Whenever you have a cauliflower with the outer leaves and stalks in tact it’s almost second nature to pull them all off and bin them. I started this process recently and noticed there was almost as much leaf as actual cauliflower. That got me thinking…there had to be a way to utilise them…
To clarify by ‘leaves’ I mean the green outer leaves and the stems they’re attached to. After a few experiments I whacked them in the oven with some seasoning I’d typically use on cauli. Once roasted, the leaves become incredibly crispy, in a kind of unexpected way. They taste like deep fried kale chips and nori (roasted seaweed, often used for sushi), while the stalks retained their cauliflower nuttiness.
I mixed the roasted cauliflower leaves into a little breakfast salad – but you could also enjoy them as a side, with other roasted veg or in a more substantial salad.
EASY CAULIFLOWER STEM BREAKFAST SALAD
Serves 1 as a light salad
Cauliflower leaves (middle stalk intact)
Salt and pepper
A few big handfuls of mixed salad leaves
Caramelised white balsamic
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse the cauliflower leaves off and trim any woody ends off. Pat dry, then place on an oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well to coat.
2. Sprinkle cauliflower leaves with a bit of cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt, pepper.
3. Pop into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves start to become golden and crispy. 10 minutes is enough for some light colour on them – while at 15 minutes they’ll look more like mine did with more char on the stalks and super crispy (almost deep fried looking) leaves.
4. To Serve: I tossed them with mixed salad leaves, a bit of caramelised balsamic and a fried egg on top.
I definitely want to have another play around with these next time I get a leafy cauli and I can’t believe how many times I’ve just mindlessly thrown these delicious stalks away. Never again.
What do you use cauliflower leaves for?