It's Time To Upgrade Your Roasted Broccoli With A Pinch Of Sugar

Roasted broccoli on a plate
Roasted broccoli on a plate - Liudmyla Chuhunova/Shutterstock

By this point, it's no longer necessary to extol the virtues of eating your veggies. It's common knowledge that fresh produce is packed with important nutrients and that the best-case scenario is that they find their way into multiple meals every day. Fortunately, whether by evolutionary design or sheer luck, vegetables are also very delicious -- especially when roasted and caramelized to perfection.

Broccoli in particular, with its crisp florets and tender stems, can convert even the staunchest green food skeptics into believers. And to take your roasted broccoli to a new level, all you need is a simple pinch of sugar. It may seem counterintuitive to add an ingredient proven to have some less than beneficial health impacts to a nutritional powerhouse like broccoli, or that you would want a sweet element in an otherwise savory meal. But, although there are natural sugars inherent in most vegetables, a small amount helps facilitate browning and caramelization, which translates to a big flavor and that perfect texture from stem to stalk.

Read more: 8 Baking Sheet Mistakes You Want To Avoid

Tips For Better Roasted Broccoli

Roasted broccoli on sheet pan
Roasted broccoli on sheet pan - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Brown sugar is a solid choice for adding to roasted broccoli to enhance caramelization and deepen flavor. You can even combine it with cayenne, which has a balancing and flavorful effect. Just mix any seasonings, and your dash of sugar, with enough oil to coat the broccoli. Flavor-wise, you can add spices and herbs to your heart's content, or even select an infused oil (like garlic, lemon, or chili).

There are several additional hacks when roasting veggies like broccoli. One of the most basic tips is to try to achieve a consistent size for your chopped veggies (bite-sized is a good rule of thumb) and distribute them in an even layer on your baking sheet. Fortunately, broccoli roasts pretty fast so you won't have to wear out your patience when hunger strikes -- about 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit will usually do the trick. Just be aware that super-high temperatures may cause sugar to burn, so if you are using sugar in your seasoning mixture, you may want to lower it to 350 degrees.

Enjoying Your Upgraded Broccoli Experience

Pasta with broccoli and chicken
Pasta with broccoli and chicken - Seva_blsv/Shutterstock

Once you've prepared your extra caramelized savory roasted broccoli, the options for where to use it are endless. If want to keep it simple, perhaps the fastest and simplest way to serve your broccoli is with lemon and a sprinkle of parmesan, or add texture and heat with spicy crunchy breadcrumbs. Serve it as a side with smoky grilled pork chops or sticky sesame-baked chicken, or top with tomato sauce and cheese for broccoli parmesan, a vegetarian take on the classic dish. For a comforting, carbohydrate-forward take, pair with your favorite pasta and a dollop of ricotta cheese.

Have some friends over for brunch, topping your roasted broccoli with poached eggs and vinaigrette, or make a roasted broccoli and cheddar frittata. A roasted broccoli salad with feta and bacon makes for a perfect workday lunch break. You'll find that this simple pinch of sugar brings a major flavor boost to any of your favorite broccoli classics.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.