If you’re like me, then you might have a love/hate relationship with broccoli. On one hand, broccoli is the best, ever. No questions asked. It is packed with flavor and nutrients, goes great with a variety of dishes, and looks like a bunch of tiny little trees. Broccoli deserves a cute vegetable award for that one. On the other hand, until recently, I just haven’t had a clue what to do with broccoli stems. Some of you might be thinking, “um…eat them…” And If I wasn’t such a bat case about my meals, then I’d probably agree with you. But personally I think broccoli stems and broccoli’s little trees (is there a better word for this so I can sound more like an adult?) are way different in texture and consistency and therefore not always compatible in the same dishes.
Luckily, today I am bringing you eight delicious ways to use broccoli stems so they can stop being the bastard child of the produce section and you can get a little more creative in the kitchen. Now, I love broccoli stems and hopefully after trying some of these concoctions, I won’t be the only one! By the way, did you also know that broccoli stems are just as good for you as broccoli florets (I figured out what the big girl word is!)? They are loaded with potassium, vitamin A, and calcium. All the more inspiration to stop throwing them away…not that I ever did that…*grin*
1. Broccoli Stem Walnut Pesto: Is it just me or does this sound fabulous? I love pesto and adding broccoli stems to its flavor sounds like the best thing I’ve heard all day.
2. Baked Broccoli Chips: Broccoli stems are already delightfully crunchy, so this recipe just makes sense. I imagine these would be divine dipped into ranch! As a side note, after almost two years of living in Japan, I finally found ranch dressing in my local grocery store!! The double take I did upon seeing its name will go down in history books as the most dramatic double take of all time. Ranch. We meet again.
3. Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings/Gyoza: In Japan, dumplings are called gyoza, and they.are.amazing. I’d love to make my own vegetarian versions someday. In this recipe, just replace the carrots with broccoli stems. Voila! Gyoza also taste delicious if the bottom is lightly pan fried.
(Related: Looking for a healthy, delicious snack? Check out our recipe for Japanese Onigiri! So.damn.good.)
4. Spicy Stir-fried Broccoli Stems: I think this picture speaks for itself…don’t these look delicious? I bet they’d taste even better with pan-fried tofu.
5. Broccoli Cheddar Hushpuppies: I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a hushpuppy. But judging from this picture, I’d say they are probably fantastic. I also love the author’s idea to use Sriracha aioli…yum!
6. Sauteed Broccoli with Floret Vinaigrette: These look great and sound so healthy. Definitely a good side dish option.
7. Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar Soup: I’ve actually done some broccoli stem brainstorming in my own kitchen and have perfected the yummiest broccoli cheddar soup recipe that I shared awhile back…it is honestly my favorite food.
8. Parmesan Crusted Broccoli Grilled Cheese: This is something I invented just recently and it is totally delicious! The broccoli stems add a nice crunch to your grilled cheese, not to mention something that’s actually healthy (no offense, grilled cheese! I still love you!).
What do you do with your broccoli stems? Do they have pow-wows at the bottom of your trash can, or do you have other creative ways you’re utilizing them? Share your thoughts in the comments! :)
p.s. Need another healthy + delicious recipe? Check out our 5-Minute Spicy Tuna recipe…so much yum!