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

EatingWell.com, April 2021


Credit: Brie Passano

Recipe Summary

25 mins
25 mins

What Is Smashed Broccoli?

Smashed broccoli uses a similar cooking method as smashed potatoessmashed beetssmashed 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 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. Learn more tips on how to steam broccoli on the stove or in the microwave.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Position oven rack 6 inches from broiler. Preheat broiler to high.

  • 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.

  • 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

about 2/3 cup
79 calories; fat 6g; cholesterol 3mg; sodium 178mg; carbohydrates 5g; dietary fiber 2g; protein 3g; sugars 2g; niacin equivalents 1mg; saturated fat 1g; vitamin a iu 2301IU; potassium 253mg.