At every large, communal meal, there’s always the token vegetable side dish that, because I am a vegetarian, ends up constituting my entire meal. The rest of the diners usually ignore this dish or politely nibble on a miniscule portion while devoting most of their attention to the meatier centerpiece of the event.

For the most part, I find myself so bored by the fifth bite of whatever salad or boring steamed vegetable is being served that I just give up on the meal entirely and fill up with dessert instead. As great as that sounds, it gets old pretty much as soon as my pants stop buttoning and I have to get my cavities filled.

Luckily for me, with a recipe such as Parmesan roasted broccoli, I have no complaints about being confined to a vegetable side dish. This dish is not only extremely flavorful and healthy, but it also secretly outshines whatever the meaty option is, leaving more for the hungry vegetarians.

Smothered with Parmesan, tossed with pine nuts, and drizzled with lemon, this broccoli feast is the ultimate underdog of a huge family dinner. The tang of the lemon and garlic mixed with the earthy pine nuts and gooey, salty cheese is enough flavor for me to be blind to any other dish on the table, and the slight crisp of the florets almost makes me believe I’m munching on heavily-fried comfort food. Plus, as I know from experience, it’s easy enough to make in a kitchen in the Butts.

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cut broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. You can include the stalks if you prefer.
3. Place broccoli on a large sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Chop garlic and sprinkle on broccoli, along with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until tips of broccoli are slightly browned and crisp.
6. Remove broccoli from oven and cover with Parmesan.
7. Roast for 3-5 minutes, until Parmesan is melted.
8. Remove broccoli from oven and toss with lemon juice, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes as desired.


1 head of broccoli

1 clove of garlic

Extra virgin olive oil


Black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Lemon juice

Pine nuts

Red pepper flakes (optional)


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