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?
Recently I visited my dad and he gave me a gift: An old sweet potato from the very back of his fridge. It was sprouting and looked mostly unsalvageable.
“Ummm… thanks… dad…?”
He pushed it into my hands, “You should plant it.”
I assumed this was another one of his harebrained ideas, but I googled it and was surprised to find that it’s a thing. There’s a bit more of a process to it than just digging a hole and chucking in your sprouting sweet potato though…
1. Grow the slips
Slips are long, vine-like and leafing growths near the tip of a sweet potato – and it’s these that sprout baby sweet potatoes for you to enjoy (you can actually grow up to 50 slips per half). To grow slips, use a new sweet potato or one that’s already begun sprouting by itself. Cut it in half and place each cut side down in a bowl, glass or jar half submerged with water (pictured below). Leave it in a warm place and change the water daily to keep it fresh. I left mine for 2 weeks.
2. Let the roots grow
Once the slips have developed nice and long, it’s time to separate them from the mamma potato so they can grow on their own. Carefully twist the slips off where they connect to the sweet potato and place them in a shallow container with a little water to cover the bottom half of the stems.
The roots will begin to grow and sprout leaves within a few days. When they’re 2-3 cm long they’re ready to be planted.
3. Plant the slips
This step’s pretty straight forward. Dig 10cm deep holes and 7cm wide holes for each slip to be placed into. (P.S. I know this soil is suuuuper dry – but I’m going to try these tips here to rejuvenate it: https://soiltosupper.com/simple-ways-to-fix-dry-garden-soil/ ).
Soon I’ll never have to shop for sweet potatoes again – well at least that’s the plan. Stay tuned for updates on my sweet potato babies!
I bought two massive bunches of kale on special, thinking I’d use it all quick smart. I was wrong. After a huge batch of kale salad and a tray of kale chips, there was still a big bunch in the fridge plus all the stems I’d kept (don’t judge me).
I thought I could make it into a pesto, and saw that some people blanched the stems first – but to be honest I tested it blanched versus raw and they both taste amazing, so save yourself the effort.
With that, here’s my recipe for a raw kale pesto that uses up every last scrap of kale and is prime to slather on pretty much anything.
Raw Kale Stem Pesto
Yield: Approx. 1 ½ cups of finished pesto (1 x 300ml mason jar full)
1 packed cup kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 ½ packed cup kale stems, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves – peeled
25ml lemon juice (approx. ½ a medium lemon)
Zest of ½ a medium lemon
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp pine nuts or roasted walnuts
80ml olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
You could also add any herbs you have on hand like parsley or basil.
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor, and pulse in controlled bursts till crumbly-looking without any big chunks. Scrape down the sides regularly to ensure everything’s processed relatively evenly.
- Add more lemon, salt or pepper to taste. And add a little more olive oil if you want a thinner pesto.
- To store, keep refrigerated in a hipster-looking glass jar for added effect, and top with olive oil to stop it browning. Freeze batches for later use in small containers or plastic freezer bags.
Easy, right? Mix this pesto into pasta, soups, salads, spread it on toast or sandwiches for a herby garlicy, use it as a pizza sauce, toss veggies through it, top eggs with it, eat it with a steak or mix through meatballs. There’s so many ways to use it!