Roasted Broccoli With Walnuts, Raisins, and Ricotta Salata

This roasted broccoli with walnuts, raisins, and ricotta salata will likely steal the spotlight at your dinner table. It’s sufficiently impressive to stand in as the main course though it’s equally adept at playing second fiddle.

A white oval plate topped with broccoli with walnuts, raisins, and ricotta salata with a fork and spoon on the side.

Broccoli rarely gets to play main course, but I’ve always found it hearty enough to do so. It just needs a little something extra—not much, though—to make it feel like more than a side dish. Let’s be honest—cheese always helps. Here, crumbly ricotta salata is the base for a salsa of sorts that’s generously spooned over thick, steak-like pieces of roasted broccoli. Added to the cheese are vinegar-soaked raisins, toasted walnuts, herbs, garlic, and red pepper flakes. The result is something that’s salty, tangy, sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time, forcing your taste buds to try to keep up.–Sheela Prakash

*What is Ricotta Salata?

Imagine if you pressed salted, dried ricotta cheese until it was firm enough to grate or crumble. Sounds sorta incredible, right? That’s ricotta salata. Milder than feta, it’s similar to cojita or paneer and makes all the difference in salads, tacos, scrambled eggs, or anywhere you want a salty and creamy hit.

Roasted Broccoli With Walnuts, Raisins, and Ricotta Salata

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4
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Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Trim and discard about 1/4 inch (6 mm) from the bottom of the broccoli stems. Use a vegetable peeler to peel away the tough, fibrous skin on the outside of the stems to reveal the pale, green flesh. Halve each broccoli head from the stem end lengthwise to get 4 halves and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and gently toss to coat, rubbing the oil onto the stems. Lightly season all over with salt and pepper.

Place the halves, cut-side down, on the baking sheet and roast until browned and caramelized underneath, 15 to 18 minutes. Flip the broccoli and continue to roast until tender, 5 to 15 minutes more.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the vinegar and raisins and let rest until the raisins are plumped and softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the walnuts, ricotta salata or feta, parsley, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

Arrange the roasted broccoli on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the walnut-raisin mixture generously over the top and serve.

Tester tip: You may not need all the walnut-raisin mixture, but that’s hardly a problem as it willl keep for a few days in the fridge. Stir it into pasta, spoon it over grilled chicken or steak, scoop it up with pita chips, or sprinkle it on other roasted vegetables or salads.
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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe could be a main course or a delicious side. The salsa was tasty and could be used with other vegetables, on chicken or fish, or just on a cracker. While my family likes veggies, I knew they would not love this for a main dish so I served it as a side with grilled salmon.

The salsa was so flavorful, salty, and savory, and the raisins gave a nice hint of sweet but it was a little dry. I think more of the vinegar and oil to moisten the other ingredients would be helpful. It was tricky to get a bite with the broccoli and salsa as the salsa didn't really stay on the stalks. If I make this again I'd cut the broccoli in bite size pieces before roasting.

We put the extra salsa on our salmon and it was delicious. I will be making this again soon.

The flavorful profile of this dish reminded me of a roasted cauliflower I enjoyed in an Italian restaurant that featured some vinegar and currants. The vinegar, the sweet raisins, and the different textures made this broccoli dish memorable in the same way.

It's also just a simple recipe to fix without a lot of fuss that can go with a variety of entrees (I served with pasta, but I could see this with fish, chicken and steak as well). I agree there is extra "salsa" mix, but it isn't a problem.


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