5 from 1 vote

Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Parmesan

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Crispy smashed broccoli is the perfect healthy, gluten-free side, showing a whole new side to broccoli.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.80
Makes: 3
Side
French
Freezable

Whether you’re a broccoli lover looking for a spin on a classic, or a vegetable hater looking to turn bland veggies into amazing sides, this is the smashed broccoli recipe for you.

A white plate with roasted broccoli florets with melted cheese and some lemon wedges.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Amped up flavor – Preparing the smashed broccoli with this method provides a unique end result that is so different to other broccoli recipes. The texture is crispy on the outside yet tender in the center. 

Irresistible – Adding cheese to vegetables is no secret when it comes to boosting flavor, but combining smashed broccoli with cheese brings this delicious combination to a whole new level. The grilled parmesan turns into frico, which is a crisp-like texture that happens when you cook parmesan for a longer period of time *chefs kiss*.

Super easy – Although this takes longer than a standard steamed broccoli or roasted broccoli recipe, once you’ve steamed the broccoli, there’s only around 5 minutes of prep before whacking the broccoli chips into the oven. 

Pair this yummy smashed broccoli with one of these protein-rich mains for a tasty meal: Easy Cajun Dirty Rice, Nando’s Mac and Cheese Recipe and Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Why smash broccoli?

Smashing the broccoli does many things to impart a delicious flavour and texture:

Removes excess moisture: when you smash the broccoli, the excess liquid seeps out of the broccoli. This reduces sogginess which would also dilute the flavour and prevent crispiness in the oven. 

Flat texture- there is something so satisfying about eating a flattened broccoli. The florets are squished into a dense sort of texture which is really intriguing with every bite.  

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the smashed broccoli recipe laid out on a plae blue background and labelled.

Broccoli – A regular sized broccoli works best for this recipe. 

Parmesan – I use parmesan for this crispy smashed broccoli but you could also use a hard cheese alternative for a more budget friendly option, or pecorino for a saltier finish.

Lemon – The perfect acidic hit to contrast with the cheesy parmesan crust.

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

Best broccoli to use

Size of florets – I find that a standard broccoli of around 300g yields the best floret size for this smashed broccoli parmesan recipe. We don’t want the florets to be too small or too large, otherwise the ratio of cheese to broccoli will be incorrect. 

Steamed or not steamed- I prefer to steam rather than boil it as it prevents the broccoli from becoming water-logged, which will reduce the perfect smashed roast broccoli. 

Can you use frozen broccoli? I wouldn’t use frozen broccoli for this recipe as you’ll never get a crispy end result. The moisture is too much to roast off in time without charring the broccoli and burning the cheese.  

Love broccoli? Try these easy and healthy recipes; Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta, Sauteed Broccoli and Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Variations/ Adaptations

Add spice – I already use cayenne pepper as a nice hit of spice, but you could finish with chilli flakes too to add an additional spicy flare. 

Use different cheese – as mentioned above, pecorino would be delish with this recipe. If you want more of a gooey end result with a cheese pull- you could opt for mozzarella or cheddar. 

Make it vegan with vegan parmesan – this recipe is inclusive of vegans! Use your favourite cheese alternatives to enjoy these broccoli parmesan chips. 

Serve this smashed broccoli with some tasty pasta recipes; Cottage Cheese Pasta, Ground Turkey Pasta and Marmite Pasta

How to make smashed broccoli with parmesan

Preheat your oven to 370°F (190°C). 

  1. Start by slicing the broccoli head into florets (Image 1).
  2. Then steam your broccoli florets for 5 – 6 minutes, or until fork tender (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with sliced broccoli florets on chopping a board and the second with the broccoli steaming in a pan with a lid.

3. Use a heavy weighted glass to smash the broccoli until around 1 cm in depth (Image 3).  

4. Place on a parchment lined baking tray, evenly spacing out the florets (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with with a glass jug on top of a broccoli floret on chopping a board and the second with the smashed broccoli florets on a parchment paper lined baking tray.

5. Mix together the oil, garlic granules, smoked paprika and Cayenne pepper, then add a pinch of salt and pepper (Image 5).

6. Use an oil brush to lightly coat the smashed broccoli, then top with a generous sprinkle of parmesan (Image 6). 

2 step by step photos, the first with some dark red sauce with a brush in a little blue bowl and the second with the brush covering the broccoli florets with the sauce.

7. Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the parmesan is golden and crispy (Image 7). 

8. Remove from the parchment paper and serve with a squeeze of lemon and your favourite dip of choice. I went for a lemony/garlic mayo situation (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first with some grated mozzarella covering the smashed florets and the second with the roasted broccoli florets now browned with cheesy topping.

    Satisfy you cheese cravings with these other recipes and use any leftover parmesan; Polenta with Parmesan, Creamy White Beans with Parmesan or Pasta with Peas

    A white plate with roasted broccoli florets with melted cheese covered the golden browned broccoli with a few lemon wedges.

    Need something sweet for after? Try these recipes; Tiramisu Overnight Oats, Homemade Granola or Banana Blueberry Muffins

    Tips for the best result

    • Spray a light layer of oil onto the parchment paper to prevent the broccoli from sticking.
    • Don’t over steam because the broccoli will have a harder time getting crispy in the oven.
    • Evenly space the broccoli onto the baking sheet which will maximise crispiness and prevent steaming.
    Baked golden browned broccoli florets  covered in some cheese on some brown parchment paper.

    If you need some inspiration for some other recipes to serve with the broccoli, try my ; Air Fryer Turkey Burgers, Soy Garlic Chicken Breast and Parmentier Potatoes

    FAQs

    What is the best dipping sauce for these?

    Ok I am in looove with the combo of crispy lemony smashed broccoli with aiolo – perhaps as it slightly resembles calamari with the creamy/tangy dip and the crispy side. It’s heavenly and gives such summery vibes. If you want more of a contrasting dip, sweet chilli is also great here. 

    Could I use cauliflower if I don’t have broccoli?

    You sure can! Cauliflower works great with this method. I like to switch out the dip when using cauliflower to buffalo sauce. 

    Could you make this in the air fryer?

    Yes! Follow the same method until placing in the oven. Then cook in batches to ensure they’re spaced out. Cook at 370°F  (190°C) for 10-12 minutes. 

    If you tried this Smashed Broccoli recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

     

    Crispy Smashed Broccoli

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    5 from 1 vote
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes
    £0.80
    Side
    French
    Freezable
    Servings: 3
    Crispy smashed broccoli is the perfect healthy, gluten-free side, showing a whole new side to broccoli.

    Ingredients

    • 1 broccoli, sliced into florets (£0.79)
    • 60 g parmesan, finely grated (£2.60/2)=(£1.30)
    • Lemon wedge to serve (£0.30)
    • Dip of choice

    Cupboard essentials

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp garlic granules
    • ½ tsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tsp Cayenne pepper
    • Salt & Pepper

    Method

    Preheat your oven to 370°F (190°C). Meanwhile, steam your broccoli florets for 5 - 6 minutes, or until fork tender.

    • Place on a parchment lined baking tray, evenly spacing out the florets. Use a heavy weighted glass to smash the broccoli until around 1 cm in depth.
    • Mix together the oil, garlic granules, smoked paprika, Cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Use an oil brush to lightly coat the smashed broccoli, then top with a generous sprinkle of parmesan.
    • Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the parmesan is golden and crispy.
    • Remove from the parchment paper and serve with a squeeze of lemon and your favourite dip of choice. I went for a lemony/garlic mayo situation.

    Notes

    • Spray a light layer of oil onto the parchment paper to prevent sticking.
    • Avoid over-steaming broccoli to ensure it gets crispy in the oven.
    • Evenly space broccoli on the baking sheet to maximise crispiness and prevent steaming.

    Nutrition

    Servings: 3 servings
    Fat: 10g
    Calories: 166kcal
    Carbohydrates: 9g
    Protein: 10g
    5 from 1 vote

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    Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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    Comments

    1. Carole Andrews | 4 weeks ago

      Saw these on TikTok and had to try! So yummy. Made a double batch and the family loved this! Thank you5 stars

      1. Mimi Harrison | 4 weeks ago

        Ahh so happy they got the family approval! Thanks for the lovely message Carole 🙂

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