Roasted smashed broccoli florets with tasty and colorful toppings, this is the perfect festive broccoli recipe! An easy and flexible recipe which might just be the most popular vegetable side dish at your Christmas dinner.
Introducing the best broccoli recipe for Christmas dinner
I see Christmas as the time to go all in with flavors and textures and ingredients, so this broccoli is a little bit “extra”. The florets are roasted, smashed, and then roasted some more for maximum crispiness. Then sprinkled with cheese, orange zest, chili and pistachios for topping. It’s a lot of fun, with every bite being a little different, and it takes you by surprise!
You can of course make this year round! I just find it quite festive, with the bright colors and the crunchy pistachios, so it just feels like an ideal Christmas recipe to me.
Top Tips for your perfect Christmas broccoli
- The recipe as written is for one head of broccoli, so scale this up as needed. The head I photographed was pretty small (375g / 13oz) and I got 11 large florets, so this would be a good amount to feed 3-4 people if there’s a lot else on the table.
- You can swap the orange for lemon if you prefer – I’ve made it several times with lemon and it’s great, though orange has the edge for me.
- If chili isn’t feeling quite right for your Christmas dinner, you could get some red on the plate with tiny pieces of sundried tomato or even sweet peppers instead.
- With all holiday recipes, it’s important to be mindful of how a very full oven will affect cook times. This recipe as written assumes your broccoli is the only thing in the oven, so assume it will take a little longer if the oven has a lot else in it. (Because a full oven has a harder time maintaining its temperature, or the broccoli may end up on a lower shelf, all of which leads to it cooking at a lower temperature.)
- If you need this recipe to be suitable for vegetarians, be careful which cheese you select. In the EU, parmesan is never vegetarian due to its use of animal rennet and some other Italian cheeses won’t be either. In the US, there are locally made parmesans which use vegetarian rennet. In the UK, it’s pretty easy to find “vegetarian hard cheeses” made in the style of parmesan. (I use this pecorino from Tesco.)
- olive oil, for cooking
- 1 head broccoli, florets
- ½ red chili, very finely diced
- 1-2 tbsp parmesan, pecorino or other Italian hard cheese, finely grated, see notes
- ½ orange or lemon, zest and juice
- 1-2 tbsp toasted pistachios, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.
- In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with enough olive oil to lightly coat each floret. Add salt and pepper to taste.1 head broccoli, olive oil
- Scatter on a baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven – the broccoli should pretty well browned. Use a spatula or potato masher to gently press down on and flatten each floret. Then flip them over and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes so the other side can roast and crisp up too.
- Remove from the oven and immediately squeeze a little orange juice over each floret.1/2 orange or lemon
- Add to a serving dish and sprinkle all of the toppings over the broccoli. Serve immediately.1/2 red chili, 1-2 tbsp parmesan, pecorino or other Italian hard cheese, 1-2 tbsp toasted pistachios