This garlic mashed broccoli isn’t going to win any beauty contests, but close your eyes and take a bite. I promise, it is worth the leap of faith. It is a wow moment! It is vegan, paleo, whole-30 approved, low-carb and gluten-free.
Jase and my girls all had pretty much the same response when I served this garlic mashed broccoli to them the first time. “What is this?” Admittedly, it’s pretty unrecognizable. And you’ know, its green mashed stuff- like what the mom on Better Off Dead would’ve served. Okay maybe not that bad.
But then one taste, and all three of them were like Wow! Yum! I have to say, that’s pretty much what I said when I tasted it too. I was like I can’t believe it worked!
I got the idea for this Garlic Mashed Broccoli when I went out to dinner at a restaurant in the Meatpacking District called High Street on Hudson. My eleven year old ordered the steak and broccoli. The menu cryptically referred to it as “Bernie’s” broccoli. Talk about a wow moment. I really loved what I ordered- but the broccoli was so good, I had major food envy! I apologized in advance to my husband for being so embarrassingly like my dad and proceed to make my way to the back of the restaurant and proceeded to buttinski right into the open kitchen to enquire how the heck they made the broccoli.
To make a short story long, basically, the chef had invented it because his mom (the namesake on the menu) had made a broccoli dish like it with canned soup. He had loved it but had reimagined it in a very cheffy way. So sadly, the recipe was way too complicated for a home cook to reasonably make- it involved sauces etc that they already had on hand for other parts of the menu- so to them it was easy enough. But for us, to make three separate recipes to end up with a broccoli side dish seemed like a really good argument to make a reservation at High St On Hudson. (You totally should.)
Anyway, so I decided to make a mashed broccoli recipe here, no canned soup- don’t worry- that was totally stripped down to the basics so that it would be still Wow but without the hours of prep.
The solution was shockingly simple actually, and I think when you taste it, you’ll agree.
How to Make Garlic Mashed Broccoli
- Start with 8 cups of chopped broccoli. It’s fine to use the stems- because it all gets chopped. The texture is best however if you use crowns or peel the stem if it is woody.
- Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces. You are doing that so they will cook evenly and relatively quickly. And this also helps them get moving in the food processor. They don’t have to be perfect, so literally chop- no need to make beautiful mini-trees. Save that effort for this lemon garlic broccoli recipe.
- Steam the broccoli over boiling water in a steamer basket. I use an oxo steamer and it is among the most used pieces of kitchen equipment. Steaming is healthier than boiling because more of the nutrients are retained. The broccoli will also be less watery when it is steamed. Test if it is tender by spearing it with a fork. You want it to be very soft- but not to the point that the green becomes less vibrant. The taste will be best if it isn’t overcooked.
- To cook the garlic, sizzle it in a skillet of olive oil. The chef at High Street on Hudson told me they used roasted garlic oil (which in my restaurant days- and for the years following when I was a personal chef- I considered an unsung mother sauce. To learn how to make roasted garlic oil you can read this post.) I found that this simplified step worked just fine- if not as complex- but the key is to really watch it. You want the garlic to take on the barest amount of color- but not brown to the point where it starts to burn or become bitter at all. Then to stop the cooking, immediately add in veggie stock. This can cause splattering, so be careful!
- Then puree half of the steamed broccoli with the garlic mixture and seasoning to let it get really smooth. Then chop up the second half of the broccoli, to control how much chunk is left in the broccoli. I like a bit more chunk but I know others prefer a smoother texture. I’ll leave it to you to decide.
An inspired yet simple way to make broccoli. Steam it until it is very tender, then puree with sautéed garlic and seasonings. It is naturally low-carb, gluten-free and vegan. Serve it with chicken, beef or tofu.
- 8 cups chopped raw broccoli crowns (bite sized pieces)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ¼ cup no-chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dry thyme
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Bring 1 to 2 inches water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add broccoli and steam until soft but still bright green, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the steamer basket from the pot, pour out water.
- Meanwhile, place oil and garlic in a small skillet and set over medium high (do not preheat oil.) Cook, swirling the pan or stirring often, until the garlic is starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully add chicken stock to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Place half of the broccoli in a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment. Add the garlic mixture, salt, thyme and white pepper and puree until as smooth as possible. Add the broccoli to the empty saucepan.
- Place the remaining broccoli in the food processor and pulse until desired degree of chunkiness. Add the chunky broccoli to the pureed broccoli, and stir to combine. Serve hot.