Smashed Broccoli is so fun and easy to make. In this vegan, AIP/paleo recipe, broccoli is marinated in a ginger-cilantro sauce and oven-baked for a quick and easy snack, appetizer, or side dish.
Smashing broccoli before cooking it is a fun way to jazz up this hardy vegetable. It also increases the surface area, which allows the seasonings to seep into all those nooks and crannies.
In this recipe, I seasoned broccoli with the delicious Ginger-Cilantro marinade from my Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli with Mushrooms dish, then roasted them in the oven.
These Crispy Smashed Broccoli are ready in just 20 minutes for an easy and flavorful dish that’s vegan, AIP and paleo.
what you’ll need to make smashed broccoli
- broccoli – you can use fresh or frozen broccoli in this recipe.
for the ginger-cilantro marinade
- olive oil – I used extra virgin olive oil. You can substitute with avocado oil.
- coconut aminos – an allergy-friendly, gluten-free substitute for soy sauce.
- cilantro – use both the leaves and stems for the best flavor.
- chives – or substitute with green onions.
- fresh garlic – no need to mince the cloves as all the marinade ingredients are going in the food processor. If you’re using pre-minced garlic, you’ll need about 1.5 tsps.
- fresh ginger – peeled and cut into a 1 inch piece.
- sea salt
how to make smashed broccoli in the oven
Follow the steps in the recipe card below to oven-bake your smashed broccoli.
- First, preheat the oven to 425F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Next, steam broccoli florets over boiling water until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- While the broccoli steams, make the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor.
- Spread steamed broccoli on sheet pan. Flatten or “smash” each broccoli floret with the bottom of a mason jar or glass.
- Then, drizzle with marinade and massage into broccoli to mix well. Ensure pieces are spread in a flat layer.
- Last, bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy.
can i make smashed broccoli on the stovetop?
Yes, you can easily pan fry or sauté smashed broccoli in a skillet:
- First, steam the broccoli and make the marinade.
- Then, smash the broccoli on a cutting board or other clean, flat surface. Transfer to a bowl and mix well with the marinade.
- Next, heat a skillet with some olive oil on medium heat.
- Add broccoli in an even layer to skillet. Work in batches if needed.
- Allow to cook until the bottom side is crispy and golden-brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side, about 3 minutes.
air fryer smashed broccoli bites
You can also make smashed broccoli in an air fryer. Follow your specific air fryer’s directions for best results, but in general:
- First, steam the broccoli and make the marinade.
- Smash broccoli and season well with marinade.
- Then, add some olive oil to your air fryer and lay broccoli in an even layer. Work in batches if needed, to not overcrowd the air fryer.
- Air fry at 400F for about 10 minutes, shaking the air fryer basket or flipping the broccoli once at the half way mark.
tips for making smashed broccoli
- Steam the broccoli long enough so that it is easy to smash or flatten. If it’s not soft enough, it will be harder to flatten and require more effort to smash. However, if it’s steamed for too long, it will be quite mushy and easily break apart.
- If you choose to boil the broccoli, ensure you dry it well before flattening as it will release a lot of water.
- Use the bottom of a glass or mason jar to flatten the broccoli. Anything with a clean, flat and hard surface should work.
- To ‘smash’ the broccoli, press down gently to flatten. Be careful not to press too hard or else the florets will break.
- Refer to the process shot for a visual of a mason jar smashing broccoli.
- Don’t overcrowd the sheet pan/skillet/air fryer. Ensure broccoli is spread evenly so it crisps nicely rather than steams.
- To get extra crispy broccoli chips, bake it in the oven for longer than 20 minutes at 425F. Or, turn on the broil for the last few minutes of the roasting time.
how to serve smashed broccoli
- As a tasty AIP/paleo snack – these smashed broccoli bites are the perfect AIP-approved snack.
- As an appetizer – serve with a dipping sauce like the Cilantro-Lime Sauce from my Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites or the Avocado Crema in my AIP Stuffed Sweet Potato Cakes recipe.
- As a quick and easy side – add to bowl meals like this Ginger Pork and Cucumber Bowls or this Gluten Free Orange Chicken with sweet potato noodles for a complete meal. This easy and versatile vegetable side will go with just about anything.
Can I make the marinade without a blender?
You don’t need a blender or food processor to make this marinade. Instead, finely dice the garlic, ginger, cilantro, and chives, and mix well with the oil, coconut aminos and salt.
Can I make smashed broccoli without this sauce?
Absolutely, you can use whatever marinades or seasonings you like.
Keep it simple with just olive oil and salt, or add your preferred fresh or dried herbs and spices. Marinate it with other sauces like this Homemade Gluten-Free Sweet and Sour Sauce or the Sweet Lime Sauce from my Ginger Cilantro Pork Meatballs.
What other smashed vegetables can I make?
You can steam and smash practically any vegetable. Try it with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, squashes, beets, celery…the list is endless!
For some inspiration, try making smashed Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glaze. You can also adapt this recipe for AIP Parsnip and Carrot Mash. Steam, smash, then roast the root vegetables to make smashed carrots and smashed parsnips.
how do i store smashed broccoli?
This dish is best eaten fresh for optimal crispiness. It loses is crisp and gets quite soggy in the fridge. If you need to reheat it, I recommend doing so in the oven or air fryer to regain crispiness.
can i freeze smashed broccoli?
You can freeze this dish. Reheat in the oven or air fryer to regain crispiness.
If you try this Smashed Broccoli, I would love it if you would give it a star rating and short review. Also, be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious and using the hashtag #healmedelicious.