This quick and easy Asian Broccolini with garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce is an easy side dish that is packed with flavor. Add this delicious veggie to your rotation for a new, tasty Asian side dish.
This easy sauteed Asian Broccolini is the perfect side dish or addition to any Asian meal, rice bowl, and noodle bowl. It's easy to make, maintains lots of crunch, and is bursting with flavor from a quick garlic and ginger sauce. It's just a really good easy vegetable side dish.
If you love broccoli, it's time to switch things up and start cooking broccolini! With its long stems and tender leaves, broccolini is like broccoli's sophisticated cousin.
While often you see broccolini served with Italian flavors, it is so good with Asian flavors. Much like this Roasted Bok Choy or Asian Brussel Sprouts, the ginger and garlic complement the fresh flavors of the broccolini.
What is Broccolini?
Broccolini is a cross between traditional broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan). It's a leafy veggie with roundish leaves, a long thin stalk, and smaller florets that are looser and smaller than regular broccoli.
The great thing about broccolini is that the stems are more delicate (and thinner) than traditional broccoli, making it easier to eat the entire plant. The stems remain tender-crip when cooked without any of the woody texture of broccoli. The florets are tender and the leaves are also super tasty.
In terms of flavor, broccolini can be a little bit more bitter than regular broccoli, especially when eaten raw. When cooked, it loses a lot of that bitter taste and many people describe the flavor as mild and even slightly sweet.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this easy side dish.
- Broccolini: Look for broccolini that is bright green in color with firm stems. The leaves should be intact. Swap in baby broccoli, broccoli rabe, Chinese broccoli, or regular broccoli.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic gives you the best garlic flavor in this dish. Minced garlic or powder will work but the flavor won't be as strong.
- Ginger: Minced ginger brings out the Asian-inspired flavors. Ginger paste works well in this recipe. Ground ginger will work but the flavor won't be quite as nice.
- Coconut oil: Use any oil you like in this recipe including coconut, sesame, avocado, or olive oil.
- Oyster sauce: Adding just a couple of tablespoons of the oyster sauce gives this recipe a nice savory note. You could also use hoisin sauce, teriyaki sauce, or even a few splashes of soy sauce. If you skip the sauce, make sure to add salt and pepper.
- Optional: If you like things spicy, add in some red pepper flakes, Sriracha, or sambal olek.
- Garnish: Add toasted sesame seeds, green onions, red pepper flakes, or a drizzle of sesame oil.
How do you make Asian Broccolini?
This recipe uses a combination of sauteing the broccolini and then quickly steaming it in the same pan. This ensures the stems are cooked through and tender.
Prep the broccolini
First, you get the broccolini ready for the stir fry. I trim the bottom of the stems to get rid of the woody bottom. Then, I cut the leaves away from the stems, chop the stems, then chop the leaves, leaving both in separate piles because they need to cook for different amounts of time.
Cook the stems first
Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then add the stems to the pan and stir to coat in the oil. Cook the stems for about 3-4 minutes or until they are bright green. Remember to stir often.
Add the Florets and Leaves
Add in the tops of the broccolini and any leaves. Stir to coat in the oil, then add in the water or broth and put a lid on the pan. Let the leaves wilt down for about another 3-4 minutes until they are also bright green and you can stab a stem with a fork.
Thicken the sauce
Remove the stems and leaves with a slotted spoon to a bowl, leaving the liquid in the pan. Finally, add the oyster sauce to the liquids in the pan and cook the sauce altogether for another 1-2 minutes so it thickens. Pour the sauce over the Chinese Broccoli and season as needed.
What to Serve with Asian Broccolini
This side dish works with so many main dishes, but here are some of our favorite options.
- Sesame Crusted Tuna
- Grilled Tofu
- Mongolian Beef
- Orange Chicken
- Easy Pepper Steak
- Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
What can I substitute for broccolini?
No broccolini? No problem. You can substitute baby broccoli, Chinese broccoli, broccoli rabe, or regular broccoli. Any and all will be delicious!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this broccolini recipe.
Broccolini has a long, thin stalk and smaller floret on top compared to broccoli which has a thick, woody stem and very large florets. Broccolini tends to be more tender and can be slightly more bitter than traditional broccoli.
For a gluten-free option, simply swap in a gluten-free Asain sauce or tamari instead of the oyster sauce. You could also simply leave off the sauce and add salt and pepper to the broccolini once it is cooked through.
Asian Sautéed Broccolini
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- 1.5 lbs broccolini
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce (more to taste)
- 1 Salt and pepper (if needed)
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- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
If you prefer to keep the broccolini whole, this recipe will also work. They may just need to be steamed a couple of minutes longer.
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