Last night I made the most amazing Pesto, from broccoli stems. It was so good I naturally felt I had to actually write about it. Not because of how good it was, but that fact that it is made with broccoli stems. Not a floret in site.
For those who follow Pumpjack & Piddlewick, in any manner, you are well aware that waste is something we strive to avoid. And right up there is broccoli stems. It is just one of those things that when you have cooked the rest of the broccoli, you look at the stem and go… And?!?!?
Recently I had a little surplus of broccoli and consequently the stems. And although the guinea pigs, it turns out, love broccoli stems, it still made me think. ‘What all can I do with these, besides feed to the animals? Why not us?’
A good search and root around for recipes specific to broccoli stems was undertaken. My all time favourite, and now a staple of our household, is Broccoli Stem Pesto.
The recipe calls for walnuts, which are nicely much less expensive than pine nuts. I have also made this with various other nuts that are to hand. The other ingredients are pleasantly basic; 1 clove of garlic (and even so this ends up being quite a garlicy dish, yum!), lemon juice, olive oil and of course broccoli stems. Whoosh in a mixer. Or, if you are like me who didn’t have one for the longest time, you can do by hand. Just cut everything as small as you can.
I sometimes add some sautéed chicken, but it also is delicious as is. Mix it in with some pasta and voilà a wonderfully super easy, fresh tasting pesto dish.
Broccoli stems can of course be used to make soup stalk. I use those odd ones you get with a hole down the middle of the stem for this. But there is so much goodness in the stem, as much as in the floret, that to not eat is a real shame. And they actually taste really good. It’s just about dealing with the slightly tougher texture.
A trick there is to shred, using a large hole grater. You can then use the shredded stems as part of a coleslaw recipe. As broccoli can be eaten raw, this is a great way to utilise the stems in salads, etc. if you aren’t cooking them.
And let’s talk rice. Broccoli rice. You have probably heard or even made cauliflower rice, but honestly it is not a patch on broccoli rice. Much more flavourful, though still subtle. And super, super easy to make. Much quicker than making regular rice. Simply chop up your broccoli stems and whizz in a mixer or blender until you get the texture you like. Heat in a little oil in a pan until warmed through.
You can of course add other ingredients directly to your broccoli rice once in the pan. A favourite of ours is sautéing a little chopped up onion until translucent. Add the broccoli rice and stir in. Now add some walnuts (surprise, surprise), or other nuts if preferred. Mushrooms also make a nice addition. Sprinkle on some salt and you have a wonderfully tasty side dish.
You can also slice them into discs, coat in olive oil, add a bit of garlic powder and/or parmesan and roast them for about 10 minutes. Easy peasy. You can even make hummus out of broccoli stems. Just substitute the stems in place of chick peas (same quantity) in a typical hummus recipe.
If you are into spiralizing*, you will know (or should know) that broccoli stems are brilliant for making noodles out of. And once you have the noodles, well it opens up a whole new world of (healthier) pasta dishes.
We are affiliated with AmazonUK, so where it makes sense we link to items there you may be interested in, like a spiralizer. Which, honestly, if you are a veggie or love your veggies, and especial if you are gluten free and missing your pasta fix, is a must in the house.