Sautéed broccolini is an easy vegetable side dish to make for everyday meals like our gochujang chicken thighs and miso salmon or for gatherings and holidays! It requires minimal ingredients, takes 15 minutes or less, and tastes buttery and tangy. So add this sautéed broccolini to your weekday veggie rotation and also try our garlic bok choy and Chinese broccoli stir fry to switch it up!
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What is broccolini?
Broccolini is not baby broccoli. It's actually a leafy green that was cross-bred between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan, which is also great for stir frying. If you're new to Chinese broccoli, this gai lan stir fry is a good, easy recipe to start with.
Unlike regular broccoli, broccolini is long with a skinny stalk like gai lan and has tiny little florets like standard broccoli. In terms of flavor, broccolini also falls in between broccoli and gai lan, mild with a light sweetness.
Sautéed broccolini ingredient notes
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
- Broccolini - You can find broccolini sold in bundles at the produce aisles at most grocery stores, like Whole Foods and HEB (if you live in Texas).
- Butter - This will give the sautéed broccoli extra flavor and some richness. But make sure to use unsalted butter, or you'll have to adjust the amount of salt needed for seasoning. If you prefer or if you're vegan, you can substitute the butter for olive oil.
- Garlic - Feel free to use more or less garlic to your preference.
- Crushed red pepper - To give the broccolini a little heat.
- Water - For steaming the broccolini. Although the broccolini stems are much thinner than broccoli, just sautéing them won't yield an even cook. Steaming will also prevent the butter from burning.
- Lemon juice - To add a touch of brightness and acidity to the broccolini, which also balances out the richness of the butter. We like to use fresh lemon juice but bottle lemon juice is okay too.
- Salt - For seasoning the broccolini. If you are using salted butter, make sure to hold back on the salt.
How to make sautéed broccolini
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions!
1. Wash and trim the broccolini. Wash the broccolini by swishing them vigorously in a large bowl of water. Shake to remove as much excess water as possible. On a cutting board, trim off about ½ inch of the bottom of each broccolini stalk. We like to cut the stems at an angle for aesthetic purposes, but feel free to keep it a straight cut.
2. Sauté garlic and pepper. Add the butter to a sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Then add the crushed red pepper and sauté briefly, about 10 to 15 seconds.
3. Sauté broccolini. To the pan, add the prepared broccolini and sauté until evenly coated with butter and the broccolini turns a bright green.
4. Steam. Pour the water around the pan and cover with a lid. Let the broccolini steam for about 3-5 minutes or until the stems are tender with a light crisp. Feel free to cook it to your preferred tenderness.
Note: Depending on the thickness of each stem, the broccolini could take more than 5 minutes to steam. In this case, you may need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water to continue the steaming process.
5. Season. Once the broccolini are tender, uncover and add the lemon juice and season with salt. Sauté and toss until everything is evenly seasoned. Enjoy while hot!
Leftover sautéed broccolini can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Just make sure to allow the broccolini to cool completely before covering and storing.
Refrigerated sautéed broccolini can be reheated in either the microwave or on the stovetop.
Microwave method: Place the leftover broccolini in a microwave safe container and cover loosely. Microwave until hot.
Stovetop method: Heat a pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the broccolini and sauté until hot. Alternatively, add a splash of water to the pan with the broccolini and cover with a lid. Let the broccolini steam for 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. If there's leftover water, let it cook until evaporated.
Contrary to its name, broccolini is NOT a miniature broccoli nor is it baby broccoli. It's actually a cross-breed between broccoli and Chinese broccoli (gai lan). In terms of appearance, broccolini are have long, thin stalks with tiny florets that looks similar to broccoli. As for the flavor, broccolini is milder and a bit sweeter than standard broccoli.
Broccolini tastes something in between a broccoli and Chinese broccoli (gai lan). It's milder than broccoli but less sweet than the Chinese broccoli.
Broccolini doesn't need much trimming before it's ready for cooking. All you need to do is to cut off about ¼ to ½ inch of the stems at the bottom.
- 12 ounces broccolini rinsed and bottoms trimmed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes more or less to preference(optional)
- 3 tablespoons water more if needed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon of juice per ½ lemon)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the butter to a sauté pan over medium.
- Once the butter has melted, add the sliced garlic and sauté until fragrant. Following, add the crushed red pepper and sauté briefly, about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, add the prepared broccolini and sauté briefly to coat with butter and until the broccolini is bright green.
- Pour the water around the pan and cover with a lid. Let the broccolini steam for about 3-5 minutes or until the broccolini stems are to your preferred tenderness. *The steaming time really depends on the thickness of the broccolini, but generally, 3-5 minutes are enough. For really thick ones, it may even take more than 5 minutes. In those cases, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more water to continue steaming..*
- Once the broccolini are tender, uncover the lid and add lemon juice and salt. Sauté until everything is evenly seasoned.
- Transfer the sautéed broccolini to a serving plate and enjoy while hot!