While smashing vegetables is nothing new, the technique is usually limited to potatoes and brussels sprouts; however, as TikTokers have recently been discovering, it works just as well on broccoli.
Much like you do with smashed potatoes and smashed brussels sprouts, you start by precooking the broccoli. Once tender, you use the bottom of a glass to flatten it. After brushing the broccoli with olive oil and sprinkling on some grated parmesan, you put it in the oven until the cheese melts. The broccoli that results is extra crispy — a surprising feat, given that the veggie tends to be on the mushy side.
There are a few key factors that make smashed broccoli so crispy and delicious. First is the fact that smashing the broccoli increases its surface area. Every inch of the broccoli is able to come in contact with the hot baking sheet, allowing for maximum caramelization. Smashing also squeezes out some of the moisture from the broccoli, so instead of steaming in the oven, it crisps up nicely with the help of the olive oil.
How to Get the Crispiest Smashed Broccoli
If you simply smash it and brush it with some olive oil, your broccoli will still develop a nice crust, but to really make it crispy, there are a few things you can do.
The first is to precook the broccoli in the oven instead of boiling or steaming it. As TikTok creator @alexakliman demonstrates, this effectively cooks the broccoli without introducing extra moisture. After smashing the broccoli, it also helps if you pat the surface dry. Finally, try to stick to dry-aged cheeses such as parmesan or romano. You might be tempted to use cheddar for that classic cheddar and broccoli combo, but doing so wouldn't yield as crispy of a texture.
No matter the level of crispiness you prefer, smashed broccoli can make for a tasty side dish or snack, especially if you're looking for a new way to prepare the vegetable. Pair it with your favorite dip, or serve it alongside dinner; just make sure to make a big batch, because it'll go fast.
For all the steps on how to make this smashed broccoli from TikTok, check out the full recipe below.
Ingredients1 broccoli crown
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon any seasoning
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan