The issue was: broccoli+empty stomach=mama on the couch for the rest of the day…which is why I’ve had the opportunity to sit and peruse my favorite blogs.

    I’m actually launching my first blog tomorrow. Cold Tangerine’s helped convince me that I had something to say. You may have seen the flashes across the sky tonight in the direction of Central Indiana? That was my excitement level lighting up the sky!!!

    Thanks for the freshness found in your words!

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