Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade

For the salty food lovers, an olive, garlic tapenade with roasted broccoli. The perfect side dish for roasted chicken in cool weather.

If there’s one vegetable I know we’ll finish immediately in the house, it’s broccoli. Chris can eat an entire head of roasted broccoli in one meal. The man likes broccoli. Who am I to complain?

But every now and then, once I’ve realized just how many times we’ve consecutively consumed roasted broccoli the exact same way, it necessitates a topping or a sauce development. Olive tapenade is a favorite of ours for crackers and bread, so why not with broccoli?

If you love salty sauces and sides, you’ll love tapenade which is essentially a dip of finely chopped olives, capers and anchovies (pass- they’re not in our recipe). While the anchovies help add a secondary layer of salty, plus a boost of umami, we skipped them for two reasons. One: roasted broccoli is already a great source of umami, so the dish still retains a balanced nature. Two: as much as we try and despite the fact we totally ‘get it’, we just can’t bring ourselves to like anchovies. Kind of like oysters. I want to like them. I try. But no.

Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade
Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade

The reason I roasted the broccoli instead of blanching it or steaming is both for the textural and taste benefits. We have found that roasting veggies, especially for super tasters, brings out the sweetness and tones down the bitterness of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts. While blanching the broccoli would have also added a ‘crunch’ texture contrast, I don’t find that sensation appealing with large format broccoli (Little pieces in a pasta? Yes!). Roasting crisps up the top crowns of the broccoli while making it tender enough to easily spear with a fork and drag through the tapenade.

Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade

Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade


2 small or 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets with stem

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3/4 cup pitted, kalamata olives

2 teaspoons lemon juice

3 Tablespoons chopped basil leaves

1 Tablespoon capers, drained

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

parmesan cheese, freshly grated to top


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Cut broccoli into large florets with about an inch of stem attached and place on baking sheet.

  3. Drizzle broccoli with about 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil (leaving 2 1/2 remaining for tapenade) and toss. Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until broccoli can be pierced with a fork and is lightly browned on crowns.

  4. While the broccoli is cooking, add remaining olive oil, kalamata olives, lemon, basil, capers, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse to combine. Texture should be finely chopped but not a paste.

  5. Taste and season with black pepper.

  6. To plate, spread tapenade on a platter and place broccoli on top, or place broccoli in a bowl and add dollops of tapenade on top.

  7. Top with freshly grated parmesan.

Roasted Broccoli with Olive Tapenade

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