Garlic Broccoli with Walnuts

Whenever broccoli goes on sale, I buy pounds and pounds of it, and we eat it in every way I can possibly think of. That way, I don’t miss it the rest of the time, when it’s pricey. I think broccoli is particularly fabulous when cooked on high heat for a brief time period. I usually find myself sticking to Asian themes when it comes to this vegetable, but I also think it’s particularly good paired with pesto. This dish is like a deconstructed pesto—using all the same ingredients (except the cheese) but in their whole forms. It’s quick and makes a fabulous side dish, plus it will leave your kitchen with a delicious after-smell, as the roasted walnuts, freshly zested lemon, and sauteed garlic mingle in the air.

Making this also made me realize that I can no longer put off seasoning my cast iron pan again. Does anyone else have this problem? It seems that my pans are forever losing their nice, black sheen.

I served this with roasted chicken for Ryan and baked tofu for me. I think it also makes a nice accompaniment for almost any pasta dish, or, for a simple meal, serve it with a crusty bread and homemade applesauce (watch for a recipe coming soon). Another idea would be to pair it with fried eggs or a lentil and rice dish. The nice thing is that it can easily float across international boundaries; I think it would go just as well with an Italian, Middle Eastern, or Asian meal. It can be hard, I think, to find dishes with that versatility.

I’ve listed the serving size as four, as I think most people probably aren’t as in love with broccoli as I am. However, I can easily eat at least half of this recipe by myself.

A few fun facts about broccoli: Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable (like cabbage) and loaded with good-for-you vitamins and minerals. It has almost as much Vitamin C as oranges do, and is high in vitamins A and calcium, among others. That’s why it’s usually included on those “Super Foods” lists (which I think are a bit silly—I suspect that pretty much any fresh fruit or vegetable is “super,” some of them just haven’t been studied as extensively in clinical trials).

Special Diets and Allergies: Wheat free; dairy free; vegetarian; vegan.

Garlic Broccoli with Walnuts

Serves 4 as a side dish

The flavors in this dish are bright and bold. The tart lemon accents the garlic and walnut, and underneath is the crisp, fresh taste of the broccoli. Make sure you don’t overcook this, as it’s best when the broccoli still has a nice crunch to it. The secret is high heat, so that the broth will evaporate before the broccoli gets soggy.


4 t olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
6-7 C broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/2 t salt
1/4 C vegetable broth
1 1/2 t lemon zest


  1. Mix the vegetable broth and lemon zest and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 t of the oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and walnuts and sautee until the garlic begins to let off its aroma, but not so long that it browns and burns, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the garlic and walnuts from the pan with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add the remaining 2 t olive oil to the pan. Toss in the broccoli and sautee for about 2 minutes, or until it becomes tender and crisp. Sprinkle with the salt.
  5. Pour in the vegetable broth and lemon zest and cook, stirring for another 2 minutes or so, until the vegetable broth has all been absorbed or evaporated. Increase the heat if the broth is not cooking off quickly enough.
  6. Remove the broccoli from the pan and sprinkle with the walnuts and garlic.

What’s your favorite broccoli dish?

3 responses to “Garlic Broccoli with Walnuts

  1. I especially appreciated this one, Rosalie, since the gas is currently off in our Bronx apartment building–contractor in an apartment on a floor above ours punctured a gas riser!–so stovetop dishes are needed at the moment. Our cast-iron skillets obviously don’t get used as often as yours, since we haven’t had to work too hard to keep them gleaming. But I do love using them. The coated pans are gone forever! Will report once I try this. And, yes, isn’t broccoli one of the best vegetables ever?

  2. The title of this post alone set me salivating. There’s nothing like broccoli paired with a few simple things and quickly and ever so slightly cooked so it still retains all its glorious crunch! YUM!

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