We Made Kristen Bell’s Secret-Ingredient Cheesy Broccoli. Here’s What We Thought.

Actor Kristen Bell has a foolproof solution for getting her kids to eat broccoli. But guess what? It works for adults, too. Nom nom nom.

Adorable, hilarious, and a clever cook—it’s no wonder Kristen Bell’s earned her spot in The Good Place. Just kidding, actually, since “the good place” on the show isn’t quite as good as it sounds. But all kidding aside, Kristen’s broccoli is as good as it sounds.

Actually, it’s better, because Kristen came up with this broccoli makeover to make her kids want to chow down on this super-healthy green veggie (which is even healthier if you chop it up this way). Thing is, it’s not just for kids. While my kids are away at college, I’m trying broccoli a la Bell.

Kristen Bell’s broccoli recipe

It’s pretty simple. Maybe not even a recipe, but more of a method of making broccoli awesome.

Step 1: Chop and steam your broccoli.

Step 2: Sprinkle with crushed pretzels and shredded Parmesan cheese. (If you’re vegan, skip the Parm and add a spritz of lemon and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast instead.)

“Game over. Everyone will eat it. It’s delicious,” she explained on Instagram. Well, it sounded easy and tasty, so I had to try it.

Initial thoughts

So. Easy. Those were my initial thoughts, and it wasn’t just because I’d decided to use frozen broccoli, which is such a no-brainer for simple, healthy cooking.

While that steamed away, I crushed a handful of pretzels into smithereens. Isn’t that always fun? Just crush them in a food processor or with a rolling pin. I eat gluten-free, so I opted for Snyder’s gluten-free pretzel sticks which are so, so good.

broccoli with parmesan and pretzelsTaste of Home / Lauren Cahn

The verdict

Having microwaved the broccoli and smashed the pretzels, there was just one more thing to do: Mix them together and add Parmesan. I did this, and I kid you not, it took less than 30 seconds. And since the broccoli was hot, the cheese melted a bit, so I didn’t even need to take the extra step of heating up the finished product. I just took a bite, and it was like whoa: Kristen Bell’s broccoli with smashed pretzels and Parm is absolutely smashing—pun intended!

I’ll admit, I’d been a bit skeptical. How could pretzels and Parm shake up steamed broccoli? Well, they did. Somehow the crunchy, salty pretzel bits married perfectly with the tart and nutty Parmesan cheese, turning the otherwise perfectly serviceable (if a bit boring) steamed broccoli into a crunchy, cheesy treat.

Next up: Here’s what happened when we tried Joanna Gaines’ famous biscuit recipe.

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Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.