Sautéed Broccoli with Garlic

Just a little bit of olive oil and garlic can transform plan old broccoli into a vegetable side dish from one that feels kind of obligatory (yes, ma, there’s something green on the plate) to one that makes you want seconds.  

Sautéed Broccoli

When I make this Sautéed Garlic Broccoli, I make a double batch (cook it in two batches, unless you have a super large pan), because I love leftovers warmed in the microwave for lunch the next day.  Or eaten with fingers out of a container from the fridge.

How to Cut Broccoli Into Florets

When you buy a head of broccoli it may be a single head, or it may be a couple of smaller heads, held together with a rubber band or other packaging. First, cut the flowering head from the stem at the top of the stem. Use a sharp knife and a cutting board to cut the broccoli into small pieces, or “florets,” which will look like little trees. I prefer to cut them into 2 or three inch long florets, rather than short stubby little florets, since the stems are perfectly edible, and I hate waste.

Simple Sautéed Garlic Broccoli

How to Use the Broccoli Stem

And then the longer trunk of the stem can be used as well – just use a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer of the stem, and make sure to cut off the bottom, which will probably be pretty dried out. Once the stem is peeled you can cut it into 1-inch thick mini slabs lengthwise, or cut it crosswise into ½-inch slices. These will cook in the same amount of time as the florets, and have the same flavor, and a lovely crisp-tender texture.

How to Saute Broccoli

The making of this dish is so easy. A little garlic is sautéed in some olive oil – how much is up to you. 1 teaspoon for 6 cups of broccoli will be nicely garlicky. Two teaspoons is for garlic lovers. You know which one is for you.

How to Saute Broccoli

Add the broccoli and give it a quick saute. Season with salt and pepper. Then some water is added, and the pan is covered so the broccoli steams to finish cooking. Red pepper flakes are a nice finishing touch if you like a bit more heat (and a tiny bit of color).

Sautéed Garlic Broccoli goes with everything, and it turns a simple side of broccoli into a dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.

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What to Serve with Sauteed Broccoli:

Sautéed Garlic Broccoli goes with everything from Asian dishes to Mediterranean dishes to plain old American fare. Seriously, pair it with anything and everything.  Some ideas:

Sautéed Garlic Broccoli with Shrimp

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Sautéed Broccoli

Turn a ho-hum side of broccoli into a dish that will have everyone asking for seconds.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 6 cups broccoli florets and 1-inch pieces of peeled stem about 1 head broccoli
  • Red pepper flakes to finish, optional


  • In a medium skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the garlic (1 teaspoon for a milder garlicky flavor, 2 teaspoons for a full-on garlicky flavor) and swish it around for about 30 seconds until you can smell it.  Add the broccoli and stir and toss to coat with the oil.  Season with salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup of water, cover the pan, and steam until the water is evaporated and the broccoli is tender.  Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes if desired. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 431mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 850IU | Vitamin C: 122mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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  1. The broccoli cooked perfectly and was delicious! In addition to the initial 1/4 c water, I had to add an additional 1/2 c – 3/4 c to keep it steaming. (It’s very difficult to moderate the heat on my gas stove so I probably had it too high.)

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