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6 Brilliant Ways to Cook with Broccoli Leaves

  • Bob Stefko

    Why Broccoli Leaves?

    Chefs and farmers have been eating broccoli leaves for years—and for good reason. "One serving supplies your daily dose of vitamin C, plenty of antioxidants like vitamins A and K, and the same amount of calcium as a glass of milk," says Ashley Koff, RD, a nutritionist in Washington, DC. This green is affordable at about $1 a bunch. Seek it out at the farmers' market, or look for BroccoLeaf, an organic version, at the supermarket. Broccoli leaves are versatile and yummy, with a milder flavor than the florets. The leaves taste great in a smoothie; roasted with oil, salt and pepper to make chips; or tossed in a salad. 

  • Recipe: Andrew Hunter; Image: Foxy Produce

    BroccoLeaf Stir-Fry

    Makes: 2 to 4 servings

    Ingredients

    1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

    1/4 cup naturally brewed, lower-sodium soy sauce

    1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    1 tablespoon cornstarch

    1 tablespoon water

    1 bunch BroccoLeaf

    Vegetable oil, as needed

    1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow onion

    1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots

    1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers

    2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

    2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

    2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into ribbons

    Directions

    1. In a mixing bowl, combine the broth, soy sauce, hoisin, and sesame oil. Whisk together and set aside. In another bowl, combine the cornstarch and water and stir together.
    2. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves. (Tip: Save the stems for a smoothie or juice.) Roll the trimmed leaves lengthwise so they resemble a rolled cigar. Holding the roll with one hand, slice the leaves crosswise into thin 1/2-inch-wide "noodles."
    3. Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat. When the wok starts to smoke, add the oil, allow it to heat for a few seconds, then add the onions, carrots, and bell peppers. Stir and shake the pan constantly until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.
    4. Keeping the heat as high as possible, add the BroccoLeaf "noodles" and continue stirring and shaking until they're wilted. Add the garlic, ginger, and basil; stir and shake again for 30 seconds. Add the sauce to the wok, bring to a quick boil, and stir the cornstarch slurry to recombine and add to the sauce. Stir and boil briefly to thicken. Serve with steamed brown rice.
  • Recipe: Andrew Hunter; Image: Foxy Produce

    Simple Sauté

    Makes: 2 to 4 servings

    Ingredients

    1 bunch BroccoLeaf

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    1 tablespoon minced or sliced fresh garlic

    1 pinch crushed red chili flakes

    Directions

    1. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves. Roll the trimmed leaves lengthwise so they resemble a rolled cigar. Holding the roll with one hand, slice the leaves crosswise into thin 1/2-inch-wide "noodles."
    2. Heat a medium-size nonstick sauté pan or cast-iron skillet. Add the olive oil and heat just until it ripples. Add the garlic; stir and sauté just until it begins to caramelize. Add the BroccoLeaf "noodles" and water, cover and steam for 2 minutes. When the BroccoLeaf is soft and bright green, season to taste with crushed red chili flakes.
  • Recipe: Andrew Hunter; Image: Foxy Produce

    BroccoLeaf Frittata

    Makes: 4 servings

    Ingredients

    1 1/2 cups egg whites

    1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

    Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

    1 bunch BroccoLeaf

    1/4 cup water

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes

    2 tablespoons pitted, chopped Kalamata olives

    4 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into ribbons

    3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

    2 tablespoons toasted rolled instant oats

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
    2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the egg whites, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
    3. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves. Roll the trimmed leaves lengthwise so they resemble a rolled cigar. Holding the roll with one hand, slice the leaves crosswise into thin 1/2-inch-wide "noodles."
    4. Heat a medium-size nonstick sauté pan or cast-iron skillet. Add the Broccoleaf "noodles" and water; cover and steam for 2 minutes. When the broccoli leaves are soft and bright green, add the olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and half the fresh basil. Stir to combine.
    5. Brush the sides of the pan with a little extra olive oil to prevent sticking and pour in the egg white mixture. Stir constantly over medium-low heat as you would for scrambled eggs, just until the egg whites begin to set, about 5 minutes.
    6. When the egg whites are set around the edges, but still loose on the top, drop 6 to 8 spoonfuls of ricotta cheese randomly into egg mixture. Sprinkle toasted oats and remaining Parmesan cheese on top. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the top of the frittata is firm to the touch. Loosen the edges of the frittata from the pan with a rubber spatula and slide it onto a cutting board or serve directly from the skillet.
  • Recipe: Akasha Richmond; Photo: Shutterstock

    BroccoLeaf and Cauliflower Bisque

    Makes: 6 to 8 servings

    Ingredients

    2 bunches BroccoLeaf, chopped

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

    2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)

    1 large shallot, peeled and sliced

    1 teaspoon sea salt

    8 cups chopped cauliflower (about one head)

    4 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed

    4 cups unsweetened aseptic packaged coconut beverage, plus more as needed

    1/2 teaspoon black pepper

    1/3 cup white miso

    2 teaspoons ground coriander

    1 teaspoon ground turmeric

    Extra-virgin olive oil and chives for garnish

    Directions

    1. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves.
    2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat; cook leeks and shallots, with a pinch of sea salt until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower and vegetable stock to the leeks. The stock should almost cover cauliflower; add a little more if needed. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 10 minutes.
    3. Add BroccoLeaf and coconut beverage. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add black pepper.
    4. Puree soup in batches with the miso in a blender until very smooth, adding more vegetable stock or coconut beverage if it's too thick. Season with coriander, turmeric, and additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped chives.
  • Recipe: Akasha Richmond

    BroccoLeaf Slaw

    Makes: 8 servings

    Ingredients

    1 bunch BroccoLeaf, shredded (about 4 cups)

    4 cups shredded cabbage

    1 cup shredded carrots

    1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

    1 cup toasted and salted slivered almonds

    3/4 cup dried cranberries

    For the dressing:

    1/4 cup cider vinegar

    2 tablespoons sugar

    3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

    1/4 cup canola oil

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

    Directions

    1. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves.
    2. Mix the BroccoLeaf, cabbage, carrots, and red onion in a medium-size bowl. Reserve the almonds and cranberries.
    3. In another bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, mustard, canola oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over slaw mix and toss to combine. Add the almonds and cranberries.
  • Recipe: Akasha Richmond; Photo: Shutterstock

    BroccoLeaf Au Gratin

    Makes: 3 to 4 servings

    Ingredients

    2 bunches BroccoLeaf, chopped (about 8 cups)

    2 tablespoons butter

    2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)

    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    2 cups vegetable stock

    3/4 cup heavy cream

    1/3 cup half-and-half

    1 tablespoon white rice flour

    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

    ½ cup grated pecorino cheese

    Salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Trim the BroccoLeaf stems where they meet the leaves.
    3. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. When butter is melted, add leeks and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the leeks have softened. Add BroccoLeaf with the vegetable stock and cook, stirring occasionally until the BroccoLeaf has wilted, about 8 to 10 minutes.
    4. In a small mixing bowl combine the cream, half-and-half, rice flour, and nutmeg. Whisk until smooth. Pour into the BroccoLeaf mixture and stir while cooking for about two minutes, or until the mixture has thickened.
    5. Transfer mixture into a buttered 8-inch round baking dish. Top with pecorino cheese. Place in the oven uncovered for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is browned.