Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 20, 2010 07:19 AM

Use for broccoli stalks/stems?

Hi all!

I have a head of broccoli that I plan on using the florets for a salad, but don't want to simply toss the stalks/stems. Is there something I can do with them besides soup or slaw?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Funny...although I eat a fair amount of broccoli, the stalks are the only part of broccoli that I really like.

    As for using the stalks, strip away the outer 'skin' which can sometimes be a little bit 'woody; slice them into medallions and steam them for a minute or two,then use them in a quick stir fry with a meat of your choice. It's a great, quick meal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: The Professor

      second the stir fry idea. usually slice the stems into sticks and stir fry with tofu and mushrooms.

      1. re: The Professor

        Im always shocked when someone brings this up.

        I agree witht good Professor---I peel them a bit and steam right along with the tops.

        Now, I do cut off an inch, or whatever looks 'woody' at the stalk bottom, but the rest is just as good to eat. I don't think I would ever at the lower part raw, and never have. I would still blanch/steam a little and cut them into to discs for salads, etc. though.

        1. re: mtomto

          I don't think I would ever at the lower part raw, and never have.

          GEEEZE! Why not? They are DELICIOUS! Either plain or with a good dip. I do this all the time.

          And what's with all this peeling? I cut off the bottom dried part (usually less than 1/16 in) cut 'em into bite sized pieces, and chow down!

          1. re: al b. darned

            i find the stems are the sweetest part... when lightly cooked... i am not a huge raw broccoli fan overall... in fact, i find the florets terribly bitter and pungent when raw, but steamed... mmmm heaven.

            ETA: re peeling, don't do it, but have cut the stems to steam and basically cut off the "skin" then diced that along with the fleshy interior and steamed all of it. love the fibrous skin but also the sweet fleshy interior when steamed.

        2. re: The Professor

          Yes, this is a good idea. Sometimes I get lazy and just stir-fry them with a little salt and skip the steaming step, almost as good that way. Cook them until the white core just vanishes and they are good to eat all by themselves.

        3. I recently peeled the stalks, wrapped them in bacon and roasted them. Mmm. They also make a great pureed soup w/ a touch of curry powder.

            1. re: MandalayVA

              I've been freezing stalks when I've steamed the florets for salad etc., and have been making soup with them, using the base from The Way to Cook that uses rice to thicken the soup.

            2. One of my favorite Chinese places used to serve a dish with marinated broccoli stems. I've never made them myself, nor do I know who Martha Rose Shulman is, but here is a recipe I found. I'd like to try this, too.

              ALSO, steaming the stems, then including in broccoli and pasta is yummy. When my mom makes this dish, she uses all the broccoli (florets + stems), but no reason it wouldn't work with stems alone. Sautee garlic in oil separately (don't brown), steam stems on the side, add back a little of the pasta water to the dish...butter, too...serve with grated cheese of choice. In my house, that's pecorino romano.

              11 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes

                Thanks for posting the recipe....sounds yummy! Thank you! I also like the broccoli & pasta idea....

                Thank you for all the ideas everyone!

                1. re: jenscats5

                  I (Martha Rose Shulman) am NOT Rose Levy Beranbaum, who wrote The Cake Bible. I did write the recipe for marinated broccoli stems on my column, Recipes for Health, on

                  1. re: mrose314

                    I am so sorry about my confusing the two names. I very much enjoyed your Boot Camp book and should have known better. I was roundly corrected by all and sundry here, as you can see!

                2. re: kattyeyes

                  The one and only Martha Rose Shulman, she of the "Cake Bible" and the major hissyfit about being charged for forks provided by a restaurant in NY so she and her party could eat cake she had made and brought with her to the restaurant? (My recipe is closer to the Sichuan style I would think, you can use the same dressing on cucumbers or even shredded chicken btw.)

                  1. re: buttertart

                    No, no, you're getting your "ladies with three names" mixed up, LOL! The "Cake Bible" author is Rose Levy Beranbaum. Perhaps Martha Rose Shulman is a friend of hers, but I honestly dunno! ;)

                    Yours is the recipe I'd like to try, then, perfecto!

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Oh yeah! Yikes! Senior moment! And I've even read one of her cookbooks, Culinary Boot Camp (not bad by the way)...I'm a lady with three names too, but I don't go around using my middle name usually.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        You got the Rose part right, buttertart, FWIW.

                        Pickled broccoli stems, good.
                        Broccoli slaw, very good.
                        In any stir fry, best.

                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                          It's actually the only part of broccoli that my husband actively likes. His theory of vegetable goodness: just warm through but still hard as possible. Asparagus blanched 1 min, etc. I having been raised by a Canadian mom like them well-cooked. Sigh.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Yes, the stem has a mild broccoli flavor. I just eat it raw sometimes.

                            Mrbushwick is on the other end of the vegetable crunch spectrum, "Can you please cook the broccoli til it's pretty soft?" said in whining type voice, meant to be cute.

                    2. re: buttertart

                      I (Martha Rose Shulman) am NOT Rose Levy Beranbaum, who wrote The Cake Bible. I did write the recipe for marinated broccoli stems on my column, Recipes for Health, on

                      Permalink | Edit | Thanks for posting!
                      mrose314 Apr 24, 2010 12:07PM

                    3. re: kattyeyes

                      Slight variation? Swap out the butter for olive oil, boil the broccoli and use the same water for the pasta, and saute three or four anchovies with the garlic. Keep the cheese. Can't remember where I picked this up, but it is definitely not mine. Apologies to whomever.

                    4. I slice it thin or put through my slicer for stir fry and always goes in my salads.

                      I love it at my favorite sichuan place, zippy hot but pickled.

                      I love the idea of roasted and better with the bacon - YUM!!!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: lexpatti

                        lexpatti, do you think the recipe I posted is what we get at Szechuan places, or is there another, more Asian riff on marinating stems? I love it, too--thus my curiosity. The one I used to get almost had a buttery taste to it, if you can believe it...

                        1. re: kattyeyes

                          Hi katty - I did look at your recipe and it doesn't seem like the ones I enjoy. I did a search recently (after endulging in my new addiction for this sichuan place) and I think this might be it - someone shared this with me (it's page 114):

                          1. re: lexpatti

                            Thank you kindly! Very different indeed.

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              If you are up in the framingham or billerica area, you must try Sichuan Gourmet (I've only been to the billerica location, many say it's better then framingham):

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                That is one of my absolute favorite things on earth to eat (the name is Sichuan pao cai, Sichuan pickled vegetables, the basic one of a number of Sichuan pickle specialties. The other one is my variation on liang ban - literally, cold-tossed vegetables) . The pickle is great with broccoli stems. The recipe is deceptively simple, it is a bit difficult in my experience to get it to come out right. Wishing you every success! If you get it right, it's one of the very best things with the fewest calories that I know of.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  next time I'm at that restaurant I'm going to ask - it's not on the menu just a small dish at every table - I love them.

                                  1. re: lexpatti

                                    Is it sweet at all? If it is it's a different type of pickle.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Not the ones I love, they are zippy spicy, crisp.

                                      1. re: lexpatti

                                        Then that's definitely the Sichuan pickle in the recipe. Some places serve the Shanghai style, which is Napa cabbage in a sweet-and-sour marinade with some hot pepper. OK but Sichuan pao cai is much better.