The healthiest (and only) way to cook Broccoli

The healthiest way to cook broccoli | Kid friendly vegetables | Five a day | Half your plate | Maple and Marigold

I hear it all the time. My mom said it, every health guru says it, there’s even a million hashtags devoted to it.

“Eat your veggies.”

I say it to my kids every day. Sometimes, that’s three times a day.

“Your body needs 5-8 portions of fruits and vegetables a day.”

But there is another side of this conversation. Did you know that over-cooking or wrongly cooking a vegetable leaches away all its nutritional value? Research has proven that many vegetables are sensitive to the cooking process and broccoli is top of that list. So when I make all the effort to cook for my kids, not only do I want them to eat the food I prepare, but I also want it to be healthy for them.

What’s the point of cooking when the effort is not helping your kids? I’d rather binge-watch Netflix!

Cooking broccoli so your kids will eat it

Broccoli has over the years developed a nasty reputation with the teeny-tiny crowd. And I agree mushy and soggy, the florets can taste pretty gross. So I was delighted to learn that the most delicious way to cook broccoli (that my kids will ALWAYS eat) is also the healthiest.

Healthiest Way to Cook Broccoli

Lightly sauteed with garlic and a splash of water. It’s that simple. Cooking broccoli in this way retains most of its colour, nutritional value along with that crunch that results in a delicious side dish that even my youngest and pickiest eater enjoys. Boiling or over-cooking the broccoli florets turns the texture into mush and also draw away much of its cancer-fighting goodness.

So yes there is a right, dare I say it, ONLY WAY to cook broccoli.

The healthiest way to cook broccoli | Kid friendly vegetables | Five a day | Half your plate | Maple and Marigold
The healthiest way to cook broccoli | Kid friendly vegetables | Five a day | Half your plate | Maple and Marigold

Healthiest Way to Cook broccoli

Print Recipe
Over-cooking broccoli can result in a tasteless mush. A quick saute with garlic and a splash of water, that is enough to not only cook this under-appreciated vegetable but also retain all it's flavour and nutrition.
Cook Time 15 minutes


  • 1 tsp Olive or Canola Oil Or any other mild tasting oil
  • 1 head of Broccoli trimmed and washed, cut into small florets
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • A splash of Water


  • Heat the oil in the pan.
    2. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes.
    3. Add broccoli florets and cook and toss lightly for a few minutes. Add salt.
    4. A splash of water and cover pan for a couple of minutes. Remove cover and toss.
    5. When I have company, or I'm in a mood for more flavour, I add 1/2 tsp of chilli peppers to the oil or cumin seeds or both. They add delicious flavour to the broccoli.

Many vegetables like broccoli are flavourful and healthiest when cooked lightly. All of this is not to say that you should avoid boiled broccoli or that pureed broccoli soup. Over-cooked vegetables still contain fibre and count towards your 5-8 fruits and vegetables a day.

Here are a couple of other healthy recipes that my family enjoys and use broccoli:

Steamed broccoli topped with Indian tadka

Cooking broccoli – stems and all

Questions + Comments

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

5 stars
I’m lucky that my kids like their veggies. I usually steam my broccoli. I will definitely try your way!

6 years ago

I will have it try cooking it this way. I usually roast it, but worry about loosing all the nutrients given it roasts at such a high heat!

6 years ago

5 stars
I grated some parmesan on top and even my picky 5 year old ate it all. Thanks! Do you think would work with other veggies as well, cauliflower or asparagus come to mind?

rohit aggarwal
4 years ago

5 stars
thank you mapleandmarigold for giving me wonderful information

Fitness instructor
3 years ago

Here s how to cook broccoli in the oven. Toss cut broccoli with olive oil and a pinch of salt, and spread the broccoli out in a single layer on a baking dish pre-heated in a 400-degree oven. The broccoli should sizzle when it hits the pan. Roast the broccoli until tender and a little browned at the edges. Here s how to bake broccoli, take 2: it s called, Flash-Blasted Broccoli. This high-heat method is a terrific technique for coaxing delicious caramelized flavors from your roasted broccoli. It s arguably the best way to cook fresh broccoli in the oven.

Kenton Trento
3 years ago

Your style is so unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this blog.

Weston Fishback
3 years ago

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

2 years ago

2 stars
When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

1 year ago

Thank you for this great method. I cannot wait to try!

Molamo Mmako
6 months ago

Benefits of broccoli?

2 months ago

That was like magic! I thought to myself there’s no way that little drizzle of water is going to steam my broccoli nice and crispy perfect. and it did!
Thank you for allowing me to stumble by your website and find this this is genius.

About Puneeta

Author, Educator, Speaker

Puneeta is a writer, food advocate and guide for those who seek earth-friendly, delicious solutions that work for real life.

Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Food Writer, Climate Advocate, New cookbook - Good Food, Healthy Planet - out April 2024
Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma
Photo by Diana Muresan
Staying Grounded logo

Inspiration for living an abundant, delicious and doable life that brings people and planet closer together.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Use what you have, reuse what you can, reduce what you throw away, and repurpose the rest.

Good Food, Healthy Planet book

New cookbook to help people choose low-waste, good-for-us food.

Good Food, Healthy Planet

Your Kitchen Companion to Simple, Practical, Sustainable Cooking  

Staying Grounded logo

Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up to receive our weekly-ish newsletter about food, people and stories, and the science behind it all. You'll also receive excerpts from Puneeta's debut cookbook, Good Food, Healthy Planet.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.