What is Romanesco

You may have seen this interesting-looking vegetable, read its name, and wondered, “What in the world is romanesco?” A relative of broccoli and cauliflower, romanesco’s bright green hue (or sometimes bright purple) might even lure in vegetable-resistant eaters. And they won’t be disappointed! This member of the brassica family has a sweeter, mild flavor, and is perfect to roast, add to soups or stews, or eat raw with a big batch of hummus.

What is romanesco?

  • It may look like a hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower, but romanesco is actually more of a cousin. It’s a type of brassica that’s been bred to get its eccentric shape and nutty taste.
  • When you eat romanesco, you’re actually eating a flower. Romanesco is harvested before the head has a chance to bloom – lucky for you, since the fully bloomed flowers are bitter in taste, though a beautiful, vibrant yellow.

What does romanesco taste like?

  • Though it looks more like cauliflower in texture and form, romanesco’s taste is more like broccoli – mild and nutty with sweeter notes that lend well to savory pairings. An easy way to use it is to roast with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

What are the health benefits of romanesco?

  • Like other members of the brassica family, romanesco is high in vitamin K, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and carotenoids, supporting your body’s tissue repair, blood clotting, system regularity, and more.

How should I eat it?

  • When cooking romanesco, simpler is better to let its true flavor shine!
    • Peel the leaves off the bottom of the romanesco, rinse it, and chop the florets into bite-sized pieces. Steam and serve with your favorite pasta dish or roast in the oven at 425F for 25 to 30 min, drizzled with olive oil and salt, and finished with lemon, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes.
    • Serve on a platter with your favorite crudités alongside hummus, guacamole, or our dairy-free cucumber dill tzatziki!
    • Include chopped florets in a stir fry and cook until tender.

Explore our recipes or look at our list of meatless recipes for inspiration and ways to use lots of in-season vegetables.