Wait! Don’t throw away those stems and leaves
By Danielle Rehfeld
How often do you buy a head of broccoli, trim off the florets and toss the stems? How about the leaves from a bunch of beets or kohlrabi? If your answer is all the time, read on!
As a challenge for myself to gain the most out of produce, I’ve begun to look at all of the things I can do to one vegetable to stretch my ingredients and my dollar. Take a pint of Brussels sprouts, for example. I start by peeling off one to two outer leaves and setting them aside to put in a salad. Then I shave the sprouts halfway, starting at the head on a Japanese mandoline. The shaves get combined with nuts, crumbled cheese and a red wine vinaigrette for a salad.
With the remaining half, I use a knife to make two thinly sliced cuts off the edges. Those get quickly sautéed in butter and tossed with pasta and parmesan cheese. Then the last bits, the knobby stems, can be roasted in the oven and served over brown rice with spicy Thai Sambal Olek, a tangy, red hot condiment sold in most grocery and specialty food stores near the Sriracha.
That’s four different uses from a single pint of Brussels sprouts! Two other veggies I love to utilize in different ways are the aforementioned kohlrabi and broccoli. If you buy a bunch of kohlrabi and a head of broccoli, you can use all parts of both in two separate dishes. The precious but overlooked broccoli stems and the earthy green leaves of kohlrabi are totally usable and rich in minerals and nutrients.
The best part is you can make the two dishes simultaneously or have the slaw and prep the stir-fry ingredients up to four days ahead. Enjoy! From my kitchen to yours.
Quick Broccoli Stem and Kohlrabi Slaw
1 head of broccoli, stems only, florets reserved
1 bunch kohlrabi, 2-3 bulbs, peeled and cut in half
¼ cup toasted pine nuts*
1 cup parsley leaves
Freshly squeeze lemon juice
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt, to taste
Using a mandoline, slice the peeled kohlrabi and broccoli into thin slices. Just before serving, toss with parsley, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and serve.
Quick Kohlrabi and Broccoli Stirfry
1 tsp. canola oil