Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Caesar Salad

Close up of a tenderstem broccoli caesar salad on a blue plate.

If you’re looking for a next level, restaurant style way of serving vegetables as the weather gets warmer, look no further than my maximalist recipe for Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Caesar Salad.

Skinny stalks of broccoli are gently charred either under the grill or on the barbecue before being drenched in a homemade Caesar-style dressing (I’m linking to my go-to one but note here I’ve messed around with the parmesan and anchovy quantities in this recipe as they’re added to the dish elsewhere without being blitzed into the dressing!), pan-crisped panko breadcrumbs, oil-packed anchovy pieces and a shower of freshly grated parmesan before being served with a half of charred lemon.

There is a lot going on and a few elements to look after, but this is a vegetable dish that really packs a punch with regard to flavour, looks impressive, and can be made the star of the show with just something simple on the side. And did I mention that it is ready in just 25 minutes?

A blue plate with charred broccoli with bowls of caesar dressingf and toasted breadcrumbs on the side.

My only real recipe note here is the first time you make this is to follow the recipe properly before making your own changes and substitutions other than the vegetable substitutions I’ve listed below: you won’t think you’re seasoning it properly but with the abundance of parmesan and anchovies, I promise you it will turn out just salty enough.

Oh, and that because this salad is best eaten just after serving, these pictures are for a serves 2 amount, rather than the more celebratory serves 4 listed in the recipe card below; do know this is happily halved if you’re cooking just for the two of you!

Close up of a Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Salad on a blue patterned plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this salad ahead?

It is best eaten just after assembly, but you can crisp up the panko and make the Caesar-style dressing in advance to get ahead.

Can I use any other vegetables instead of the tenderstem broccoli?

Depending on the season, purple sprouting broccoli would be a serious upgrade, as would thick, chunky stems of end-of-season asparagus once the urge to just eat them simply drenched in melted butter or with a beurre blanc has passed. Later in the summer, French green beans would also work well, though may I also suggest serving them blistered with a simple bacon vinaigrette instead?

What should I serve this Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Caesar Salad with?

Beef and broccoli are best friends, so I suggest just a simple pan fried or barbecued steak. However, I can report it is also exceptional with thinly cut, very rare, cold leftover roast beef.

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A blue plate with charred broccoli with bowls of caesar dressingf and toasted breadcrumbs on the side.

Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Caesar Salad

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Side Dish


This restaurant-style Charred Tenderstem Broccoli Caesar Salad recipe is the perfect warmer weather accompaniment for barbecued steaks or leftover cold roast beef. With a homemade Caesar-style dressing, charred lemon and crispy panko breadcrumbs you won’t believe that it is ready in just 20 minutes!



For the Tenderstem Broccoli

  • 300g (10 1/2 oz) thin tenderstem broccoli spears, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp light oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • parmesan
  • 10g (1/3 oz) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 lemon

For the Caesar Dressing

  • 1 very small garlic clove
  • 1 anchovy fillet, packed in oil
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp kewpie mayonnaise
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Toss the broccoli spears together with 1 tbsp of the oil, about half the amount of sea salt you’d normally add to veggies and the usual amount of salt on a lined baking sheet. Add the lemon, cut side up. Place under a medium grill for about 15 minutes, checking every few minutes or so until the spears are nicely charred and just tender, tossing halfway.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the breadcrumbs. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a small non-stick saucepan set over a medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering stir in the breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring often, until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and set aside. Finely slice the anchovies.
  3. Also, make the dressing by blitzing all the ingredients (remember to peel the garlic clove!) in a mini chopper or small bullet blender (I love this one #ad for the task!) until smooth. Don’t be tempted to season with any extra salt, but do add more black pepper if desired.
  4. To assemble, arrange the charred broccoli on a serving dish and drizzle over the dressing. Top with the sliced anchovies, followed by a copious amount of finely, freshly grated parmesan (I find my microplane #ad is best for this task) and the breadcrumbs, with the charred lemon half on the side. Serve immediately.


I like to use Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise #ad for the extra zingy but any other plain mayonnaise can be substituted. Otherwise I usually have Hellman’s Light in the fridge.