Roasted Broccoli with Bacon, Parmesan, and Balsamic Glaze

In this recipe, broccoli is roasted on a sheet pan with bacon, infusing it with tons of bacony-goodness. The crispy roasted broccoli and bacon are then topped with a thick, sweet, balsamic glaze and umami-packed shaved parmesan cheese for the most delicious side dish, appetizer, or small plate.

I love how this recipe gives maximum flavor for little effort. However, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. First, you have to use thick cut bacon! You need the bacon to be thick in order for the bacon and broccoli to finish at the same time without the bacon burning before the broccoli is tender-crisp. Thick bacon also renders more fat, which you need to cook the broccoli in (and add that FLAVOR baby).

Speaking of rendering fat, the second thing is cooking this recipe on parchment paper. The parchment ensures that nothing will stick. This gives the bacon time to start rendering, without having to add extra oil to keep the broccoli from sticking, before the bacon has released enough fat. If you add oil in the beginning, the end product can be too oily. Parchment paper eliminates this issue while ensuring you get every last crispy, crunchy bit.

Homemade balsamic glaze is so tasty! But, it does need to be made in advance. It takes about 10 minutes and involves reducing balsamic vinegar and coconut sugar (or brown sugar). The glaze needs to cool completely before it is used. This gives it a chance to thicken up fully. You want it nice and thick so it will cling to the broccoli instead of gathering at the bottom of the plate. Luckily, this recipe makes extra, which you can store in a sealed container at room temp. for a few days or in the fridge for longer-term storage.

The difference between balsamic glaze and balsamic reduction is the addition of sugar in the glaze. This helps it to have an even more thick and viscous texture, perfect for drizzling. The coconut sugar and brown sugar also give the glaze a distinct molasses-y flavor that compliments the sweet and acidic notes of the vinegar so well. I always try (and fail) to resist licking the spoon whenever I top anything with this balsamic glaze – it is just so good!


Roasted Broccoli with Bacon, Parmesan, and Balsamic Glaze

Servings: makes about 3 cups

Time: 35-45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • one bunch of broccoli, florets cut into bite sized pieces (4-5 cups worth)
  • 2 slices of thick cut bacon, about 2 ounces worth
  • balsamic glaze (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

How-to:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Line a large sheet pan (or two smaller ones) with parchment paper (see note). Spread broccoli florets out on the sheet pan. Cut the bacon into 1/3-1/2 inch slices and place them on the sheet pan, dispersed evenly around the broccoli. Sprinkle on some s&p.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes. Flip and roast for another 10 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender and blackened to your liking and the bacon is crispy.
  4. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish (or dishes).
  5. Drizzle balsamic glaze (however much you like! I think about 3-4 tbsp. is perfect) over the roasted broccoli and bacon.
  6. Top with shaved Parmesan and serve.

Notes: Use parchment paper to keep the broccoli from sticking before the bacon has rendered enough fat. If you do so, you do not need to add oil at the beginning of the cooking process, which can result in too oily of a final dish.

Balsamic Glaze

Servings: makes 1/2 cup

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

How-to:

  1. Heat everything in a small sauté pan on medium-low. Let it come to a steady simmer (if it does not simmer, increase heat until it does).
  2. Let cook for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
  3. Let cool completely before using. Glaze will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes: this recipe makes more than you need for one serving of the roasted broccoli and bacon. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container at room temperature for a few days or in the fridge for longer-term storage.

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