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Cooking Broccolini

By Cook's Illustrated Published July 2016

What's the best way to cook broccolini?

Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli that typically costs a bit more than broccoli. Tasters described plain steamed broccolini as having a tender-crisp texture and a sweet, slightly mineral flavor, like a cross between spinach and asparagus. When we substituted broccolini for broccoli in a stir-fry, some tasters felt that its mild flavor was masked by the soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce, but despite this, they preferred it to the same recipe made with broccoli. Tasters also preferred broccolini when we swapped it into a creamy broccoli salad recipe. In both cases, tasters pointed to the comparatively delicate texture and slim, easier-to-eat pieces of stalk along with buds that held together better than the fragile buds of broccoli florets.

To prep broccolini, simply discard the bottom 1/4 inch of stalks and cut any stems thicker than 1/2 inch in half lengthwise. Broccolini, and its slender stalks in particular, will cook more quickly than broccoli; you’ll typically need to reduce the cooking time by 1 to 2 minutes.

BROCCOLINI: This hybrid has slim stems, delicate flavor, and buds that hold up when cooked.