Roasted Cauliflower or Broccoli Leaves. Nutritious and Delicious


Do you know what a broccoli or cauliflower plant looks like before the head arrives at your farmers’ market or store?  Did you know that this plant has the most beautiful leaves?  And the best yet, they are edible and nutritious too? According to Nutrition Data, raw broccoli leaves are a

good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.

Whenever someone comes to visit who has not seen my ever expansive (growing with abandon) garden,  When it comes to my garden, I am a proud cock rooster who struts around the garden.  I often  stiff arm people who come to visit to have a look see at the Emerald City.  Everyone indulges me (and most could careless) and take the trip outside or views the garden from one of my window.

What struck me upon one of my daily admiring trip, was my brother in law’s question when  I was showing him  the blueberry patch intermingled with broccoli and cauliflower  this year.  As I pointed out one of the broccoli plants  that had just died due to the freezing weather, he exclaimed with amazement the following:

“Do they really get this big in one season?”

Why did his comment strike me?  So, many people have no idea how their food is grown or how does it get to the grocery store.   They don’t get to see the pleasures of seeing those beautiful leaves or the yellow flowers that appear when the broccoli starts to bolt.  Nor, do they see after you cut the main broccoli that it continues to create little broccoli heads throughout the season.

When have you ever seen in a grocery store a broccoli or cauliflower with most of its leaves attached?  Do you ever see broccoli with or without leaves in your farmers market?

So, what about those amazing leaves?  What do you do with them?  I ate part of one raw which was not the brightest idea in the world.    I guess since I am still alive and can still do stupid things, then they can’t be poisonous.  Plus, they tasted pretty good raw.

Just to note, not all leaves can be eaten.  Tomato plant leaves are poisonous.  So, don’t be stupid like me and check first before you take a bite out of any plant.

I have this insane thought that most parts of a plant can be used for something.  So when I don’t know something, I use twitter and ask my gardening followers.   Some people told me they treat the leaves like kale and steam them. Or treat them like how you would cook any greens.

Finally, after searching the internet trying different search terms, I found a roasted cauliflower recipe by Mei Li at Eat. Drink. Better.

Roasted Cauliflower and Leaves

We adapted it as follows:


Use any leaves:  Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale or any green:

Soy Sauce to drizzle over the leaves.  (We use organic Tamari, wheat free sauce low sodium instead of Soy Sauce)


Four cloves of garlic.

Sesame Oil or Olive Oil (Mei Lei uses both.)  We only used the Sesame  Oil.

Salt and Pepper to taste

What To Do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 °C/400°F .  (I usually cook on convection since I find that food cooks better.  If  you have a convection oven, adjust the temperature accordingly.)
  2. Wash the cauliflower and leaves and cut into bite-size pieces, and  then discarding the toughest outer layer of leaves. (Preferably into the composter!)
  3. Smash a few cloves of garlic and chop them coarsely. Chop some scallions as well.   The whole scallion, not just the white part.  (I cheat and use already cut up garlic which is 2 cloves per teaspoon.)  Note, you can omit the scallions if you don’t want them or don’t have them.  This dish tasted the same to me with or without them.
  4. Toss the garlic, onions, and cauliflower with a generous splash of soy sauce and oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Note, we omit the salt.   (I used a Pyrex  9 by 11 pan and just filled it up with the leaves.  If you have to many leaves make another batch.)
  5. Place the uncovered roasting pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the green leaves are crisp and both the florets and the thicker stalks are tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.  (Change the time if you are using a convection oven.

This recipe is amazing.  I have used both broccoli and cauliflower leaves.  I bet you can just use the leaves by themselves and just cut back on the amount of garlic if you want.  I love garlic so the more the merrier. Don’t worry if you overcook the leaves.  I love them crispy.  It is so simply and so quick.

Here are some other recipes that I found:

Garlicky Rolled Broccoli Leaves/Collard Leaves from TaylOrganic CSA

Beef and Broccoli Leaves from Home-Cooking Rocks

Tubetti Rigate with Long Cooked Broccoli Leaves & Pecorino from Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).

Cauliflower Leaves Three Ways (Indian style fare) by Jugalbundi.

Cooking Cauliflower Leaves Photo Essay by Mariquita Farms (stir fry.)

Cauliflower Leaf and Stalk Soup with Parcels of Arzua Ullola Cheese and Fresh Oregano by Samurai Viking Cuisine

Baked Kale Chips by Allrecipes.  (Tried this with sunflower leaves.  Better to use Kale or other Greens.  Sunflower leaves were tough.)

Next time you are at the farmers market, ask them to give you the greens when you purchase a cauliflower or broccoli.  I guarantee you will be thanking me later.

Do you have any recipes to add?  Link away.

Photo attribution: BY 2.0

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  1. 5


    Much of the nutrition of these leaves: Thiamin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate will break down during roasting. The protein, magnesium etc. will still be there, after roasting. Look for Thiamin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate in another source, or simply eat the young leaves, which have less cellulose than the old leaves raw or steaming briefly by tossing them in a pan with a few tablespoons of water. You can grow these young plants, I suppose, just for the leaves.

    • 6



      I have eaten the young leaves of kale and amaranth without roasting. Which young leaves do you enjoy?

      It is funny that you say some people grow them for their leaves. I have heard people growing turnip and beets just for their leaves!

      I would assume, but correct me if I am wrong, if you dehydrate the leaves to make chips then the vitamins would still remain.
      Anna@GreenTalk´s last blog post ..Greener Holidays: Sage Advice to Last You Through Gift Returns

      • 7



        I stopped drying food when I learned that the B and C vitamins and other labile nutrients will oxidize during the drying, which means they are not B and C vitamins any longer. All you get from drying food is protein, minerals, and starch, which you can get from lots of easier places, like grain and potatoes.

        I like Kale best, but it balks at low light, so winter cloudy days inside don’t push kale along. Beets and turnips greens, I learned, were eaten, because gardeners have to thin both to get either beets or turnips. Beet seeds have several embryos, so they grow on top of each other. I suppose turnip seeds, being small are planted too thick, so they need thinning.

        We need to find the plants that grow like wheat, but taste like spinach or cucumbers, I suppose.


        • 8


          If you dehydrate them on below 110 degrees do they lose their vitamin B and C?

          Amaranth takes like spinach but I don’t know how they would do in low light. Will you keep us updated if you find plants that thieve in low light?

          • 9


            When I find what works, I will put it here, now that I have found folks who want to eat foods that taste good and are good for you and are easy to grow. Wheat has two of the characteristics. And is the champion for low light. I learned about wheat in a documentary on Netflix. That is why I tested it. The documentary shows how wheat puts up with drought and other problems. I just guessed that wheat would be easy to grow indoors.

  2. 11


    Thanks for this! We grow cauliflower and there’s always more leaves than anything and now they won’t go to waste! I tried this recipe but with just olive oil, tons of garlic, cayenne and a little montreal steak seasoning (I’m vegan, but dang that seasoning is good). It was fabulous! Thanks again!

  3. 13

    gary harden says

    Neat cus I was just saying I tried a bite out of the broccoli and cauliflower leafs out in our garden and they tasted delicious… what a waste not to use them. Now that I have seen the above website about eating them; I will too!

  4. 14

    Richard Eckert says

    I boiled them and threw in a yellow wax pepper and ate ‘ym. Took about 10 minutes. They were bitter but I have gout and need the greens.

  5. 15

    Amber says

    baked some tofu in teriyako sauce, and added it to the broccoli before i put it in the oven, and it turned out great!
    thanks for the recipe :)

  6. 17

    Paola says

    Hi, looking for ideas and found this. I recently learned that all parts of brassicae (cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, oriental greens and more) are edible, that includes stalk and flowers, and a soup of broccoli stalks and potatoes can be lovely! On the other hand when it comes to solanacee (tomatoes, aubergines, peppers, potatoes) only one part is edible, the rest is toxic to poisonous – and really be careful, the fruit of the potato is highly poisonous (it looks like a small green tomato, usually you’ll see it only if you leave the plant flower and go to seed.

    • 18


      Paola, thanks for the comment. I read the other day that some people are using tomato leaves in their sauce. I always thought they were poisonous but some say they aren’t that toxic. What do you think? Anna


  1. […] Have you tried the ever-so-trendy kale chip? Let’s start something new, we will call it the Broccoli leaf  chip! Broccoli leaves will crisp up the same way as kale so try this chip recipe. If  you are not up for the revolutionary broccoli leaf chip “the blc” I suggest roasting the leaves. […]

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