Instead Of Throwing Away Tough Broccoli Stems, Roast Them

heads of fresh broccoli
heads of fresh broccoli - Nataliia Zhekova/Shutterstock

Broccoli stems don't have to go straight in the compost bin. Unless the vegetable has gone totally moldy and can't be salvaged, we can't think of a good reason why the stalks should go to waste. Sure, the crown may be the most commonly eaten part, but that doesn't mean that the stems can't be consumed, too. Though they have a more firm and fibrous texture, broccoli stems can rival frilly florets when prepared properly. Of the many ways you go about tackling those sturdy stalks, we prefer the simple yet reliable method of roasting.

Not only are broccoli stalks edible, but they boast just as many vital nutrients as florets. In addition to being healthy, working this less aesthetic bit of broccoli into recipes helps reduce waste. Plus, they can also help stretch your dollars further — you bought the entire broccoli, so why toss half of it in the bin? But that's not even the most convincing reason why stems should become a meal time mainstay. Above all else, they're delicious, especially when roasted to perfection.

Given their sturdy structure, broccoli stems are particularly well-suited to cooking methods that use high heat. The dry heat of roasting can soften the tough stalks and caramelize them to produce a sweet and buttery interior.

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The Secret To Roasting Broccoli Stems

Roasted broccoli on pan
Roasted broccoli on pan - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

There are a few ways to make a broccoli stalk more palatable, starting with peeling the stem to reveal the pale green interior. Additionally, cut off about an inch from the bottom of stems to discard any woody bits that really should go into your compost bin.

Once the stems have been peeled and trimmed, slice them however you want. Dice them, chop them into coins, or cut them into thick fries. The only thing to remember is that stems and florets (no matter how they're cut) need to be cooked separately, as they cook at different rates.

Before adding stems to the oven, be sure to season them. Keep it basic by dressing them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once roasted, finish them with some grated pecorino or a drizzle of zesty vinaigrette or another type of salad dressing. You could also sprinkle them with spice blends or toss them in a marinade prior to cooking. Serve the broccoli stems as a side or work them into salads. Whatever you decide to do with roasted broccoli stems, their creamy texture and mild sweetness is sure to win you over.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.