5 from 7 votes

Lemon Parmesan Smashed Broccoli

 August 7, 2023

If you’re looking for a recipe that proves that vegetables don’t have to be boring, then look no further than this one. My Lemon Parmesan Smashed Broccoli is my new favorite way to prepare broccoli – and I know that it will be yours, too. Made with only 5 simple ingredients, this recipe is vegetarian-friendly and perfect for serving alongside your favorite chicken or fish dishes, or simply snacking on alone!

A bowl of the lemon parmesan smashed broccoli, sitting on a countertop next to a bowl of lemon wedges and a small bowl of parmesan cheese

If you have littles that hate eating their vegetables, then this recipe is going to be a game changer for you. While my boys do eat some vegetables, they’re at the ages where they’re becoming pickier and pickier by the day, which means that they change their minds about foods, often. One food that they’ve recently changed their minds about? Broccoli.

Broccoli is one of those vegetables that people either love or hate. Personally, I love it, but I can see why people don’t! If not prepared the right way, broccoli can be bland and lack flavor and texture. Or worse, even become a little rubbery. In an effort to get my boys excited about broccoli again, I was thinking of ways to make it more exciting for them. The solution? Add cheese!

Well, not just cheese, but also lemon juice, olive oil, and tons of seasoning to give this broccoli flavor. The combination of all these flavors is so simple, yet it will make you crave broccoli on the daily. I can easily eat a whole tray of this recipe on its own! And the best part is, my boys LOVED it, too.

I love to keep this smashed broccoli in the fridge for a healthy midday snack, but it’s also delicious when served aside a perfectly juicy chicken breast or a baked salmon fillet. However you decide to enjoy it, you truly can’t go wrong!

The 5 Ingredients You’ll Need to Make This Recipe

All you need are four ingredients (plus some seasonings) in order to make this recipe. It’s so simple and easy, and you may already have the ingredients sitting in your kitchen!

  • Broccoli: Of course, you will need broccoli in order to make this smashed broccoli! I recommend using fresh broccoli for this recipe, but you can also use frozen, if you prefer. Just make sure that the broccoli is completely thawed before following the recipe steps below.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is a true kitchen staple for me. It’s filled with healthy fats and adds a delicious flavor to any recipe! My favorite olive oil is by Graza.
  • Lemon: You’ll need the juice of one lemon in order to give the broccoli it’s perfect lemony flavor.
  • Parmesan Cheese: I always recommend using freshly grated parmesan cheese, if possible, because it yields the best flavor.
  • Seasonings: We’ll be seasoning this broccoli with a combination of garlic powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Yum!
A baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, with the smashed broccoli lined across it. Parmesan cheese is actively being sprinkled across the smashed broccoli florets
Then, cut the broccoli into florets, smash them, and top them with the parmesan cheese and dressing.

How to Make This Perfect Vegetarian-Friendly Recipe

To make this smashed broccoli, start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add in the broccoli crown and allow it to boil for approximately 4-5 minutes. Do not allow the broccoli to cook for longer than that, as it will be mushy otherwise. After the broccoli has been cooked, remove it from the water and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Then, set it aside.

Next, preheat the oven to 400 F. While the oven is preheating, prepare the dressing for the broccoli by whisking the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed, then set it aside. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the broccoli crown on top. Cut or break the broccoli crown apart, into florets, and line the florets up evenly across the baking sheet.

Then, use the bottom of a drinking glass to smash the broccoli down, until it’s as flat as possible. Repeat with each floret. Once the florets are smashed, brush the dressing across evenly across them. Then, add a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top of each floret.

Finally, bake the broccoli, in the oven, for 20-22 minutes until the edges of the broccoli are crispy and the cheese has fully melted. Once they’re done, serve them and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A bowl of the lemon parmesan smashed broccoli, sitting on a countertop next to a bowl of lemon wedges and a small bowl of parmesan cheese
gluten-free/Grain Free/Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free/snacks

Lemon Parmesan Smashed Broccoli

5 from 7 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
SERVES 4 Servings
Print It Pin It
If you're looking for a recipe that proves that vegetables don't have to be boring, then look no further than this one. My Lemon Parmesan Smashed Broccoli is my new favorite way to prepare broccoli – and I know that it will be yours, too. Made with only 5 simple ingredients, this recipe is vegetarian-friendly and perfect for serving alongside your favorite chicken or fish dishes, or simply snacking on alone!

Ingredients

For the Broccoli:

  • 1 Large Crown Broccoli washed
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan freshly grated

For the Lemon Viniagrette:

  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  • To make this smashed broccoli, start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, on the stove.
  • Once the water is boiling, add in the broccoli crown and allow it to boil for approximately 4-5 minutes. Do not allow the broccoli to cook for longer than that, as it will be mushy otherwise.
  • After the broccoli has been cooked, remove it from the water and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Then, set it aside.
  • Next, preheat the oven to 400 F.
  • While the oven is preheating, prepare the dressing for the broccoli by whisking the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed, then set it aside.
  • Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the broccoli crown on top.
  • Cut or break the broccoli crown apart, into florets, and line the florets up evenly across the baking sheet.
  • Then, use the bottom of a drinking glass to smash the broccoli down, until it's as flat as possible. Repeat with each floret.
  • Once the florets are smashed, brush the dressing across evenly across them.
  • Then, add a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top of each floret.
  • Finally, bake the broccoli, in the oven, for 20-22 minutes until the edges of the broccoli are crispy and the cheese has fully melted. Once they're done, serve them and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to one week.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. Made this recipe tonight as a side and the whole family LOVED it. My daughter also had fun smashing the broccoli and” painting it” with dressing. Will definitely be making again and trying other “kale junkie” recipes as well. Also- Often I find when a recipe calls for lemon it’s too much but this was actually the right amount.

    • I am so thrilled that you loved this recipe, Kristen!! Thank you so much for giving it a try, and I hope you enjoy my other recipes!

    • Hi Jen, I’m sorry to hear that you were less than satisfied with this recipe. Every oven is different, and while this recipe has been tested many times on my oven, your oven may require a different temperature / duration. As for the lemon flavor, you can absolutely adjust that to your liking. I hope this helps!

  2. While busy getting my farm venue up and running, I don’t have a lot of time to cook. In addition, I live in Atlanta, but stay with my parents on the farm during the week, so I’m using their kitchen.

    I wanted something easy, tasty and healthy. This is it! You won’t be disappointed if you try this recipe. Me, my parents and my niece ate every little morsel left on the baking sheet.

    Thanks, Nicole!

    • I am so happy that you loved this recipe, Shannon! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  3. Made these last night and the whole family loved them! My two year old particularly enjoyed helping to smash the broccoli — and it ended up being the most broccoli she’s eaten in one sitting in a very long time 🙂 Will definitely be making again!

    • I am so thrilled that you and your family loved this recipe, Lyndsay! Thank you so much for making it, and for leaving such a kind review!

  4. 5 stars
    I made these for the family and let me say – huge hit. Next time I won’t boil as long and I’ll do a super crispy batch and take to a party with some dip. I love this recipe – well done!!!

    • I am so thrilled to hear that, Dawn! Thank you so much for making this recipe and for leaving such a kind review!

  5. Hi! thanks for the recipe. Stupid question but how crispy should these be out of the oven. The edges are crispy but some parts are still a little soft. I tried leaving them in for 10 mins longer but still a little soft. thanks for the help.

    • Hi Joe! They should be crispy around the edges. If you’d like them crispier, you can try turning on the broiler for just a minute or two. I hope this helps!

    • Hi Shey! It’s denoted in the post and the recipe card has just been updated to reflect this ☻ It’s the olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings. I hope this helps!

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