You've Been Chopping Broccoli Wrong All This Time

Learn how to cut broccoli with this clever veggie-prep hack from Food Network Kitchen.

Updated on October 20, 2023

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Pieces of fresh raw brocoli on a wooden cutting board as part of vegan healthy eating, directly above or flat lay top view shot

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How to cut broccoli into florets on a wood cutting board

Photo by: Victor Yee/Getty Images

Victor Yee/Getty Images

Chopping vegetables can be tedious. But, while watching Raquel Pelzel’s on-demand class for Umami-Roasted Vegetables on the Food Network Kitchen app, I realized I’ve been doing it all wrong. I'd been hacking at my broccoli like I wield a hatchet, and missing the fun of "flipping" the process to make my vegetables work for me.

Pelzel makes a ton of vegetables and creates little magic moments out of them as she cooks, including a method of cutting carrots that makes them into a shape she sees as owl faces, and roasting radishes until they look like rose petals — watch her class to see what I mean.

Umami-Roasted Vegetables, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Umami-Roasted Vegetables, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Lauren Volo

Lauren Volo

When she gets to the broccoli and cauliflower, however, the real magic happens. After offering advice on how the crown of your broccoli should look — tight and firm, without any yellow — she teaches us how to cut broccoli like a pro.

How to Cut Broccoli

Turn the broccoli crown-side-down on a cutting board and whittle it down into florets, rotating as you go, with a sharp knife.

"I like to trim it upside-down," Pelzel explains, like a topiary artist working with a box hedge. The upside-down spinning motion means there’s always something new to chop, so she sets the florets free in one fluid motion, cutting, until she’s left with just a center bit of roastable stalk, which she likens to a disco ball. From there, she chips down the florets until they’re all similarly sized and transfers them to her bowl.

When it comes to cauliflower, she first cuts away the leaves, then cuts around the core, pulling the florets off to break up with her knife or by hand. "It kind of depends on how your cauliflower is speaking to you," she says. The method keeps gravity on your side and makes the otherwise-unwieldy process feel easy.

In this same episode, Pelzel also offers pragmatic tips for nights when you don’t have time — such as buying bins of chopped vegetables before glazing them. But with this speedy hack, chopping veg is all upside.

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