This month I’ve been teaching a broccoli and cauliflower stir-fry in my classes. I am using only the florets since I know the stalks aren’t as popular in my house. It’s all very well and good, except for the fact that I’ve been left at the end of each week with a heck of a lot of broccoli stalks. I’m sure you’ve gathered by now that I am a compulsive use-everything-you’ve-got kind of a cook. I absolutely hate to waste food! In fact, I started a tradition in the house called “Frittata Fridays.” That’s when I pull together bits of leftovers and random vegetables and turn them into breakfast. Everyone’s happy!
So in order to not throw away the perfectly good broccoli stalks, I have been juicing lots of them into our juices. But there’s only so much of that I can take. What else could I use them for? On a whim I decided to see if I could turn the stalks in a pureed soup like my Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup, which is one of my absolute favorites. My biggest concern was that the stalks wouldn’t have enough flavor and the soup would taste like nothing — WRONG! It was delicious. Warm, rich, creamy and using one of my favorite soup-thickening techniques (cooking and pureeing Yukon Gold potatoes with the soup), it tasted like there was lots of cream or butter when there was none.
Nutritionally speaking, the stalks are quite comparable to the florets, which is awesome since broccoli is once of those super foods you should be eating a lot of (and not throwing into the garbage!) In fact, I’m big on the whole cruciferous family of vegetables which includes all the cabbages, kale, bok choy, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collard greens and more. These vegetables contain incredible amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, cancer-fighting compounds, and even protein. Load up, people!
I enjoyed this soup straight away with an extra pinch of flaky sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. My husband stirred into his bowl a big pinch of shredded raw cheddar cheese and thought that was great. For the girls, I made them grilled raw cheddar cheese and kale pesto sandwiches on spelt bread and they loved dipping those into the soup. Even Mr. Picky finished his entire bowl — plain of course, with absolutely nothing added. This was a winner all around!
broccoli stalk soup
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter or unrefined cold-pressed olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 ¼ – 2 ½ pounds broccoli stalks, ends and any tough woody layers removed
1 large Yukon Gold potato, about 8 ounces, peeled if desired and cut into 1-inch pieces
2-3 teaspoons sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter or warm the oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, covered, until tender and translucent, about 6 minutes.
- Add the broccoli, potato, stock and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and then lower to a simmer. Cook partially covered until potatoes and broccoli stalks are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in a blender. Taste for seasoning.
Notes: You can stir in shredded cheese before serving, garnish with grated Parmesan or Pecorino, top with grilled cheese croutons or chopped chives