16 Types of Broccoli That Put a Twist on a Familiar Flavor
Author: Jen Worst | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Did you know that all of the types of broccoli are members of the mustard family, just like kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts?
This famous green plant got its start in the Mediterranean region during the reign of the Roman Empire. Though broccoli is a source of several vitamins and minerals, it didn’t gain popularity in the United States until after WWII.
While your local supermarket might not differentiate between them, there are lots of different kinds of broccoli out there that differ widely in appearance, shape, and taste.
16 Types of Broccoli
Below is a list of many different broccoli varieties to choose from when selecting the perfect crown of green goodness. You can also check out the broccoli substitutes, most of which come from the same vegetable family.
These varieties of broccoli is a sprouting variety that is probably the most popular broccoli variety around.
Growing and caring for Calabrese broccoli is a relatively simple process, and we have some tips on how to grow broccoli for you here. The veggies can complement a variety of different cuisines and dishes.
Calabrese broccoli got its name from the Italian region of Calibri, where the plant originated many centuries ago.
It is an old-fashioned variety of broccoli with bluish-green coloring on the head and lots of side shoots. Calabrese broccoli is usually grown in the spring or fall and is ready for harvest in about 60 to 90 days.
This type of hybrid variety broccoli is grown early to mid-season and can tolerate cold and hot climates. Arcadia broccoli has mild resistance to disease. You can harvest it as baby broccoli or fully matured crowns.
Arcadia broccoli boats large-sized domed heads and tightly clustered flowers atop its thick stalks. The tops are a purplish-green color when fully mature. When they are young, the florets have lance-shaped leaves.
This type of broccoli has a peppery, earthy flavor with a satisfyingly crisp texture plus thick and tasty florets and stems.
De Cicco Heirloom Broccoli
This Italian heirloom broccoli is a hardy plant that offers delicious, tender, blue-green heads. De Cicco broccoli is perfect for stir-fries, or you can freeze it for later use.
For home gardeners, you can count on lots of broccoli heads to grow after you cut the main head off and more side shoots develop.
The long, thin stems differ from many other different types of broccoli. Most De Cicco broccoli heads are small to medium-sized when fully grown.
Blue Wind Broccoli
If you are looking for large and tight beaded heads of broccoli, Blue Wind broccoli is the extra-early maturing broccoli plant of your dreams.
Blue Wind broccoli is impressively uniform and grows into plants that boast a unique, powdery blue color on its leaves.
The densely packed heads have study stems and plenty of viable side shoot production. These side shoots will ensure repeated harvests of Blue Wind florets all season long.
This prize broccoli variety has a mild, sweet taste and a very tender texture that the whole family will surely enjoy.
Though the name is most certainly politically incorrect, gypsy broccoli is known far and wide as an adaptable plant with a sturdy root system that grows in the summer and autumn.
The plants have uniform heads atop medium-sized stems. These plants tolerate high heat and humidity and have shown some resistance to downy mildew. It can thrive in many different environments, even when grown in subpar soils.
Gypsy broccoli has a sweet flavor and is very tender when cooked but is equally as delicious and crunchy when eaten raw.
This broccoli variety will sprout a large flower and lots of side shoots, so you will get plenty of harvests when growing Amadeus broccoli. Amadeus side shoots are usually larger than most open-pollinated broccoli.
Amadeus broccoli can withstand warmer temperatures and produces larger yields than other broccoli varieties. They are grown between September and March, though early sowing should occur indoors to avoid premature flowering.
This broccoli takes about two months to mature and produces bluish-green heads that provide a vibrant, delicious flavor.
These broccoli types thrive in northern areas that experience moderately warm summers. When they reach maturity, Diplomat broccoli grows medium-large heads of small, dense beads that are blue-green.
Diplomat broccoli has a bit of heat tolerance and boasts cleaner, longer stems which make it perfect for bunching. It takes about 75 days for Diplomat broccoli to mature and grow its signature semi-domed heads.
This broccoli variety also enjoys intermediate resistance to downy mildew and is a perfect choice for selling in fresh markets and roadside vegetable stands.
This is a hybrid variety of broccoli that produces uniform yields of abundant, sweet, bright green heads that are tightly domed and measure up to seven inches.
Fiesta broccoli tolerates both cold and hot temperatures and that means it’s a dependable, adaptable plant. This broccoli even boasts some resistance to common diseases that other broccoli varieties might succumb to.
Fiesta broccoli takes about six to ten days to germinate and 65 days to harvest. These dark green heads look great, and they are bursting with fresh veggie flavor too.
This broccoli variety is grown in the spring or summer and is a great organic hybrid. Belstar broccoli is a stress-tolerant plant that can adapt well and grow large, central heads along with plenty of side shoots.
The plant’s bluish-green florets have a mild, delicious flavor, and the plants themselves have wonderful disease resistance.
This broccoli variety is grown in the spring and summer and germinates very well in warm weather, though Belstar broccoli cannot handle extreme heat.
Express broccoli is known for its dark, blue-green heads that grow up to seven inches across. The side shoots are tasty and tender, and the plant produces tight florets with lots of flavor.
Better yet, Express broccoli’s heads grow well above their foliage for easy harvesting.
These uniform broccoli sprouts look great, taste great, and grow rather fast as their name indicates.
These types of broccoli are usually grown and harvested in the spring and summer months like other broccoli varieties.
There are lots of Chinese broccoli you can try, but perhaps one of the best Chinese varieties is Suiho broccoli. It is a hybrid of broccoli and types of kale that has crinkled leaves and tender, crispy stems just like traditional broccoli.
Suiho broccoli tastes great when roasted with olive oil or used in a stir-fry. It is a very resilient plant that is mostly grown during cold seasons.
Suiho can be found in Emerald Green or Noble Jade varieties and takes about 50 to 55 days to mature.
Suiho boats medium-sized leaves that are slightly wrinkled and bright green. Their stems are about ¾ of an inch thick, and they grow about 14 inches tall.
Happy Rich Broccoli
Another Chinese variety of broccoli, Happy Rich is grown in the summer and produces miniature baby broccoli with dark green florets and lots of fresh flavors.
Happy Rich broccoli also has sweet and tender stems so the whole plant can be used for cooking or just for enjoying as a raw snack. Like Suiho broccoli, happy Rich is a cross between traditional broccoli and kale.
This variety of hybrid broccoli requires about 50 days or so between planting and harvesting and has plenty of side shoots for prolonged broccoli production at home.
Santee broccoli is probably the most visually breathtaking variety of broccoli on this list.
This broccoli is harvested in the late fall and into the winter months.
Santee broccoli produces bright purple florets on top of tender, green stems. The purple florists turn green when they are cooked and have a distinctive, delicious flavor.
Santee broccoli has a rather long harvest period of about three to five weeks and requires several weeks of cold temperatures to ensure the florets will bud. They should not be grown in the summer as the florets turn bitter in the heat.
These varieties of broccoli is also known as Roman cauliflower, fractal broccoli, or just Romanesco.
Romanesco types of broccoli is a hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower to create a taste that’s both familiar and exotic.
It has a very bright green color that is almost chartreuse with spire-shaped florets. Romanesco broccoli florets are all very uniform in shape though their size may differ from plant to plant. The beads form a distinct spiral shape and a fractal pattern that looks like a geometric curve.
This type of broccoli has a mild, nutty flavor with lots of sweet notes and a unique texture, though it tastes more like broccoli than any types of cauliflower.
This hybrid mix between Chinese kale and broccoli boasts tasty stems and thrives in heavily alkaline soil that gives it a unique taste.
Apollo broccoli produces lots of tasty florets and will give you plenty of extra tender, sweet stalks that taste a little less bitter due to the plant's low level of fiber when compared to other different kinds of broccoli.
You’ve no doubt heard of broccolini before, or maybe you have heard it called baby broccoli instead. It’s a broccoli hybrid that produces thinner stems that have their delicious flavor so you can use the whole plant.
Broccolini was invented in Japan, but the majority of broccolini is now grown in Arizona and California as it’s a very popular vegetable in the United States.
Broccolini has looser crowns as opposed to tightly packed florets, and their crowns are more leaf-like as well. Broccolini makes for wonderfully tasteful and visually pleasing types of garnish.
Broccolini costs more than regular types of broccoli, but it’s also easier to prepare, and you get more vegetables for the cost since it's all edible.
Other Types of Broccoli
While we can't list, picture, and discuss every single one of the broccoli types, we can share a handful more for those that want a further exploration of the broccoli taste palette.
- Waltham 29 Broccoli
- Red Fire Broccoli
- Big Boy Broccoli
- Ryokuho / Green Jade Broccoli
- Burgundy Broccoli
- Crispy Blue Broccoli
- Sessantina Grossa Broccoli
- Blue Wonder Broccoli
- Macaratese Broccoli
- White Sprouting Broccoli
- Destiny Broccoli
- Atlantis Broccoli
- Orbit Broccoli
- Spigariello Liscia Broccoli
- Burbank Broccoli
- Quarantina Broccoli
- Veronica Broccoli
- Novantina Broccoli
- Aspabroc Broccoli
Take this as a starting point to deepen your adventure into the different varieties of broccoli.
Types of Broccoli to Explore the Full Taste Palette
When it comes down to it, broccoli is just a big, edible flower. Just like any other flower, there are lots of different varieties and even hybrid plants that mix qualities from different broccoli types around the world.
Broccoli has been around for thousands of years, but it wasn't until the 1940s that its popularity began to explode in America. Since then, different types of broccoli have been developed and cultivated going far beyond the traditional green florets you might be used to.