Simple, Steamed Broccoli

Broccoli, cooked right, just has to be one of the most marvelous veggies there it – cooked wrong it becomes soggy, strong in flavor and gets pushed around the plate before it ends up down the disposal. I’ve shown my son and his girlfriend more than a few times, but I thought I should detail my easy method, here. It comes out perfectly every time.

Beautifully Steamed Broccoli
Beautifully Steamed Broccoli

Broccoli’s a vegetable I take a bit of care with, yet even so, it’s just as quick to make if from fresh as it is to buy it frozen and toss it in the microwave. And it’s so much better than any frozen broccoli you’ll eat. Even better, unless you’re getting your frozen broccoli dirt cheap with a coupon, fresh beats frozen in price every time. Frankly it’s a myth that most frozen vegetables are cheaper than fresh.

I properly prep it, shaving the outer edge of the stems which takes like two seconds. Trust me on this – the stalks are better than the florets! Then I slice the stem off, remove the florets and with the point of my knife separate them, ever so carefully, leaving them as intact as possible, and about the same size. Any long, errant pieces of stems on the florets get sliced a bit more.

A simple raft of the stems at the bottom of the saucepan supports the tender florets as they steam together.  Easy, peasy!

And of course, I don’t waste those stem peelings. They go right into my morning green smoothies, my Big, Fat, Green Smoothies on a Budget.

Simple Steamed Broccoli

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 bunch of broccoli
  • salt to taste
  • butter, if desired

Prepare broccoli by shaving out the outer edges of the stalk. Cut stalk on diagonal into pieces about 3/8ths of an inch thick, discarding the very bottom slice of stem if it is hardened and dry. Keep stems separate from the florets.

Separate florets, not by cutting through them, but by inserting the point of the knife into the inner structure of the floret where the stalks break into little stems. Slice those apart and the floret will naturally separate and lose very little of the floret pieces. Try to keep florets about the same size and if there is any long stem attached to the florets, slice them 3/8ths of an inch thick and add to the stem pile.

Place stems in the bottom of a saucepan, add about an inch of water. Put the florets on top. Salt if desired. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer four to eight minutes, to desired tenderness. Remove lid and drain. Shock in cold water, if you wish, to stop the cooking process and preserve bright color. Add back to warm saucepan, place a pat of butter on top. Cover to keep warm until serving. When ready to serve, lightly toss to distribute butter.

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Left Over Broccoli: If you feel your left over broccoli won’t get eaten, put it in a large freezer bag and toss it in the freezer. Add to it over time, perhaps adding other vegetables, until you have enough to make a quick Cream of Broccoli or Cream of Vegetable Soup. Broccoli and Cauliflower are good combinations, but Carrot goes well, too, with both vegetables.

Two of my favorite Cream of Broccoli Soups:

A quick note about frozen broccoli – when I was testing the cost effectiveness of fresh vs. frozen, I found that frozen broccoli was 10 ounces of broccoli and six ounces of water. Wow!

15 thoughts on “Simple, Steamed Broccoli”

    1. I do like it roasted sometimes, but steaming is my favorite, too. I can even just eat it cold from the fridge like people eat popcorn, right out of the bowl, when there’s any left over. 🙂

  1. Thank you for this! I was a hater of broccoli until about 6 months ago when I discovered roasting it. I’m testing out new ways to enjoy. Because I’ve never really worked with it before, I didn’t know these techniques for chopping and using the stems. Much appreciated!

    1. Thanks so much, Carrie, for saying so. I’m glad you’re a new convert! I worried this was too “simple” for a blog post, but I always figure, no one is born knowing this stuff! I’m so glad you found it of some use. Peeled like this, the stems are really my favorite part and steamed like this, the tops get perfectly done without getting “soggy.”

      Even when I serve broccoli “raw” for a crudite or a broccoli salad, I prepare it like this and steam it for just a minute or two, then plunge in cold water and immediately drain it. It takes off that hard, raw taste.

      I like Alton Brown’s roasted broccoli, too, and I fiddled with it just a bit:

      https://frugalhausfrau.com/2014/08/07/almost-altons-oven-roasted-broccoli-1-25/

  2. One of my favourite veggies … raw or barely cooked. I cook mine in the microwave, 1 1/2-2 minutes on high with a tbsp of water cause I usually am only cooking enough for 1 or 2.

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