I don’t want to look back on my life and think, I could’ve eaten that. Anyone that’s ever tended their own vegetable garden, or paid those hefty price tags for organic vegetables knows the pain of throwing those perfectly green stalks into the compost heap. The amount of care we take and the amount of money we spend to have fresh, organic vegetables in our kitchens is reason enough to adopt the philosophy of root to stalk cooking. The most convincing reason though is that we’ve been robbing ourselves of some pretty vital nutrients and unexpectedly rich flavors without even knowing it. While every home cook knows that vegetable scraps can make the perfect broth, it’s totally easy to overlook the other awesome root to stem cooking techniques. You must try this!
Cauliflower doesn’t have to be cut into florets. Instead, you can slice straight through the stem to create ‘cauliflower steaks’ to roast in the oven or sear in a pan with tomatoes, black olives, and capers
Leeks have those dark green tops that take longer to cook, but transform into a braising green with a slight onion flavor that gives a richness to egg dishes
Beet greens look and taste like a cross between beets and chard (earthy and sharp) and are delicious sautéed and added to a whole-grain salad (think quinoa or cous cous) with pickled beets, goat cheese, and walnuts
Radishes come with peppery-tasting leaves that you can use as salad greens tossed with sweet corn, tomatoes, and a creamy dressing, along with the radishes themselves.
Broccoli stalks used to never make it to my plate. But the silky, dark leaves surrounding broccoli stalks cook like spinach and taste like the sweetest broccoli you’ve ever had. The stalk itself can be peeled leaving the sweet and crunchy part of the stem which is just a perfect addition to a stir fry
Fennel fronds and stems are sweeter than the white bulbs and have a stronger anise flavor. If you like licorice, you can thinly slice the stems and candy them, or head in a savory direction and toss them in a salad with sliced fennel bulbs, shaved Parmesan, lemon juice, and olive oil
These tips and more delicious recipes can be found in Tara Duggan’s Root to Stalk Cooking available on Amazon.