Simple, Delicious Uses for Broccoli Stems

posted by Andrea | 07/28/2011

Are you one of THOSE people who only cut off the flowery tops of broccoli and then toss the rest?

Growing up, we were NEVER allowed to waste food — especially if it came from my dad’s garden. And even though I would agree that broccoli florets are more appealing, there is really no reason why you should waste the stems…

Here are a few simple uses for broccoli stems::

1. Cut them up and eat them with the rest of your broccoli. After all, that’s how they come if you buy frozen broccoli. If the stems seem a bit tough, you can peel off the outer “skin” with a vegetable peeler and your family will never notice.

2. Cut your broccoli florrets leaving long stems — it will look really fancy!

3. Make broco-slaw by shredding the stems. I make this recipe — but instead of 4 c. broccoli florets, I use 2 c. florets and 2 c. shredded broccoli stems.

4. Blanch chopped stems in boiling water for 5 minutes and then freeze them. You can use them for broccoli-cheese soup this fall. Check out this handy freezing chart for helpful tips on how to freeze a variety of vegetables.

5. Compost them — if you don’t want to try any of my ideas, then at least toss them into a compost bin so they aren’t a total waste!

Broccoli season is just weeks away {at least it is here in Michigan} and I personally can’t wait to start eatting lots and lots of this delicious vegetable… stems and all!

Do you have any creative ways to utilize broccoli stems?

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  1. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles


    Seriously? The stems are inferior? They are the coveted pieces in this house! 🙂


  2. Amanda


    Love your ideas! I must say, I take broccoli stems, the tops of peppers, carrot tops, pea pods, etc. ANY thing that you would normally throw in the garbage as far as veggie parts go, and I pop them in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I put al of the “parts” in a gallon of water in a stock pot and make some darn yummy veggie stock! 🙂 Enjoy!


    Andrea Reply:

    Oh that IS a great idea! I usually make all my own vegetable and chicken stock {I actually have several containers in the freezer right now!} but I’ve never used broccoli stems for that before.

    Thanks for the tip 🙂


  3. Tammy


    I love the idea of using a peeler on them, never thought of that! I almost always buy it frozen so the main stalk is gone by then. When I buy the pieces that come with lots of stalk, I just eat it right along with the florets. Do you have a broccoli cheese soup recipe you love? I love it at TGIFridays but have never found one to make at home that is that creamy.


  4. Milehimama


    Peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler to make flat strips. Use in stir fries or asian themed salads, they are an excellent stand in for bamboo shoots!


    Andrea Reply:

    stir fry — what a great idea. We love stir fry, but I always just cut the broccoli into chunks. Your “flat strips” sound much fancier! Thanks for the great idea 🙂


  5. Laura


    I read this somewhere the other day (a NY Times article, I think), and saved it for when broccoli is in season!

    “A much better way to treat broccoli stalks: cut off and discard the tough outer peel, shave what remains into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, scatter with lemon zest and shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese: all the pleasure of raw artichoke salad with half the work.”