I don’t know where the idea of only eating the heads of broccoli came from. I actually much prefer the stems to the florets. They’re tender and sweet and really quite versatile. If you’ve been throwing away your stalks or have only been buying the florets then this post is for you. Here are 6 ideas for how to use broccoli stalks instead of letting them go to waste.
If you’re new to eating the whole broccoli here are a few notes on how to use broccoli stalks in the right dishes:
- Every once in a while the stalks can be really tough. It’s not very often but I had some the other week that just wouldn’t soften, even after I sautéed it for the better part of 10 minutes.
- The best way to tell if this is the case with yours is to cut the end off your stalk, then cut a second round. If your knife has a really hard time getting through the second round (which shouldn’t be as dried out as the very bottom piece), it’s probably best used in a stock or juiced. You can also taste a piece raw. It might be a tad more fibrous than you’re used to but if you can pretty easily chew it, use it any way you’d like.
- You can also peel the outer layer of your broccoli if you want to get rid of any toughness. I don’t really find this necessary but if you’re used to eating just the very top part of the stalk near the florets than the texture will be a little different. So I’d say, if peeling the outside gets you to eat it, rather than toss it, take the extra step.
- Oh, one more thing, broccoli with the stems attached tends to be cheaper than just buying the crowns or the already packaged florets. More by paying less, score!
So here we go, 6 ideas for how to use broccoli stalks:
I love roasting my broccoli stalks. They get super sweet and soft. I use them in my salads during the week, dip them in hummus or eat them alone. Mix some up with quinoa and tofu for a simple, healthy meal.
- In stock or soups
As mentioned above, if your broccoli stalks are too tough to eat, which has honestly only happened to me once or twice in many, many years, simply throw them in your homemade veggie scrap stock.
I also found this recipe for broccoli stalk soup which looks delicious. If you’re going to blend your soup anyway you’ll never know you didn’t use the florets. You’ll still get a mild broccoli taste with a smoother texture than if you used the florets.
I love to juice my broccoli stalks. It does have a strong flavor so adding sweetness and acid is key to a delicious juice. Apples, ginger and lemons are my go-to’s with broccoli.
I know this is pretty basic but just cut them into rounds and steam them. I eat steamed vegetables as a side dish almost every night and broccoli stalks are perfect to add to the mix.
I sauté it for vegetable stir fry or burrito/taco salad filling. Last night I sautéed carrots, zucchini, onion and broccoli stalks then served with refried beans and tofu in a tortilla. It was the perfect way to use up my stalks and Michael didn’t even notice they were in there.
I do recommend peeling the outer layer off if you’re going to eat raw broccoli stalks (save the peels for stock). Once you peel the outside, you can either grate your stalks into a slaw, cut it into rounds and use in your favorite dip or shave the stalks into ribbons and toss with a vinaigrette.
As you can see, there’s no reason to throw the stalks away. Reduce food waste by eating the whole vegetable!
Do you have any other ideas for how to use broccoli stalks that I missed?