This sauteed broccoli is an easy and quick vegetable dish that includes red bell pepper for added flavor, crunch, and beautiful color! Forget mushy and over cooked - this recipe seeks to catch your broccoli florets at the perfect crisp-tender stage - lightly softened, but not fall-apart mush.
As you can see by the pictures, their vibrant green color is maintained, whereas overcooked broccoli starts to turn a bit gray. This color loss also means flavor loss, which we definitely don't want. Just like your favorite Chinese takeout!
💖 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Quick - This veggie recipe takes only 20 minutes from start to finish, making it a perfect side dish for busy weeknights or holidays.
- Delicious - If you hate mushy broccoli (like I do), then you'll love how lightly crunchy and tasty this stir fried broccoli turns out and how the flavors are magnified instead of killed by over cooking. Check out the rest of my delicious vegetable recipes.
- Simple ingredients - Only 4 ingredients needed - broccoli, garlic, red pepper, and oil of your choice - all very easy ingredients to acquire.
- Broccoli: Use only fresh broccoli in this recipe - not frozen - as frozen broccoli is already pre-cooked a bit and holds a lot of water. You will end up with steamed broccoli
- Oil: I used olive oil, but you can use any oil of your choice.
- Garlic: You can use fresh garlic and mince it yourself, or you can buy the jarred minced garlic to save a little time. I've used both - keep in mind that fresh is always going to be more flavorful.
(See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full recipe instructions)
📖 Additions / Serving Suggestions
I like to keep my fried broccoli simple, but there are times that you may want to add a little variety to this recipe. Here are a few options that I like:
- Sesame seeds: Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sesame seeds for a bit of a flavor enhancement.
- Soy sauce: Just a little gives a lot of flavor. I would add about one tablespoon. Along with the sesame seeds above, you may think you're eating your favorite takeout broccoli.
- Slivered almonds: Nuts give a nice crunch and flavor.
- Other veggies such as sliced carrots, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. make great additions. Try to keep the vegetables somewhat even in their quantities so you have a beautiful, flavorful dish. If using carrots, plan to cook the carrots a bit first before adding the broccoli and make sure to not cut the carrots too thickly (as they take longer to soften).
🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions
For perfectly sauteed broccoli!
Step 1: Chop the broccoli in uniform, largish pieces.
Step 2: Core and slice pepper in uniform slices.
Step 3: Preheat large skillet to medium heat. Add oil, garlic, pepper, and broccoli to heated pan and stir.
Step 4: Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, stir, and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring a few times to prevent scorching.
(Scroll down for full recipe and print capabilities)
💭 Expert Cooking Tips
- Don't overcook. The main trick for awesome broccoli is not overcooking it, which results in a mushy, less flavorful outcome. Thus, preheating your pan and cooking quickly just minutes before you're ready to serve it is the best practice when wanting perfect broccoli.
- Cook quickly in hot pan. As mentioned above, the best cooked broccoli is tender, yet not mushy. For best flavor, you want to quick cook it where it just starts to soften, but overcooking is (regrettably) so easy to do.
- Plan to cook broccoli 10 minutes before the rest of your dinner is ready to serve. Have your broccoli and red peppers already chopped and the other ingredients ready to add. Then wait ... until about 10 minutes before the rest of your dinner will be ready.
🧐 Recipe FAQs
Steamed broccoli cooks in liquid and removes a good bit of the flavor, color, and nutrition. Sauteing cooks more quickly with very little liquid and maintains color, flavor, and nutrition better and has a better texture (in my opinion).
I like to saute my broccoli for the best flavor and texture. I like my broccoli firm, not soft, with a bit of tender crunch. Quick sauteing will give you takeout-quality broccoli.
I don't steam my broccoli before stir frying, but some people do in order to soften the stems a bit and give it a head start in the cooking process. I think this is an unnecessary step, and I like to keep cooking as simple as possible. I simply saute my broccoli in a hot pan for a short period of time, and it turns out crisp-tender every time.
🥗 More Veggie Side Dishes
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Sauteed Broccoli with Red Pepper
- Preheat large skillet on medium (I love using cast iron, but not necessary here).
- Add oil, garlic, bell pepper, broccoli, salt, and black pepper and stir.
- Cover and cook on medium for 5 minutes.
- Uncover, stir, and cook 3-5 minutes more or until broccoli is just softening, stirring a few times to prevent scorching. Don't overcook. Broccoli is best when still a bit crunchy but starting to soften. Cook longer according to your preference.