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A plate of roasted broccoli steaks on tomato sauce topped with olive bread crumbs.

Easy Roasted Broccoli Steaks


Adapted from this Food and Wine recipe, attributed to Greg Vernick of Philadelphia’s Vernick. 

For the fresh bread crumbs: simply place a hunk of day- or days-old bread into the food processor. Blend until finely chopped. Transfer to a storage vessel. Freeze the crumbs for up to 3 months or transfer to the fridge for 2 to 3 days. 

The original recipe called for olive tapenade. I simplified this a bit by adding chopped olives to the bread crumbs themselves. A few thoughts: 

  1. If you don’t like olives, simply omit them. The bread crumbs are delicious on their own.
  2. If you have olive tapenade on hand, use it! Save yourself the step of chopping the olives. If you’re feeling really ambitious, make the olive tapenade yourself.
  3. If you are avoiding bread, I think a toasted walnut-olive topping would be delicious. Almonds and pine nuts — any nut you like, really — would also be great. I do think a crunchy element of some sort is essential here.


  • 2 small-ish heads broccoli, 1.25-1.5 lbs total
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes (12 ounces)
  • 1 red onion (9 ounces pre trimming)
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 ounces) fresh bread crumbs, see notes above
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, see notes above


  1. Heat the oven to 475ºF. 
  2. Prepare the broccoli: Trim the end off each head of broccoli. Peel the stalks to remove the tough outer later. Halve each head. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. (I like to use these quarter sheet pans for this.) Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place the heads cut side down. Set aside. 
  3. Prepare the tomatoes: In a 9-inch square baking dish (or something similar), toss the tomatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Season with pepper to taste. 
  4. Transfer both pans to the oven for 25-30 minutes. (Note: Please check after 10 minutes — if the broccoli is charring too quickly, lower the heat to 450ºF. My oven has been running cool, so 475ºF has been working for me.) To test for doneness, lift up one of the broccoli heads — you want it to be nicely caramelized on its cut side. If it isn’t brown, continue to roast until it is brown. The tomatoes should be beginning to collapse and starting to lightly blister in spots. Remove both pans from the oven. Flip the broccoli heads and return the pan to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Transfer the roasted tomatoes and onions along with 1/4 cup water to a high speed blender or food processor. If using a blender be sure to let the mixture cool briefly before puréeing, or be sure to start puréeing on low, with the small opening at the top removed and covered lightly with a tea towel to allow the hot air to escape. Purée until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons butter and purée again until smooth. Taste. Adjust with salt to taste. Add water by the tablespoon to thin. Sauce should be pourable. 
  6. Make the bread crumbs: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil oil until it just begins to shimmer. Add the bread crumbs and a small pinch of salt. Toast, stirring often, until the crumbs are evenly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the olives and stir for another 15 seconds or so. Remove pan from heat. 
  7. To plate: Pour sauce (you likely won’t need all of it) over a serving platter, spreading with the back of a spoon. Top with the roasted broccoli halves. Spoon as many of the olive bread crumbs over top as you wish. Serve immediately passing more sauce and olive bread crumbs on the side. 
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: roasted, broccoli, steaks, vegetarian, olives