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No matter what the haters say, broccoli is a delicious vegetable when properly prepared. Roasted broccoli in particular is crispy with softer stems and delicious toasty notes – not to mention it is so simple to make. Splash some white balsamic vinegar on your roasted broccoli after it comes out of the oven, and you just made a super easy side dish with a special brightness and tons of nutrients.
The Benefits of Roasted Broccoli
There are many ways to prepare broccoli. It can be enjoyed raw, steamed, blanched, boiled, roasted, etc. Roasting broccoli at high heat with oil and seasonings cooks the broccoli florets all the way through and gives it a varied, crispy texture.
White Balsamic Vinegar Vs Dark Balsamic Vinegar
Most people are familiar with the dark, sometimes more viscous dark balsamic vinegar. Both white and dark balsamic vinegar are made using the same process. The grape must is boiled until the sugar content reaches a certain percentage, then it is aged in barrels or stainless steel containers. The difference is the temperature at which the vinegars are cooked. Dark balsamic is cooked at a higher temperature, resulting in the caramelization of the sugars. White balsamic, on the other hand, is cooked at a lower temperature. The sugars do not caramelize nearly as much, preserving the lighter color. If you’d like more info, here’s an article from The Kitchn about white balsamic vinegar.
Taste-wise, dark balsamic is sweeter and richer tasting, while white balsamic tastes fresh and crisp. Either vinegar can be used in this recipe, but I prefer the brightness of the white balsamic with the roasted broccoli.
Vinegars are all over the price spectrum. Really high end balsamic vinegar is very time and labor intensive to make. Lower end balsamic vinegar may be mixed with a regular white or red wine vinegar, or have color added. If you are a vinegar connoisseur, by all means, use your fancy vinegar! The balsamic vinegar is added after the broccoli is roasted, so none of the flavor notes will be cooked out. However, if you do not have the interest or resources to invest in high end vinegar, never fear! I use a regular, grocery store brand of white balsamic vinegar for this roasted broccoli recipe, and it turns out great!
Tips and Tricks
There are a few important things to keep in mind when making white balsamic roasted broccoli.
- The broccoli must be completely dry before you start. This will ensure that the finished product turns out toasty and crispy instead of soggy and squishy.
- Do not add the balsamic vinegar until after the broccoli comes out of the oven, again to avoid sogginess.
- Watch the broccoli at the end. Ovens vary wildly, and you don’t want to end up with burnt broccoli. If the broccoli seems to be browning too fast, turn down the heat to 400 degrees.
I hope you enjoy this easy, tasty side dish as much as my family does! Please comment after you make it and let me know how it went!
White Balsamic Roasted Broccoli
- 1 Rimmed baking sheet
- 1 medium to large mixing bowl
- 2 extra large broccoli crowns washed previously and completely dried
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- At least 4 hours before you want to roast your broccoli, wash it and put it in the fridge to dry. A good way to do this is to put the broccoli on a small rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels and then place the baking sheet with the broccoli in the fridge uncovered. See note.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the broccoli crowns into bite sized florets.
- Place the florets in a mixing bowl, and add olive oil, salt, and pepper. With your hands, mix well until all of the broccoli is evenly coated.
- Pour broccoli onto a rimmed baking sheet, spread evenly and roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir the broccoli and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Watch the broccoli so that it doesn't burn.
- Take the pan out of the oven and sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar evenly over the broccoli. Toss and serve!