What Is Romanesco? Health Benefits, Recipes, How to Cook It, and More

Vegetables. Detail of the romanesque cauliflower.

What Is Romanesco? Health Benefits, Recipes, How to Cook It, and More

Throughout the year, you’ll see different fruits and vegetables in your local grocery store or farmer’s market, depending on what’s in season. One of the unusual vegetables you might see at certain times of year is romanesco. Although it almost sounds like a type of cheese, it’s actually a vegetable related to cauliflower and broccoli. 

Romanesco is a bright green vegetable that looks like a mix between cauliflower and broccoli. It’s not surprising since it’s a relative of both of these vegetables. Romanesco is a part of the Brassica family, or the cruciferous vegetables and the flavor is described as nutty and earthy.

If you’ve wondered about the benefits of romanesco or are curious about what it tastes like, keep reading to find out more about this vegetable as well as some of the best ways to eat it.

Romanesco broccoli head on a dark stone surface, cabbage, close up, fibonacci sequence, for those who love mathematics
Romanesco has an interesting appearance that is similar to cauliflower and broccoli.


What Is Romanesco?

Upon first glance, you might notice the relation between romanesco and broccoli or cauliflower. Despite the relation to these two vegetables, it’s brighter green than broccoli and has more points than cauliflower. Romanesco is sometimes known as romanesco broccoli, although it’s not actually a type of broccoli.

Romanesco is a part of the Brassica family, also known as the cruciferous vegetables. This group of plants also includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Even though it has a pretty strange appearance, romanesco can be a delicious part of a variety of meals.

If you find romanesco in the store, choose one that’s bright in color without any spots of brown. Although it might look strange, romanesco can actually be a tasty vegetable with numerous health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of eating this green and oddly shaped vegetable.

Benefits of Eating Romanesco

Even though it might look like it comes from an alien planet, romanesco is a highly nutritious vegetable. Here are some of the benefits of eating this green and nutty vegetable:

  • High in vitamins and nutrients
    Like most vegetables, especially those labeled cruciferous vegetables, romanesco has many nutrients such as vitamins C, B, and K. It also has high amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and other necessary nutrients.
  • It’s good for your immune system
    In addition to the vitamins, it also has beta-carotene that can boost your immune system. Beta-carotene is also good for your skin and your eye health.
  • Great for your digestive health
    Romanesco is also good for your digestive health since it’s high in fiber. The amount of fiber can help prevent digestive issues such as constipation. One cup has about 4 grams of fiber, which can be about 16% of your daily value.

Most vegetables have many health benefits although the amount of nutrients can vary. If you’re a fan of romanesco or just want to try something new, consider all of the health benefits of adding this vegetable to your diet.

How To Cook Romanesco

Despite their differences, cooking romanesco is remarkably similar to cooking broccoli or cauliflower. While it can be eaten raw, you can also cook it by steaming it, roasting it, or sautéing it. You can even cook it in the air-fryer.

You can add this vegetable to a variety of recipes from stir-fries to pasta. While it is in the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, it has a unique flavor.

There’s no limit to the ways you can enjoy this vegetable and it can add additional nutrients to any meal. If you have a recipe that calls for broccoli or cauliflower, you can substitute romanesco instead.

Baked vegetable quiche with romanesco broccoli, eggs and cheese close-up in a plate on the table. Horizontal top view from above
You can add this vegetable to many recipes, including quiche.

©AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock.com

Ways To Use Romanesco

You can cook romanesco much like any other similar vegetable. Like cauliflower and broccoli, keep in mind that it can get mushy if you overcook it. There are many ways to add it as a side dish or even include it in the main part of your meal.

One of the simplest and healthiest ways to enjoy romanesco is to roast it in the oven. You can sprinkle it with parmesan, drizzle it in garlic and olive oil, or add any combination of seasonings depending on your preferences. Here are the basic steps for roasting it in the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
  • Place the prepared vegetable on a baking sheet and drizzle it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until it reaches the desired tenderness
  • Sprinkle any additional seasonings, cheese, or other toppings once it’s done roasting

Like many vegetables, you can add your own spices or seasonings to match your preferred tastes. While you can make romanesco in a variety of ways, it can also be a delicious part of any recipe. You can add this vegetable to:

  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Quiche
  • Sheet pan meals
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Tacos

No matter what kind of meal you have in mind, there are plenty of ways to incorporate this healthy vegetable into a simple or elaborate meal.

Romanesco Recipes

If you’re interested in trying romanesco, check out some simple recipes below:

Roasted Romanesco with Parmesan

Roasting romanesco is one of the simplest and tastiest ways to make it. You can add parmesan like this recipe, or make it your own by adding a different kind of cheese or different seasonings.

Creamy Romanesco Pasta

Pasta is another way to include romanesco in your meals. This pasta is tasty and includes a healthy dose of romanesco, adding additional nutrients to a simple meal.

Roasted Romanesco Salad

For an extra healthy meal, you can also use this vegetable to create a salad with different greens, vegetables, and a simple vinaigrette. This tasty and healthy salad is great for lunch or even a quick snack in between meals any day of the week.

Romanesco vs. Broccoli and Cauliflower

One of the main things you’ll notice about this vegetable is its striking resemblance to cauliflower and broccoli. In fact, one of the common names for it is romanesco broccoli, although it isn’t technically a type of broccoli.

When you compare romanesco to broccoli or cauliflower, the first difference you’ll notice is its appearance. Although the shape is closer to cauliflower, the color is closer to broccoli. It also tastes more like broccoli with a distinct earthy and nutty flavor. However, you’ll notice a slight sweetness that makes it stand out from other similar vegetables.

Final Thoughts

Romanesco isn’t as common as broccoli or cauliflower, however, it’s a great vegetable to try when it’s in season. Like the other cruciferous vegetables, there are many health benefits to eating this bright green vegetable.

Romanesco can be steamed, roasted, or even added to your favorite pasta recipe. No matter how you choose to eat it, you’ll enjoy the unique, nutty flavor of romanesco.

Recipe Card

Looking for a delicious recipe with romanesco? We have just the recipe for you! Try this healthy roasted romanesco. Enjoy!

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Organic Green Baked Romanesco with Cheese and Pepper

Roasted Romanesco with Garlic Parmesan Crust

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


Units Scale
  • 1 head of romanesco, washed and cut into florets
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss romanesco florets with olive oil, minced garlic, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, dried thyme, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.
  3. Spread the coated romanesco in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the romanesco is tender and the crust is golden brown, tossing halfway through for even cooking.
  5. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh parsley.


  • Calories: 180
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 280 mg
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Cholesterol: 5 mg
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