Puree of Broccoli Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Puree of Broccoli Recipe

Photo by Laney Schwartz

I taught this broccoli puree in a Thanksgiving cooking class in November 2008 and then again last year.  It is my middle daughter’s favorite side dish and I served it at many a Thanksgiving dinner.  In the last few years I moved it over to our Christmas Day menu because I needed to stir things up a bit for Thanksgiving and my daughter wouldn’t let it go completely.  Broccoli puree is like broccoli mashed potatoes — so creamy and satisfying, and it goes with everything.

Sometimes I make it during the year as well because it is so super easy.  Boil broccoli, puree in a food processor with butter and salt and you’re done!  I don’t have trouble with chopping up heads of broccoli, but if you really wanted this to be almost no work, feel free to buy pre-cut broccoli florets.

I have always loved this dish for Thanksgiving because it can made entirely the day before and reheated just before serving.  Tip:  anything like a casserole that needs to be cooked or reheated on Thanksgiving should be taken out of the fridge at least an hour beforehand to take some of the chill off. It will reheat or cook more quickly and evenly.

I thought some of you might still be planning for Thanksgiving. If you have no veggies or colorful side dishes, this one’s for you. Yes, it has a bit of butter, but it’s Thanksgiving, not the day I go on a diet!   I like to garnish it with something, even some chopped chives.  Speaking of which, I told my class today to put fresh parsley and chives on their grocery list for Thanksgiving since most dishes could use a little vibrancy!

A little update, I did a series of Instagram stories at Trader Joe’s over the weekend where I went shopping for some non-perishables for Thanksgiving.  I have permanently posted the whole series on Facebook, so feel free to check it out!

4.7 from 3 reviews
Puree of Broccoli Recipe
Serves: 6
  • 2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into florets, stems thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick) or vegan butter (like Miyoko's Kitchen) or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste if desired
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • Other optional condiments: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil
  1. Grease a 3-quart baking dish or heat-proof bowl with butter or olive oil.
  2. Steam broccoli florets until tender, about 5-8 minutes. This can be done using a steamer basket or by bringing an inch of water to boil in a large pot, adding broccoli and cooking until tender. Do not undercook, otherwise the puree will not be smooth.
  3. Working in batches if necessary, add the steamed broccoli and remaining ingredients to a food processor and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. The broccoli must be pureed while it is warm. (Do not cook broccoli, chill and then puree.)
  4. Spoon puree into baking dish, cover, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Top with freshly grated cheese and/or lemon olive oil, if desired.
Entire mixture can be made the day before and refrigerated. Reheat covered in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.


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  1. Thanks for this delicious recipe! We love it so much! I now would like to serve it for our Easter dinner along with some other side dishes. Can I prepare it in advance and reheat in the microwave instead of the oven?
    Thanks so much for your help

    • You sure can! Happy Easter!

  2. Thanks for this delicious recipe! We love it so much! I now would like to serve it for our Easter dinner along with some other side dishes. Can I prepare it in advance and reheat in the microwave instead of the oven?
    Thank you for your comment

  3. Just made this as part of a wintery meal and it was absolutely delicious. All ages loved it. Putting it in the rotation!! Thank you!!

    • SO happy to hear that! This is one of my kids’ all-time favorites. They have asked for it regularly for years and years!

  4. I remember discovering this and a roasted red pepper puree in a European cookbook many years ago- Dr Ötker maybe? The book grew feet and left me so seeing this is an excellent reminder.

    I realized my osso bucco recipe was in there too so I need that.

    After a series of cooking related traumas I can’t cook so I coach my partner and he’s doing this broccoli right now.

  5. Delicious! Husband said, “it was yummy and he thought it went well with the chicken we had.”
    Thanks for the recipe!
    PS Tied to give the recipe 5 stars but my computer keep acting up. ???

    • Ha, thanks! I’ve been making this recipe for 25 years, I think. It’s a classic and goes with everything!

  6. Have made cauliflower purée but only have broccoli on hand today. Hope it’s good with Salmon on top. Any suggestions?

    • Broccoli puree is neutral and versatile, goes with everything! Fish, poultry, lamb are all wonderful here.

  7. Any way to make this without so much butter (or without any)? Or would that just change the flavor and/or texture too much?

    • Feel free to try! Here’s what I would do — make sure the broccoli is cooked quite well so that it purees smooth. Then, save some of the cooking water in case you need it. Put some broccoli in the food processor and add as little butter as you wish (or none) and start to puree. If you need a little moisture, add a couple teaspoons of the cooking water. Taste it and see what you think. Another possible option is to use a little raw cashew butter in place of the actual butter. Let me know if you try out a different method!

  8. Can this be served under a bed of scallops, for example? Would I need to add milk or cream to make it creamier?

    Thank you!

    • I think that would be delicious. I personally don’t feel the need to add any milk or cream. You may want to save some of the cooking water in case you feel like the puree needs a little loosening up. But do be conservative when adding so you don’t make the mixture too thin.

  9. Making this tonight for my grandkids who are visiting.

    • I have had good luck with this recipe and kids. I hope they enjoy it!

  10. This was the first recipe you taught me almost 20 years ago! Thank you for still making the lemon zest optional!! xoxo

    • I actually thought about you when I was posting this! xx

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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