Many people just throw away the broccoli stalks, but there are so many great uses for them. I’ve come up with at least 7 ways to make good use of those spears of broccoli.
First, let me clarify what I mean by “broccoli stalks”…
There is the whole bottom part or “trunk” of the broccoli “tree” so to speak. Then, there’s the tough outer layer of that “trunk” that you can slice off with a peeler or paring knife to reveal the tender inner section.
When I cook broccoli, I always include that tender inner section so as to not waste it (it’s perfectly good broccoli!). But then there’s still that rough outer layer left over.
This list will include uses for both the whole stalk (the trunk of the broccoli tree) and the tough outer layer of the stalk.
7 Ways to Use Broccoli Stalks:
1. Cut off tough outer layer and cook the inner section
I always do this when cooking broccoli so as to not waste any of it. Use a paring knife or a peeler to take off the tough outer layer of the stalk. Chop up the inner part and cook it as you would cook the florets. I usually steam them.
If you have a garden or a farm composting is a great way to turn your food scraps into fertilizer. Use your food to make more food! Now that’s what I call sustainable! Composting can be really easy with products like this compost tumbler.
Some cities like San Francisco have a compost program that goes along with the garbage collection program, so even if you don’t have a garden or farm, you can still put your food scraps into the compost bin and it will be collected and used for a farm.
3. Make broth
Use the tough outer layer of the stalk for broth. I have a container of veggie scraps that I save in my freezer. Every time I make broccoli, I add the tough parts of the stalk to this container along with other veggie bits like the ends of carrots, kale stalks, cauliflower stalks, etc.
When the container is full I use it to make a big batch of broth and use the vegetable scraps. Of course, I only use organic vegetables for broth. I wouldn’t want to create a broth full of pesticide residue!
4. Slice them very thinly and sauté or add to casseroles or frittatas
Since the stalk is tough it can be hard to steam large chunks of it, but if you take care to slice or chop it very finely and cook it a little longer, you can sauté it with a stir-fry or add it to casseroles or frittatas.
5. Feed them to your dog (in limited amounts)
I often give my dog broccoli stalk bits (that’s my dog Lentil in the photo below…isn’t she sweet!). Since it’s tough, it’s a fun thing for her to chew on…almost like a rawhide bone! I give my dog a little bit of broccoli just about every time I make it and now when I get out the cutting board and start chopping a vegetable, she runs into the kitchen thinking that she’ll get a broccoli stalk.
If you’ve never given your dog raw broccoli before, start out with just a little bit and see how they react. Broccoli should be fine for dogs in small amounts, but it’s always best to see how they do with a little bit first. As with other animals, make sure to not give your dog too much as it could potentially cause digestive upset.
Use several full broccoli stalks to make a pureed soup. Chop up the stalks and cook it with broth, any other vegetables you want (like onions or garlic) and seasonings, then puree with a hand blender. Add cream if you want cream of broccoli soup. Check out my broccoli soup recipe here!
7. Chicken or Goat Feed (in limited amounts)
Many people have backyard chickens or goats for the eggs and goat milk. Broccoli stalks are a great supplement to their diet. Of course, it shouldn’t be the only thing they’re eating, but it’s a good way to make use of it! Make sure to not give them too much as large amounts could potentially cause digestive upset.