This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
Romanesco is a stunning chartreuse-spired cruciferous veggie in the same family as broccoli and cauliflower. Here we’ve roasted it with shallots, garlic and lemon zest and served with Italian Salsa Verde and Calabrian Chilies.
What is Romaneso?
Think of Romanesco as the handsome Italian cousin of broccoli and cauliflower. Originating in the 1500s, near Rome as the name suggests, it’s a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli and a stunning display of fractual design.
But please don’t be intimidated by Romanesco’s good looks or fame- it loves to be treated simply like you would broccoli or cauliflower.
Today we’ve roasted it in a hot oven until tender-crisp, preserving its beautiful chartreuse hue along with slivers of garlic and shallots and Italian Salsa Verde.
Serving it with a sauce allows you to customize the flavor profile pairing it with what you are already making. Here we are featuring Italian Salsa Verde and Calabrian Chilies. But you can take this in many directions- see embellishments below!
- Romanesco – Typically chartreuse in color, but purple and orange varieties can also be found. Try to seek out ones will similar-sized spires- for even cooking. Use all parts of the Romanesco- leaves and stems.
- Shallot and Garlic– Fresh sliced garlic and shallots enhance Romanesco’s flavor.
- Seasonings– salt, pepper, chili flakes.
- Optional additions: lemon zest, parmesan, depending on your flavor profile.
- A tasty Sauce: Gremolata, Italian Salsa Verde, Green Tahini Sauce, Szechuan Sauce, Zhoug Yogurt
- Don’t toss the leaves or stem! Romanesco can be pricey- try to use every part of the veggie- stem, leaves and all- see process photos.
- Don’t cut the florets– pull them apart with your fingers, to preserve their symmetry. Plus this is the fun part.
- Don’t overcook. Lightly steam, roast or saute- to preserve Romanesco’s vibrant color!
How to Prepare Romanesco
Use every part of Romanesco.
Embellishments: Ways to serve Romanesco
Romanesco can be served with a variety of sauces and paired with many flavor profiles. Here are a few to get you started:
- Italian Salsa Verde– recipe below.
- Green Tahini Sauce
- Lemony Leek Dressing
- Romesco Sauce
- Harissa paste
- Szechuan Sauce– leave out the lemon zest.
- Zhoug mixed with yogurt
Romanesco Serving Size
One head of Romanesco feeds about 3-4 people as a side dish if you include the stems and leaves- but truth be told, Brian and I just split it, and there are never leftovers.
What to serve with Romanesco
Serve with this Branzino, grilled chicken or chicken piccata , Stuffed Peppers, Cacio E Pepe, your favorite Salmon Recipe, or these easy Italian turkey meatballs!
Yes! Romanesco is related to broccoli and cauliflower and contains similar health benefits to cruciferous veggies. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane a compound that supports our liver, prevents DNA damage, and prevents cancer and/or its spread. It protects the brain, reduces allergies, inflammation and helps manage diabetes. Rich in fiber, Romaneso is considered a prebiotic and feeds our healthy gut bacteria.
They are similar in nutrients and flavor but are very different in appearance. Cauliflower is white with rounded florets; Romanesco is chartreuse with pointed fractual spires.
Romanesco can be eaten raw, roasted, steamed, fried, or sauteed.
Because Romanesco is so uniquely colorful- cook it in a way that highlights and preserves its vibrant color. Lightly steam it until bright green, roast it on high heat until tender-crisp, or saute it lightly. My favorite way is to roast it.
Yes, like broccoli and cauliflower, raw Romanesco is actually good for the gut- a healthy prebiotic that feeds our good bacteria. It is also high in fiber.
Yes, though I would caution to par-steam it first until just tender and bright green, drizzle with olive oil and season, and then roast it. Steaming it first will help preserve its color.
More Recipes you may enjoy
Enjoy the Romanesco recipe! Introduce it into your kitchen this spring and gaze into its beautiful happy face.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 1x
- Category: side dish
- Method: Baked, roasted
- Cuisine: italian
- Diet: Vegan
Roasted Romanesco! Romanesco is a stunning chartreuse-spired cruciferous hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower. Roast it with shallots, garlic & lemon- a simple recipe that takes 15 mins of hands-on time!
- 1 head Romanesco- choose one that has similar-sized spires for most even cooking.
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4–6 fat garlic cloves, each sliced into 4–5 slices lengthwise.
- 2 Shallots- cut into 1/2 inch wedges.
- 1–2 tablespoons lemon zest- from one small lemon (optional, leave out if adding Asian flavors)
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, more to taste (Aleppo or Urfa Biber is nice here)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, more to taste
- optional- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
Italia Salsa Verde (Optional- or see other sauces in post)
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Prep Romanesco: Remove the leaves and stems off the Romanesco, and trim off any discolored ends. Slice the leaves in half lengthwise to create strips. Cut the stem in half, then in 1/4-1/2 inch thick strips. Carefully, starting from the bottom of the bud, pull off the spires with your fingers, keeping them intact.
- Season: Place all in a big bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add the sliced garlic, shallots, zest, salt, pepper and chili flakes and toass to coat well.
- Bake: Place on a parchment-lined sheet pan, not overlapping. Bake for 15 minutes, stir in parmesan if using, and bake for 5-10 more minutes, until tender-crisp, yet still vibrant in color. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and chili flakes- I usually add more of all.
- While it is roasting, make your choice of sauce.
- To make Salsa Verde: Place everything in a food processor and pulse until uniformly chopped and combined. Add more olive oil to loosen it if you like. (You can also finely mince everything by hand and stir in a small bowl.)
- To serve, place a few tablespoons of Salsa Verde on a large plate or platter, place the roasted romanesco over the top, with tips pointing up and out-along with all the toasty bits. Then add a few more spoonfuls Salsa Verde over and around. For color and heat, Calabrian chilies are a nice and punchy.
Leftovers will keep up to 3 days in the fridge- feel free to reheat- in a sauce pan, in the oven or microwave.
- Serving Size: ¾ cup – without sauce or parmesan
- Calories: 81
- Sugar: 2.5 g
- Sodium: 308.2 mg
- Fat: 5.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 g
- Fiber: 2.2 g
- Protein: 2.4 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: romanesco, romanesco recipe, romanesco broccoli, roasted romanesco, how to cook romanesco, Romanesco broccoli recipe,
What a great recipe. SO GOOD. Yummy
Great to hear Laurie!
Perfect timing for this recipe. Had a head of romanesco in my CSA box this week and wasn’t sure what to do with it. Used the salsa verde recipe with it and OMG it was all so good. I almost licked my plate when no one was looking!
Great to hear Julia! So happy you enjoyed this!