These oven-baked crispy smashed broccoli come together without needing to boil the broccoli first! They get their “cheesy” flavour from nutritional yeast so they’re dairy free, and sprinkled with panko crumbs for extra crispiness.

smashed broccoli on brown plate
These naturally dairy free crispy smashed broccoli are wonderful as a side dish or an appetizer!

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I never met a green veggie I didn’t like, but I do have a special place in my heart for broccoli. This cruciferous veggie is the original 90s “superfood” and one of this dietitian’s favourite ways to put more greens on my plate. My two favourite ways to eat it? Either a classic broccoli salad or roasted in the oven so it gets all mellow and toasty.

I love me a smashed potato – I’ve got a recipe in my cookbook, Plant Magic – so I’m loving the trend of smashing other veggies too. Why? Well, it’s fun: when smashed, you get all these little thinner edges that go crispy in the oven. When you’re trying to eat more plants, it’s nice to vary the textures and flavours so boredom never enters the chat. 

Creating a truly craveable, dairy free version of the viral smashed broccoli recipe took some doing. Vegan parmesan often doesn’t behave like dairy parmesan, so all of the blog advice to just substitute vegan cheese for dairy cheese is a recipe for disaster.

I tried making these a few different ways before settling on this recipe; most folks parboil the broccoli in water before smashing but well, I’m kinda lazy and if I can avoid washing another pot, I’ll do it. Plus, the broccoli gets waterlogged unless you dry it very well. So instead, we’re just roasting broccoli until it’s smashable, smashing it and then letting the edges crisp up. Adequate oil is important here so don’t skimp!

For the cheesy, crispy bit, we’re sprinkling everything in a generous mixture of my ride-or-die, nutritional yeast, and panko bread crumbs so you get plenty of flavour and texture for a vegetable side dish that is anything but boring. Hungry yet? Let’s DO this!

How to make this easy smashed broccoli in the oven

I love how easy and delicious this smashed broccoli is: only one baking sheet to wash, mostly hands off because the oven does most of the work, and ready in about 30 minutes! These step-by-step pictures will show you how…and the detailed recipe is below in the recipe card.

Why broccoli is so, so good for you

All veg are good veg, but I called broccoli the original 90s superfood for a reason: as a cruciferous veggie, broccoli is one of the best-researched vegetables we have with respect to health benefits. 

Sulfur-based compounds called isothiocyanates in broccoli (and kale and cabbage!) are linked to healthy cell cycle regulation and anti-inflammation which is why some folks say that broccoli is part of an ‘anti-cancer’ lifestyle…a bit of an overstatement as cancer is extremely complex but there is some science behind it.

From a basic nutrition standpoint, broccoli is super nutrient-dense: one cup of raw broccoli has 2 grams of fibre, almost 50 mg of calcium as well as smaller amounts of iron, zinc and folate plus tons of antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for eye health.

More roasted vegetable recipes you’ll love:

smashed broccoli on brown plate

Crispy Smashed Broccoli with Nutritional Yeast

These oven-baked crispy smashed broccoli come together without needing to boil the broccoli first! They get their cheesy flavour from nutritional yeast and are sprinkled with panko crumbs for extra crispiness.
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into florets 2-3 inches long and about 1½ inches wide
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, or other neutral, high heat oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • ¼ cup dairy free panko bread crumbs, gluten free if needed
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450℉ (230℃). Make sure your florets aren't too big and are relatively the same size so they cook quickly.
  • On the baking sheet, toss broccoli with oil, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder, ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt and chile flakes if desired. Spread out florets evenly on the baking sheet to give them space to cook so they don't steam.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven. Using the bottom of a heavy glass, jar or baking cup, gently smash the broccoli to flatten it to about ¼ inch thickness (0.5 cm).
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes more until broccoli is browned on bottom.
  • Mix together the panko and remaining ¼ salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle it over the broccoli and bake for 3-5 minutes more until panko is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe is most delicious right out of the oven!