3 Unexpected Ways to Use Broccoli Stems

published May 21, 2023
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Broccoli florets are a forever favorite as a side, in soups, pastas, casseroles, and beyond. But did you know broccoli stems are just as versatile as the florets? Broccoli stems can be eaten raw or cooked, in everything from salads to stir-fries. 

So the next time you buy broccoli, don’t just use the florets — make sure to also use up the stems. It’s not only a smart way to limit waste, but it also stretches the bunch of broccoli you bought. Here are just three (of many) uses for broccoli stems.

Blitz them into pesto or dip.

Combine broccoli stems with other ingredients like herbs to make pesto, or beans to make hummus. First, steam the broccoli stems to help take the bitter edge off. Then use a food processor to blend the cooked, cooled broccoli stems and add in the flavors you like. This is a simple way to make eating broccoli and other vegetables more exciting. Smear it onto sandwiches, use it to dip fresh veggies and crackers, or use it as a dressing for pasta salads.

Grate them and turn them into broccoli “tots.”

You’ve probably seen these in some form in the frozen food aisle at your local grocery store. They are usually small, frozen, vegetable-based “bites” that are made by grating vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and sweet potatoes and mixing them together to mimic the beloved potato tots we know and love.

Use the medium or large holes on a box grater to grate broccoli stems into small grounds. Combine the grated broccoli stems with different seasonings as well as a binding agent such as eggs and flour. Start by using 1 egg and 1/4 cup flour for 1 cup grated broccoli stems. Make sure the mixture can be gently formed into small fritters by hand, similar to making meatballs, before roasting them in the oven.

Spiralize them into noodles.

Another way to use broccoli stems is to spiralize them into noodles. Use them in place of traditional pasta if you’re looking for a vegetable alternative. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the spiralizer and use a broccoli stem that fits comfortably in it. If you don’t own a spiralizer, another way to mimic pasta with broccoli stems is to shave them using a Y-shaped peeler to create small ribbons before sautéing or boiling them.