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Eating Broccoli Leaves

March 4, 2011

Last autumn, my neighbors mother came over for a visit. As is my habit, I grabbed a paper bag and a knife so she could go 'shopping' in my garden. She declined my offers of swiss chard and kale and asked instead for some leaves from broccoli. She said she used to cook them with potatoes. (She is Italian) .

Does anyone have a recipe for this - or any other way to serve broccoli leaves?

Here is a link that might be useful: my blog- Little Homestead in the Village

Comments (16)

  • cabrita

    Broccoli leave, cauliflower leave, Brussels sprout leaves, all are edible and they can be prepared like kale, collards, or the outer leaves of cabbage. I am specially fond of Brussels sprouts leaves. After two seasons of 'no sprouts' we just ate the leaves and found them so tasty we grow them now just for the leaves. This year I am growing broccoli raab, and I also really like their leaves. I will be picking the leaves of a purple broccoli that sprouted pretty soon too.

    Examples of suitable dishes: kale potato soup (but use whatever leaves you have), colcanon, green empanadas (individual snack size turn over savory pies). Your imagination is the limit.

  • cabrita

    ...I forgot to mention: greens frittata!

  • denninmi

    Yup, I frequently use the younger, smaller, more tender leaves that grow just under the crown.

    There is a specific strain from Italy grown just for the leaves -- Broccoli Sprigarello.

  • dgkritch

    I use the large broccoli leaves for "cabbage rolls"...I guess they're actually broccoli rolls.

    I've found that if I cut them one evening and just leave them on the counter overnight, they're perfectly wilted enough to roll easily around your filling. I remove the stiff center stem (just the very thick part) and begin rolling from the base of the leaf kind of overlapping the split part from removing the stem. Delicious!
    Far easier to obtain than the outer leaves of cabbage which always seem to tear for me.

    The leaves of any brassicas are also good diced and tossed into soups.


  • misskimmie

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I'm winter-sowing lots of broccoli, kale, and some cabbage and brussels spouts. I assume that I can freeze the leaves (after blanching of course)? I sure wish I had some soup greens right now. - kim

    Here is a link that might be useful: my blog- Little Homestead in the Village

  • girlgroupgirl

    One of our local urban farmers makes stuffed broccoli leaves. I make a vegetarian version of these. They are probably the best greens for stuffing, and have a slightly different taste than most. This helps round out our spring meals because we eat 99% greens and carrots during the winter and spring and I am always looking for some new way to serve them. We eat salad and soup every single day during the winter and spring, variety is nice!

    Here is a link that might be useful: The Funny Farm: Stuffed Broccoli Leaves

  • KarenJuten

    I eat the leaves of broccoli,cauliflower, collards, and brussel sprouts. They are all in the cabbage family and edible. Not only edible but fight cancer. Very healthy! I saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Add sausage chopped fine. Brown the sausage. Add chopped leaves and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes. Serve with BBQ sauce. Yummm! P.S. Add tumeric for additional health benefit and yummy taste.

  • mellyofthesouth

    I had a bunch that I used instead of spinach in lasagna. I blanched them then chopped them in the food processor. Very tasty. Actually my broccoli loving daughter liked it better than spinach.

  • macky77

    Just had one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that moments. Thanks so much for posting this!

  • fruitmaven_wiz5

    This spring's weird weather caused my broccoli to head up in May. I was so disappointed with the tiny heads, but at least I can enjoy the leaves! They are delicious, and remind me very strongly of flat kale. I sadded them to my tir-fry instead of cabbage for supper tonight.

  • Campruby

    We tried this tonight. Delicious!!! I am a cooked greens hater, but loved the broccoli leaves because of the firm texture...they didn't cook down to mush. Found a recipe online and sliced the leaves thin, stir-fried with oil, garlic and red pepper flakes....fantastic! Our warm winters makes it hard for broccoli to head, but I think we will grow them specifically for the leaves from now on.

    This post was edited by Campruby on Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 19:56

  • KSprairie

    I have Brussels sprouts that never matured and cauliflower that never produced heads this spring. I just left them in the garden to keep growing, along with the broccoli, red cabbage, white cabbage (I did harvest heads from these).

    Not sure about their quality this time of year, but if they are not bitter, would these all be good candidates for canned greens, or is it off to the compost pile? Leaves are very abundant!

    I see from comments above many folks like to eat brassica greens fresh or freeze, but canning wasn't addressed, and it looks like most comments were in regards to spring harvesting of leaves, from what I can tell.

    would someone also please comment if it is better to start a new thread or to comment on older threads like this when our questions are related? I apologize for not knowing the Houzz etiquette! Thank you.

  • laceyvail 6A, WV

    I adore Gailan (Kailan), a broccoli like plant that you eat like broccoli raab, tender stems, tiny heads, leaves. It's much milder than broccoli raab, much more like broccoli, and it's a direct sow in my zone 6 garden, with no need to start plants in the house.

  • gardengalrn6

    I've eaten both broccoli and cauliflower leaves, prepared like I would for collards. I would like to say I did it on purpose but one year I didn't label my collards and harvested the other stuff instead, LOL! They were delicious and I didn't know the difference until they formed heads.

  • nancyofnc

    KSprairie - resurrected old threads and new threads all have the same goal - information.

  • pattypan

    whenever i blanch/steam edibles for freezing, i reuse the water a few times, then freeze it for soup. the odd leaf, old bean, and cubed tomato that had to have a crack or bad spot cut out- all go into the soup base. i also dice and freeze unblanched baby butternuts( as a summer squash- the svb won't allow any other kinds) and purslane for soup. it's more like a veggie stew !

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