Cruciferous vegetables are great: they’re loaded with antioxidants, anti-cancer properties, phytonutrients and fiber – not to mention, they’re delicious. And for a little while now, the alt health world has been discussing the health benefits of broccoli stalks or stems.
Once you peel through the outer skin, you get to the crisp, bright veggie-center, great for snacking, roasting, or even turning into noodles! The recipe at the bottom of this page will have you saving broccoli stems and stalks for better uses than composting.
So what is all this good stuff hiding in the stalk of the veggie? Why do we only eat the florets, when the stalk and leaves are the richest part? The easy answer is because when we were kids, we were the dinosaur and broccoli was the tree.
That’s what got me eating it, anyway. Now I love broccoli wherever I can get it: in quinoa bowls, as a side for dinner, or even just a midday snack.
Gram for gram, broccoli stalk contains more calcium, iron, and vitamin C than the floret. Although the flavorful floret provide a good source of vitamin A – so don’t just throw out the top of your broccoli. Eat the entire thing!
Roasted Broccoli Pesto
Here we’ll be using your long-stemmed broccoli to make a pesto sauce, but make sure you’ve got enough broccoli to later top your pasta. If you have a ton of long broccoli stalks, you can julienne them and boil to use them as the noodles. Otherwise, use rice noodles or any of the gluten-free noodles found here.
3 heads broccoli with long stems, chopped into florets and stems reserved
½ avocado, diced
1–2 cloves garlic, minced
5–7 leaves fresh basil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp pink Himalyan salt
⅛ tsp ground black pepper
¼ c extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
8 oz Rice noodles (or any of the noodles found here)
⅓ c pine nuts
1 tsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp salt
- Heat your oven to 375ºF. Place broccoli florets on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Peel or slice the outermost layer of broccoli stems and, using a julienne peeler, peel the stems lengthwise to form long thin strands.
- In a small pan, toss the pine nuts over a medium heat until golden brown or 2-3 minutes. Put the pine nuts, yeast, and salt into your blender and pulse until the mixture’s texture is similar to grated cheese. Set aside in a small bowl.
- Place the roasted broccoli into your food processor with avocado, garlic, basil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and pulse to combine. Gradually add oil to the running food processor until the mixture is thoroughly combined, but not smooth. Set aside.
- Cook your pasta (or leftover julienned broccoli stalks) to desired tenderness. Strain and return to pot, adding your pesto sauce. Toss to coat.
NUTRITION: (per serving)
580 cal, 23g pro, 77g carb, 20g fiber, 11g sugars, 26g fat, 3g sat fat, 450mg sodium