Roasted Broccoli in an Air Fryer with Cheese Sauce Recipe

Roasted Broccoli in an Air Fryer with Cheese Sauce Recipe

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Roasted Broccoli in an Air Fryer with Cheese Sauce Recipe
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Broccoli is a highly nutritious green or purple cruciferous vegetable that is quite versatile. It is very low in calories, at just 34 per 100 grams. However, it is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Broccoli is an excellent source of both vitamins A and C. It also supplies us with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It contains no cholesterol or any significant traces of fat.

This pretty flowering plant is pretty much the perfect food. I think it should be a staple in everyone’s diet, especially those who are vegan and are lacking in iron from animal protein and calcium from dairy. Then again, I am partial because it grows so well in my garden and nothing is better than fresh broccoli eaten the day it is picked.

I am partial to quickly steaming or blanching broccoli florets, shocking them in an ice water bath, and finishing the off in a hot black iron skillet with olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. This process ensures that the florets are almost soft in the center and crisped up on the exterior.

Preparing Broccoli in an Air Fryer

I love roasting all varieties of vegetables in my air fryer. Broccoli presented me with some challenges to get it the way I like it. I tried several recipes that I had researched with not the best results. No matter what temperature and timing I tried, the florets charred on the exterior and remained hard on the interior. And, they tasted bitter.

After ruining a couple of crowns of broccoli I needed to find a better solution that yielded good results. I decided to try a lower temperature. That was a little better. I also tried adding some water to the bottom of the fryer bucket to get the broccoli to steam and roast simultaneously. That worked even better. In the end, I decided to treat the florets as I do brussels sprouts by giving them a quick head start in the microwave before hitting the air fryer.

I encourage you to try different methods because not all are air fryers behave the same way. And, you might actually enjoy those charred little bits more than I do. If so, make sure to cut the florets down into bite size pieces so that they cook all the way through.

The recipe here is fairly basic. So, I have included an additional recipe for a sauce to serve with the broccoli florets. I have also included a recipe for broccoli and pasta salad and homemade broccoli and cheddar cheese cornbread. The cornbread recipe is one of my favorite ways to use leftover broccoli and a good way to get kids to eat some vegetables.

Roasted Broccoli Florets (Vegan, Keto, Paleo, Gluten Free)


  • 4 cups broccoli florets, cut to the same size
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Total time:17 minPrep time:10 min – Cook time:7 min – Serves:4 people


1. Rinse the broccoli under cold water and drain in a colander for a few minutes. Place the damp broccoli in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave on high for 1-1/2 minutes. Stir the broccoli and microwave for an additional 1 minute. Remove the bowl and drain any water from the broccoli. Set aside.

2. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 3 minutes.

3. Add the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the broccoli. Toss to coat evenly.

4. Place the broccoli in the air fryer basket or on the crisper plate and cook for 3 minutes. Shake the air fryer bucket to rotate the broccoli and continue to roast for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until the florets are just crispy on the exterior. You may have to do this in 2 batches.

5. Remove the broccoli to a serving plate and serve as is or sprinkled with parmesan cheese. You can also serve this with cheese sauce (recipe follows). If you want to incorporate the broccoli into cornbread or pasta, proceed to the recipes following the cheese sauce recipe.

Creamy Parmesan Cheese Sauce (Keto & Gluten Free)

Air fried broccoli with cheese sauce


  • 1 TBS butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsps finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Total time: 15 minPrep time: 5 min – Cook time: 10 min – Serves: 4 people


1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and sauté until almost transparent and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minutes.

2. Whisk in the heavy cream until it just comes to a boil. Immediately turn the heat to low and simmer gently until the sauce reduces by 1/3 and is just starting to thicken, approximately 5 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the parmesan and continue whisking until the cheese is well incorporated into the cream. Season with the salt and pepper.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley just before serving. Serve over the roasted broccoli.

Pasta Salad with Roasted Broccoli (Vegetarian)


  • 4 cups roasted broccoli from first recipe
  • 2 cups dried penne or ziti pasta
  • 1 tsp sea salt for cooking the pasta
  • 1/4 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese

Total time: 18 minPrep time: 10 min – Cook time: 8 min – Serves: 4 people


1. In a large soup pot over high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the pasta so that it doesn’t stick together. Cook until the pasta is slightly al-dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta in a colander and allow it to cool to room temperature.

2. In a serving bowl, combine the pasta and roasted broccoli. Dress this with the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to coat.

3. Add the pepper, salt, and cayenne. Toss gently.

4. Sprinkle the cheese all over the pasta salad and toss gently again. Cover and chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately.

Broccoli and Cheddar Cheese Cornbread (Vegetarian)


  • Canola oil or butter for greasing the baking dish
  • 1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted broccoli florets from first recipe
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Total time: 45 minPrep time: 10 min – Cook time: 35 min – Serves: 4 people


1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Generously coat a 9×9 inch baking dish or a 9-inch cast iron skillet with oil or butter.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, honey, milk, yogurt, and melted butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients to make a thick batter.

3. Fold in the broccoli and cheddar cheese.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish or skillet. Place this in the oven and bake until the cornbread springs back when pressed in the center and is golden brown in color, approximately 30 minutes.

5. Allow the cornbread to cool for at least 10 minutes. Then, cut and serve with room temperature butter on the side.

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