Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan
This Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan proves that broccoli CAN and SHOULD be the star of your dinner. The cheesy and zesty additions to this side dish means there won’t be a single bite of leftovers.
Like balsamic green beans, broccoli is a vegetable my family eats every single week, without fail. So it’s strange that out of nearly 700 published posts, only 4 of them, including salmon Alfredo, feature broccoli at all, and broccoli isn’t the *star* of any of them.
Broccoli CAN and SHOULD be a star on your dinner plate. It doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be bland. It doesn’t have to be diet food.
Just like roasted glazed carrots, this Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan is so good that there won’t be a single bite of leftovers when you serve it, I promise you. Adults and kids alike (with some simple modifications) will gobble it down.
The combination of roasted brown goodness on the broccoli, combined with Parmesan cheese, lots of lemon zest and juice and red pepper flakes will earn this a permanent spot in your side dish rotation.
Why roasted broccoli tastes better than steamed broccoli:
Roasted broccoli tastes better than steamed broccoli because roasting the vegetable browns it and adds a caramelized, nutty flavor, while steaming it doesn’t add any flavor at all.
Additionally, roasting allows the broccoli to become slightly crispy on the outside while still tender on the inside, which is the perfect combination of textures. Steamed broccoli is, more often than not, kind of mushy all the way through.
So, just like my roasted acorn squash slices, this lemon Parmesan roasted broccoli recipe cooks the broccoli by roasting it from start to finish. No steaming needed here at all.
What you’ll need for roasted broccoli with lemon:
- broccoli – this nutritious and versatile vegetable is the star of this dish. Depending on how much broccoli your family eats, you’ll need 1 or 2 heads of broccoli. My family LOVES broccoli, so we can eat 2 medium heads of it in one dinner!
- olive oil – use a high quality olive oil to add a depth of flavor and help the lemon Parmesan broccoli crisp up.
- kosher salt – this is essential to bring out the broccoli’s best flavor!
- Parmesan cheese – you can use grated or shredded. Either variety adds a nutty, salty flavor to the dish, as well as Greek yogurt pasta sauce and crab stuffed salmon.
- lemon juice AND zest – be sure you zest your lemon before you juice it, because just like with my lemon smoothie, we’re using the whole thing for lemon roasted broccoli! Using both adds a well-rounded brightness and acidity to the dish.
- red pepper flakes – these are optional, but add a touch of heat to the roasted broccoli.
How to cut broccoli for oven baked lemon Parmesan broccoli:
The first step is to trim the lower, thick stems from the broccoli. But don’t throw them away, just set them aside.
Cut the crown of the broccoli into florets that are all similar in size. I suggest about 1-1/2 inch pieces, which are good bite-size pieces.
Then, go back to your stems. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the outer rough parts of the stems, and then slice the stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick disks. They’ll cook up tender in the oven and be so delicious, trust me.
For the best lemon roasted broccoli, do NOT crowd the pan.
If you’ve ever Googled “why is my roasted broccoli soggy?,” I’m here to help you. The #1 reason your broccoli is soggy is that you overcrowded the pan it roasted on.
The broccoli pieces were too close together as they cooked, so the broccoli ended up steaming instead of roasting and caramelizing.
So, just like with balsamic roasted carrots, use your best judgement and divide your broccoli florets and stem slices between 1 to 2 rimmed baking pans.
The broccoli should be in an even layer and not overcrowded. You want a little room around each piece so it can roast. When in doubt, use 2 pans for lemon Parmesan roasted broccoli.
How long to roast broccoli in the oven?
At 400 degrees F, broccoli should take 20 to 25 minutes to get slightly browned on the outside and tender in the middle.
Try to flip the broccoli once halfway through cooking so it cooks evenly!
Tone the spice in this roasted broccoli down for the kiddos:
As I mentioned above, the red pepper flakes are entirely optional (and in pasta with capers as well). The adults may love the heat they add to the lemon Parmesan broccoli, but if your kids aren’t into them, the great news is they just go on at the end anyway.
Omit them from Step 3, toss everything together and serve, and just offer red pepper flakes at the table for anybody who wants to add them to their portion.
Entrees that pair perfectly:
Roasted broccoli with lemon and Parmesan is a side dish that pairs with a wide variety of entrees. I most often serve it with noodle dishes like rigatoni bolognese and crock pot beef stroganoff.
It also works great with a simple protein like orange glazed chicken, fried pork chops, or sockeye salmon. One of my favorite things to pair it with is pistachio crusted chicken.
If, on the OFF CHANCE you have any leftovers (you likely won’t), lemon roasted broccoli can be chopped up and added to a vegetarian quiche.
More winning side dishes:
Bland, boring side dishes aren’t allowed in our house! If you feel the same way, I hope you’ll be inspired by some of the recipes below.
Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan
This Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan proves that broccoli CAN and SHOULD be the star of your dinner. The cheesy and zesty additions to this side dish means there won't be a single bite of leftovers.
- 2 medium heads of broccoli (about 2 pounds total)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon - be sure to zest the lemon before juicing)
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim lower stems from broccoli. Use a vegetable peeler to peel stems, then slice stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Cut broccoli florets into 1-1/2 inch pieces.
- Divide broccoli between 1 to 2 rimmed baking pans. Broccoli should be in an even layer and not overcrowded. When it doubt, use 2 pans.
- Drizzle broccoli with oil and sprinkle with salt; toss to combine. Transfer to oven and roast 20 to 25 minutes or until broccoli is brown and tender, stirring once halfway through cooking.
- Transfer broccoli to large serving bowl. Add cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest and red pepper flakes, if using, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 520mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. Nutrition information does not include any optional ingredients or toppings. You should calculate the nutrition information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
This was excellent! I used a bit less lemon and added grated garlic in the oil. Together with a nice piece of chicken we had a delicious meal. Thanks for the recipe from the Netherlands
I’m so glad that you liked it, René!
So glad to hear you liked it! This is the only way I eat it, because yeah…broccoli still isn’t my favorite veggie either 😉
OMG! i absolutely HATE broccoli, UNTIL NOW!!!!!…………THIS IS A FANTASTIC WAY TO EAT BROCCOLI…I COULDN’T GET ENOUGH!
This looks fabulous! Lots of broccoli lovers in our house, so I’m excited to try roasting it. My kids like it with melted shredded cheese, so I think they will enjoy this! Lovely!
I love plain steamed broccoli but I’m also psyched to try your jazzed-up version. Yum!
I love broccoli, when its tasty that is. None of the steamed stuff for me. This recipe sounds great, simple, straightforward and very delicious. Will make this this week.