Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Balsamic & Parmesan


Flattening broccoli florets increases their surface area, which means more space to absorb the flavors of Parmesan cheese and a sweet balsamic vinegar drizzle.

Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Balsamic and Parmesan
Photo: Brie Passano
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

What Is Smashed Broccoli?

Smashed broccoli uses a similar cooking method as smashed potatoes, smashed beets, smashed carrots, smashed Brussels sprouts and smashed radishes. With this method, vegetables are first par-cooked, then smashed and roasted or broiled until crispy. For this recipe, broccoli florets are steamed until tender, smashed with the bottom of a mason jar or a sturdy glass and broiled until browned.

How to Steam Broccoli

Before broiling the smashed broccoli florets, you will need to steam them first. This can be done in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steamer baskets come in a variety of sizes and materials. You can choose from stainless steel, ceramic, bamboo or silicone. Just make sure the pot is slightly larger in diameter than the basket so that you can easily remove the basket after steaming. You can also steam broccoli in the microwave. Place 4 cups of broccoli florets in a large microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook on High, stirring once, until the broccoli is tender, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 4 cups of broccoli.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 8 cups bite-size broccoli florets (about 1 pound)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (see Tip)


  1. Position oven rack 6 inches from broiler. Preheat broiler to high.

  2. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Steam broccoli until just tender, about 3 minutes.

  3. Spread broccoli on a large rimmed baking sheet. Using the bottom of a mason jar or sturdy glass, flatten each floret. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute Parmesan over the florets. Broil until the broccoli is lightly browned and the cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic glaze before serving.


Large pot, steamer basket, large rimmed baking sheet, mason jar or sturdy glass


Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar that's cooked until it's very thick. Look for it with other types of vinegar in well-stocked supermarkets. Or make it yourself by boiling 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

79 Calories
6g Fat
5g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size about 2/3 cup
Calories 79
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g 6%
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Vitamin A 2301IU 46%
Sodium 178mg 8%
Potassium 253mg 5%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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