Thursday, May 01, 2014

Don't Throw Away Garden Broccoli Leaves
They Are Delicious And Nutritious!
Here's What You Can Do With Them

The leaves of the broccoli plant are delicious to eat!

Follow Foods For Long Life on Facebook and Pinterest.
Check out my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen
available on Amazon and iTunes.

Who Knew?
When you buy broccoli in the store, it's mostly the crown and stalks with very few leaves. But when you grow broccoli in your garden, the plant is mostly leaves. The first few times I grew broccoli, I thought to myself, "this is a waste of garden space - all those leaves just to make a little broccoli crown!" Maybe I'm a little dense, but I never thought about actually eating the leaves (even though they look EXACTLY like collards!) It wasn't until my daughter-in-law Karina went out to her garden and brought in a bunch of broccoli leaves for dinner that I even considered using them.

Now I feel like the broccoli crown is incidental. After all, you have to wait a long time just to get those one or two crowns from a plant but we feast on the leaves every day. 

So Nutritious Too!
Broccoli leaves are very low in calories and are a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. They also provide omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids in an optimal 3:1 ratio.

2 ounces of raw broccoli leaves are only 16 calories and provide:
180% of the daily value of vitamin A (8,960 IU)
86% of vitamin C (52 mg)
10% of folate (40 mcg)
72 mg omega-3 fatty acid

How to Prepare
You can use broccoli leaves in any recipe that calls for collard greens or kale but they take less time to cook than collards, especially if they are tender and fresh from your garden.

 Of course they are wonderful raw and can be used in any of my raw kale salad recipes such as Raw Kale and Orange Salad with Pumpkin Seeds or Garbanzo Bean and Raw Kale Salad with Lemon-Turmeric Dressing. The key is to thinly slice the broccoli leaves and then marinate and tenderize them in a few teaspoons each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, and  a bit of salt.

Use broccoli leaves instead of kale in this
Raw Kale and Orange Salad
Broccoli leaves would be great instead of kale in
Garbanzo and Raw Kale Salad

Or whip them up in any raw soup recipe that calls for greens.

Throw a handful of broccoli leaves in raw soups

I've also been using broccoli leaves instead of kale to make my breakfast quinoa bowl.

Use broccoli leaves instead of kale in
this kale and quinoa bowl recipe.

You can also steam them with a pinch of salt and drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice over them.

Steam for 5 minutes or until tender.

Or, sauté them in a little olive oil and fresh minced garlic. 

A fun thing to do to get the kids to eat more greens is to mix long strips of broccoli leaves with spaghetti. Here's what I do:

Remove the stem and lay the leaves over each other.
Roll them up tightly.
Slice the rolled leaves up very thin.
Cook your spaghetti pasta in a large pot of boiling water.
About 2 or 3 minutes before it's done, throw in the sliced leaves.
Rinse and serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

There are so many things you can do with these tasty and nutritious leaves. But whatever you do, don't throw them out!


hcuswortth said...

This is a fantastic tip, thanks! I was thinking the same thing about growing broccoli and the space it takes up. No worries now! :)

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

It certainly changed my entire attitude about growing broccoli! Glad you found it helpful.
Thanks for the comment,