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.
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:
- 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.)
- Wash the cauliflower and leaves and cut into bite-size pieces, and then discarding the toughest outer layer of leaves. (Preferably into the composter!)
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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- 6 Bean Leaves Recipes: Bean Leaf Pesto +More
- Dehydrating Kale and Greens to Preserve Your Harvest.
- Experimenting with Eating Sunflower Leaves
- Celery Leaves: Cook or Discard them?