Three Uses For Broccoli Stems

I am thankful.  At five years old, after a lot of effort and consistency on my part, my oldest finally seems to be making a slow exit out of a super-picky eating phase that started right around his first birthday.

I know there are other mothers who can relate. 

Four long years of compromise, coercion, and creativity.  Four years of celebrating the smallest successes.  Four years of walking that line between allowing him the autonomy to choose his own foods and making sure he eats a balanced diet.

Four years of No, you may not have chicken nuggets for dinner tonight.

But throughout those four years there was one vegetable that was never a battle.  Broccoli.

For whatever reason, he loved it.  He’d sneak pieces off the cutting board in the kitchen while I prepared meals.  He’d gravitate to it when we were at gatherings with veggie trays.  When I asked him to help me plan our menu for the week, he’d always pick broccoli.

Once I realized how easy it was to get a green vegetable in him, I jumped right onto that train.  Over the past four years we’ve eaten a lot of broccoli in our house.  A lot.  And by “a lot” I mean “sometimes four nights a week.”

But here’s the problem with broccoli.  When you buy it at the store, they charge you by the pound.  Then you go home and cut off the florets, and the stem goes in the garbage.

Oh no, friends.  I am cheap, and that will not do.

I paid good money for that stem, and I will use it.

Out of that broccoli-rich season in our house was born a determination to effectively use the broccoli stems – saving money and reducing waste.  Here are three creative {and delicious} ways to use those broccoli stems you’ve been throwing away!

Stir Fry

Run the fresh broccoli stems through the shredding blade on your food processor.  You can use this broccoli slaw in any number of ways, but I typically throw it in a stir-fry.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Too busy to make something with the broccoli stems today?  Throw them in your freezer and make soup another day when the weather gets cooler!  I tried this recipe and it turned out great - it’s got enough cheese to make it taste good, but not too much that you feel guilty.  The perfect amount!

Pasta Sauce

Use fresh or previously frozen stems to make this guilt-free, creamy pasta sauce!  Follow the instructions in the recipe I linked to, but the exact proportions are not specific so I’ll share the ones I used here:

  • 5 broccoli stems I had collected in my freezer
  • 4 small garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  ¼ cup of grated parmesan (not in the original recipe)
  • I seasoned it pretty generously with salt and pepper and drizzled olive oil into the food processor until it was a consistency I was happy with
  • I mixed the sauce with pasta and chicken sausage for a complete meal

Do you have a creative way to use up broccoli stems?  What is the food that you and your picky eaters never fight about?

You can find Kristina blogging here on Tuesdays. To read more of her blogs, click here!

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