Mirror mirror on the wall who has the crunchiest broccoli of them all… I do! This recipe for fried purple broccoli is so delightfully crunchy and savoury. I’m absolutely in love with this dish – it’s like a broccoli version of a breaded chicken parmigiana.
I love purple sprouting broccoli. It’s perhaps my favourite broccoli. Not only does it look absolutely gorgeous but I find it has the best taste as well. The florets are nice and chunky and have a wonderful fresh bite.
Moreover purple broccoli is one of the true saviour of the early spring harvest. The broccoli grows over winter to produce stalks for sale at just about the time when everything else is yet to grow or has dwindled in supply. Purple sprouting broccoli provides an awesome addition to the seasonal plate in an albeit sparse time in the seasonal calendar.
This recipe for crispy broccoli with a rich marinara sauce is an amazing way to celebrate the seasonal superstar. This dish is designed to be enjoyed on its own, but I love throwing in a pasta base to enjoy with the tomato and broccoli. Slurping smooth spaghetti whilst crunching down on the battered broccoli is other worldly – I advise you give it a go.
How to make a super crunchy broccoli batter without eggs
The secret to this crunchy broccoli you ask? I’ve devised a completely vegan, no weird egg replacer breadcrumb batter. It’s quite simply magic. The “glue” is devised of a cornflour slurry that makes an extra thick and gloopy base that wraps the broccoli so that quite anything will stick to it.
This base batter is almost like an extra thick pancake batter, but it changes completely when it’s fried. It soaks up the cooking oil and turns wonderfully crispy and also airy. The perfect combo!
Now I’ve devised this batter base for this recipe but it works perfectly great with other vegetables that you need to make a crunchy batter for. I’ve used the same base cornflour slurry my recipe for sweet and sour cauliflower.
How to fry broccoli (or just about any vegetable)
My preferred method for frying just about any veggie is to shallow fry. I find deep frying too much of a faff. Shallow frying is much more controlled and allows you to keep an eye on the progress of your veggies without worrying too much about being burnt.
My technique is as follows:
- Fill the pan to about half the thickness of the vegetable in question.
- Heat the oil over a medium-high heat. You can test if the oil is hot enough by throwing in a stale breadcrust. When the bread beings to splutter and whizz about the oil, you’re good to go.
- Add in the vegetable you’re looking to fry. But not too much to crowd the pan. Adding to much will lower the heat of the oil and give you a less crispy result.
- Fry the vegetable for about 3-5 mins on one side until it’s golden brown. The key is to consistently baste the vegetable with the hot oil from above. This allows the vegetable to get really crispy.
- Turn and repeat with the other side
- Remove and place on a wire rack. This is super important – you want to get away from just sitting in the oil. Otherwise it’ll just go soggy.
- Season with a generous helping of salt and enjoyyyy
When to eat purple sprouting broccoli
Traditionally the British purple sprouting broccoli season spans from late February to the beginning of May. You can substitute tenderstem when the PSB season runs out. You can read more about this fantastic vegetable in my ingredient roundup.
Here’s a few of my favourite purple sprouting broccoli recipes on the site:
- Quick Veggie Ramen With Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Sticky Black Beans And Purple Sprouting Broccoli Noodles
- Blood Orange and Sprouting Broccoli Black Beans
This meal is around 90% less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around 2.65 KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 21.92 KM in a modern car.
- 1 Batch Homemade Marinara Sauce (about 2 (400ml) jars worth if you are using store-bought variety)
- 300 g Purple Sprouting Broccoli (tenderstem broccoli will also work)
- 200 g Breadcrumbs
- 15 g Fresh Parsley (finely chopped)
- vegetable oil for frying (about 200ml's worth depending on the size of your pan)
Corn Flour Slurry
- 1 Cup Plain Flour (around 120g)
- 1 Cup Corn Flour (around 100g)
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- If you are making your marinara from scratch, prepare it now. Follow the recipe here and leave your sauce simmering away whilst you prep the broccoli.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the cornflour slurry until thick and gloopy.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a large shallow tray.
- Take a broccoli floret and dunk into the cornflour slurry. Coat the piece entirely before removing and placing into the breadcrumbs. Completely cover the floret in the breadcrumbs. Remove and place the breaded floret onto a clean baking tray. Repeat this process until all of your broccoli pieces are coated.
- Heat a large saute pan or saucepan over a medium high heat. Pour in enough vegetable oil to coat about 1/2 of the thickness of an individual broccoli floret. Toss a leftover breadcrumb into the oil and wait for it to start violently spit and bubble. This is when your oil is hot enough to begin frying.
- Place about 3-4 florets (don't try and crowd your pan) into the hot oil and fry for 5 minutes until golden and crispy on the underside. (Whilst cooking occasionally baste the florets with hot oil. This will help them get super crunchy.) Turn and repeat on the opposite side until evenly golden brown. Remove the finished florets and place onto a wire rack. Season immediately with a generous helping of salt. Repeat the frying process until all of your florets are cooked.
- When your broccoli and sauce are both cooked. Combine them onto the plate you wish to serve them on. Pour a thick bed of the tomato sauce and then arrange the crispy florets on top. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with the chopped fresh parsley.
- You can serve this dish just on its own as a side to accompany other dishes or mix the marinara with some spaghetti for a rich and delicious pasta dish.