Air Fryer Tenderstem Broccoli (broccolini) is a quick and easy way to enjoy the delicious flavor of roasted broccolini in half the time. In just 10 minutes, you can have tender-crisp broccolini on your dinner plate. It’s the perfect side dish for so many different meals.
Today is the fourth day of my five days of tenderstem broccoli. On Monday, I posted my favorite way to cook Pan-Fried Tenderstem Broccoli. Tuesday was all about Steamed Tenderstem Broccoli. Yesterday, I shared my Roasted Tenderstem Broccoli recipe. And today, I’m bringing you Air-Fried Tenderstem Broccoli. You’re not going to be disappointed!
Check out more broccolini side dishes here:
Tenderstem broccoli, also known as broccolini, is a hybrid of Chinese kale and regular broccoli. It’s a versatile vegetable with a mild, sweet, and subtle nutty flavor. Both the long stems and delicate florets are tender, edible, and delicious. It’s such a tasty way to get some greens into your diet.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a quick and easy recipe: Air frying broccolini only takes about 5-6 minutes, so it’s a great option for busy evenings and hectic weekends.
- It’s versatile: Air-fried broccolini can be served as a side dish, added to salads or stir-fries, or eaten on its own as a snack.
- Only a handful of ingredients: The basic recipe is just four simple ingredients. Broccolini, olive oil, salt and pepper. I’m adding three toppings to keep things interesting, but these are completely optional.
Health Benefits: Broccoli is a low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable that can help you feel full and satisfied. This can make it a helpful food for weight loss and maintaining a healthy metabolism. [Source]
Let’s take a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this easy Air Fryer Broccoli recipe. They’re all readily available at local grocery stores.
BASIC AIR FRYER BROCCOLINI
- Tenderstem Broccoli (Broccolini): A great vegetable to air fry. The air fryer brings out its natural sweetness and nuttiness, crisping the edges while the middle remains tender.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Prevents the broccolini from sticking to the air fryer basket or rack and helps achieve a crispy texture.
- Sea Salt Flakes: To make the flavors pop!
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper: Adds gentle warmth.
- Fresh Chili: Brings the heat!
- Toasted Almonds: For extra crunch.
- Feta Cheese: For some creamy, salty indulgence.
Here’s how to make this easy side dish in four illustrated steps:
These visual step-by-step instructions provide a quick overview of the recipe. You can find the recipe card with the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions at the bottom of this page. ⇩
1: Place the Tenderstem broccoli in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss everything together until the broccoli is evenly coated.
2: Spread the seasoned broccoli in a single layer in the air fryer basket or rack.
3: Cook for 5-6 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss halfway through to ensure even cooking.
4: Remove the broccoli from the air fryer and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle with feta, toasted almonds, and chili (if using). Serve and enjoy!
Trim the ends. The very ends of the broccolini can be tough and unpleasant to eat, so it’s a good idea to trim them off before cooking.
Slice thick stems. If any broccolini stems are thicker than the others, slice them down the length so they cook evenly.
Dry the broccoli. Excess water can cause the broccoli to steam instead of roast, so make sure it’s thoroughly dry before seasoning and air frying. You can do this with some paper towels or a clean tea towel.
Air fry in a single layer. This will help the broccoli cook evenly and prevent it from steaming.
- Tenderstem Broccoli: You can substitute fresh broccoli florets, thinly sliced broccoli stems, broccoli rabe, long stem broccoli, cauliflower florets, or asparagus spears for the tenderstem broccoli.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You can substitute other oils, such as avocado oil. Alternatively, you could use an olive oil spray. However, some aerosol brands may damage your air fryer, so make sure to read your manual on guidelines for this.
- Salt: You can substitute kosher salt or low-sodium salt for the sea salt flakes. Garlic salt is a delicious way to add some garlicky flavor.
The toppings are all optional, so you can omit them or substitute them with other toppings of your choice. Here are some great additions to try:
- Cheesy: Parmesan cheese or blue cheese
- Citrusy: Fresh lemon juice and/or lemon zest or lime juice
- Tangy: Balsamic vinegar
- Savory: Fresh garlic, garlic powder, or onion powder
- Spicy: Red Pepper flakes (chilli flakes), paprika, or cayenne pepper
- Herby: Cilantro (fresh coriander), thyme, or basil
- Seedy: Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds
- Nutty: Chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios
Air Fryer Tenderstem Broccoli is just so versatile it will happily pair up with so many dishes. Here are just some examples:
- Serve as a delicious side dish with your favorite protein, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and quinoa. It’s also a great addition to your roast dinner alongside some crispy roast potatoes and red cabbage.
- Stir into pasta dishes. It’s fab with a carbonara or pesto pasta.
- Toss through rice, broccoli rice, or cauliflower rice.
- Top with your favorite sauce, such as green goddess dressing, hummus, teriyaki, or tahini sauce. Or, dunk them in a dipping sauce, like this awesome whipped feta.
- Serve it with eggs for breakfast, such as egg muffins, scrambled eggs, or frittata.
- Add it to salads. It’s delicious with this green goddess salad and Spinach Couscous Salad with Feta.
- Add a handful as a garnish to your favorite soup, whether it’s a creamy broccoli cheese soup, a pumpkin soup, or a tomato soup.
Your healthy side dish is best served immediately. But if you have leftovers, here are some storage tips:
- Fridge: Air-fried broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: It can also be frozen for 2-3 months. However, the texture may change slightly after freezing and thawing.
- Reheating: You can use the microwave or stovetop to reheat your tasty side dish.
- Microwave: Place the broccoli in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
- Stovetop: Heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of oil. Add the broccoli to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
The ideal temperature for air frying broccoli is 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). This temperature will help the broccoli cook evenly and get crispy on the outside.
The cooking time for air-frying broccoli will vary depending on the thickness of the broccoli stems. However, as a general rule, broccolini should air fry in about 5-6 minutes or until it is tender and slightly charred.
Absolutely! Simply omit the feta cheese or replace it with a dairy-free alternative.
Yes, this dish can be included in a low carb or keto diet, as broccolini is a low-carb vegetable. However, it is important to be mindful of portion sizes and any additional ingredients you pair with it.
No, broccolini is not the same as baby broccoli. Broccolini is a hybrid vegetable and a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli. It has small florets and long, thin stalks. Baby broccoli, on the other hand, is simply young broccoli that has not yet fully matured. It has smaller florets than mature broccoli, but the stalks are the same size.
Broccolini and broccoli rabe are often confused because they look similar. However, they are different vegetables. Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli, while broccoli rabe is a member of the mustard family. One main difference is the taste. Broccolini is milder than broccoli rabe, which has a strong, bitter flavor. Broccolini also has smaller florets and longer, thinner stalks than broccoli rabe.
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Easy Air Fried Tenderstem Broccoli (Broccolini)
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- Air Fryer
- Cutting Board
- 12 ounces (340 grams) Tenderstem Broccoli (broccolini), washed, dried, and any tough ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon (tablespoon) extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon (teaspoon) sea salt flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon (teaspoon) black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 red chili, finely sliced, seeds removed if preferred
- ¼ cup (36 grams) toasted almond flakes
- ¼ cup (38 grams) crumbled feta cheese
- Prep: Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C) for about 4 minutes for best results. Meanwhile, gather and prepare your ingredients.
- Season: In a large bowl, toss the tenderstem broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper. This is a great way to ensure the tender broccoli spears and florets get evenly coated.
- Air Fry: Place the seasoned broccoli in the preheated air fryer basket or racks. Arrange it in a single layer to ensure even cooking. You may need to cook it in batches.
- Cook: Cook the broccoli in the air fryer for 5-6 minutes, shaking the basket or tossing the broccoli halfway through to ensure even cooking. The broccoli should be tender-crisp (al dente) and slightly crispy on the edges.
- Assemble: Once the broccoli is done, transfer it to a serving dish. If you'd like, sprinkle with red chili, toasted almond flakes, and crumbled feta cheese.
- Serve: Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Fridge: Store any leftover vegetables in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: While it’s possible to freeze Air Fryer Tenderstem Broccoli, the texture may change upon thawing. So, it’s definitely best enjoyed fresh. But if you do have leftovers, you can freeze them for 2-3 months and use them in soups or casseroles later. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
- Microwave: Place a portion in a microwave-safe dish, cover it loosely with a microwave-safe lid, and heat on medium power, stirring occasionally until it’s piping hot.
- Stovetop: Heat a skillet or pan over medium heat, add a little olive oil, and sauté the refrigerated or thawed broccoli until it’s heated through.
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.