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Can I roast the broccoli stalks?

Um. I've never posted here before. I'm hoping I'm doing this right.

Anyway, I've fallen in love with roasting my veggies. I really love broccolini roasted, but I can only actually get broccolini from a supermarket that I can't get to easily on my own. (2 buses and a 1/4 mile walk in snow, plus 1 bus is horribly slow just for 1 veggie? no thank you.)

I was looking up some tips on how to roast broccoli, but I noticed they only use the florets. Is there a reason for that? Are the stalks really bitter or something? I've personally never cooked with fresh broccoli yet.
I greatly prefer the stalks when I roast broccolini.

Feel free to let me know of any other veggies you enjoy roasted. :O I'm trying to expand my veggie taste palette.

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  1. I roast the stalks all the time. I generally peel the tough outer skin first, then slice into medallions. I think it's a very North American thing (though not so much a chowhound thing) to only use the florets. But I grew up with my mom using the stalks in stir fries, so I just naturally assumed that everyone ate them. :o)

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      Yes, peel them---wonderful! Maybe better than the florets. And cauliflower 'steaks' (cut into big vertical slices). I prefer to grill, but no reason roasting wouldn't be as good. Try either with a *very* little bit of smushed anchovy.

    2. Roasted broccoli is awesome!

      We fight over the stalks here.

      1. Roasted root vegetables is one of my staple winter foods: diced carrots, parsnips, turnips, onions, potatoes, whatever I have tossed with olive oil and roasted. I also like to roast cauliflower before mashing it and making it into a sorta-Indian flatbread.

        Re broccoli stalks: I was surprised when I found out that some people didn't think they were edible and apparently discarded them!

        1. Yes you can roast the stalks and I agree with peeling them first.
          I loke to roast cauliflower tossed in olive oil with grape tomato. The tomatoes burst and make "sauce". Serve with lots of grated Parmesan cheese.

          1. Don't roast the stalks.

            Eat them raw, they're sweet and crunchy. Just peel the hard outer layer first.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              ...I don't know why I never thought of trying them raw first.

              Thanks for the tip on peeling them! :D

              1. re: xjaebelle

                If you do decide to roast the stalks, make soup.

                Peel, roast, puree, garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche. Voila, best soup you've ever had from a previously shunted vegetable part.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I always liked the stalks peeled and lightly blanched/steamed. They are SUPER sweet and need no flavoring or accompaniment.

            2. Easy to do....so try whatever strikes your fancy...brussel sprouts are great, butternut squash is too.

              1. I love the stalks. I usually trim off the bottom centimetre or two, which is tough, and use the rest of it.

                Actually, I prefer roasted stalks to roaster florets - I'll use the top part for steamed brococoli, or broccoli soup, or a stir fry, and save the bottom for roasting.

                1 Reply
                1. I agree with previous comment that the stalks are really great with the outer peel removed, sliced and eaten raw.
                  I love roasted veggies and have made roasted parsnips, eggplant, beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, onions, fennel, etcetcetc.

                  Be aware that roasted mushrooms are amazing but should be done seperate from other veggies since they give off a lot of liquid.

                  This cauliflower "steak" recipe is a bit involved but makes a great light meal ontop of salad greens:

                  1. Never mind all that floofy nonsense at the top of the broccoli, the stalks are the best part!

                    Personally, I don't peel them. I like the chewy factor that the outside of the stem brings, though I do trim off any dried-out bits. Try a few pieces unpeeled some time. You might like them, too.

                    1. I am in the peel crowd, it's just too stringy sometimes (I have floss in the bathroom thx) but absolutely agree no part should go un-used. the stalk has a sweetness like an ugly dog (uhh I don't eat dog, but ugly dogs are usually the nicer ones)...

                      1. <" Are the stalks really bitter or something?">

                        No they are not bitter and quite sweet.
                        Roast away!

                        I do peel broccoli

                        1. "Feel free to let me know of any other veggies you enjoy roasted. :O I'm trying to expand my veggie taste palette."

                          Some of my favorites:

                          -Broccoli roasted with olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and some lemon zest or juice after it's out of the oven.

                          -Cauliflower roasted with olive oil, garlic, and herbs (try sturdy herbs like rosemary in the oven, or delicate herbs added before serving).

                          Cauliflower is also great roasted with capers, lemon, or spices like cumin and coriander. Very versatile veggie, and I think my favorite "transformation" when roasted. Gets all caramelized and addictive.

                          -Try roasting things you might not normally think of, like turnips or parsnips, fennel, grapes, olives, etc.

                          -Halve vine tomatoes and roast with olive oil, salt, and pepper (I sometimes add a pinch of sugar and herbs too) at a low oven temp (250) for a couple hours. Even when tomatoes are out of season, your finished veg will be super sweet and concentrated in flavor. I also do this with whole or halved cherry tomatoes for less time. They are SO GOOD on pizza, mixed into a grain salad, eaten as a side dish... My favorite way to eat them is to toast slices of French bread and spread with ricotta or melted cheese, then top with the roasted tomatoes, then sprinkled with herbs and salt or balsamic vinegar. YUM!

                          ETA: Roast some asparagus if you haven't already tried it. I know it's off season now, but get some in the spring. I roast trimmed spears at 400 for maybe 10 minutes, tossed with olive oil, sliced lemons, and crushed garlic. Out of the oven, I drizzle with the roasted lemon juices and fresh chopped tarragon, then serve at room temp or chilled. It's a family recipe that's one of the tastiest things ever (it's the tarragon!).

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: nothingswrong

                            I adore roasted Brussels sprouts as well as all roots: beets, turnips, parsnips, carrots, sweet and white potatoes, rutabaga, kohlrabi, onions, shallots.

                            1. re: nothingswrong

                              I love roast asparagus, somewhere there's a thread on thick or thin and I gotta say when roasting or grilling, thick works better (IMHO)

                            2. It makes me sad how much of my life I spent NOT roasting vegetables. Roasted green beans are my favorite, toss a little lemon juice and chopped garlic on at the end...let 'em get downright black in spots. Honestly, like candy. Try roasted green beans with roasted cherry or grape tomatoes with a little parm or feta on sprinkled on top.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: tonifi

                                I KNOW. D: I only found out about the magicalness of roasting them within the past year or so.
                                My sister makes roasted brussel sprouts with bacon (but I'm sure they'd be good on their own, I don't really eat bacon...) and I could totally eat those like popcorn.

                                Green bean suggestion sounds good! I also kinda dislike green beans.

                                1. re: tonifi

                                  I roast all veggies and adore them... I've tried roasting green beans about a thousand times over the years and I just don't *get it*. I hear people say they are like popcorn, potato chips, candy, etc., super addictive. But to me they are never good. I much prefer them blanched, then sautéed or stir fried.

                                  What am I doing wrong? I've tried it with regular green beans from the supermarket, Blue Lake beans, and haricots verts. Tossed with just olive oil, salt and pepper, or with things like garlic, ginger, onions, parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon, etc.

                                  Roasted at 375, 400, 425... For varying lengths of time...

                                  The texture and taste are never as good as doing it on the stove top.

                                  Someone clue me in?! I'm the biggest roasted veggie eater of anyone I know, but despise roasted green beans.

                                  1. re: nothingswrong

                                    Roasted green beans shrivel up and get rather soft. I love them when they get a bit charred. But if you are a textural person and love the firm "bite" of green beans, you may not like what roasting does to them.

                                    1. re: nothingswrong

                                      Give this a try before you give up on roasted green beans altogether....
                                      - preheat oven to 350
                                      - dip green beans in egg wash but let most drip off
                                      - roll in finely shredded parmesan- no preshredded gunk!- use a microplane or super fine grater
                                      - set on greased sheet pan seperated a little between each one
                                      My oven took about 7minutes, then i flipped them over and rotated the pan and another 5-6min until golden brown on the outside. Watch carefully the last few minutes, they turn quickly!

                                      The beans still have a little bite and the crispy parmesan bits are a great salty umami compliment.

                                      If you hate these, well, then give up.....

                                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                                        I will definitely give it a try next time I have green beans on hand. Thanks for the recipe!

                                  2. jacques pepin often said broccoli stems were his favorite food.


                                    1. And the awesomeness of broccoli stalks is why I love kohlrabi. The taste is so similar.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                        Agreed. I only discovered kohlrabi recently and don't generally see it in supermarkets, just farmer's markets. I agree with the person who described the taste as broccoli stem with a touch of apple. So far I've only had it raw but am sure it's great roasted.

                                        To the OP, I recommend Cook's Illustrated/ATK's roasted chicken parts with vegetables. Don't use the wings since you will be roasting at 475F. Cut root vegetables in roughly 1" chunks. They used 12 oz each carrot and potato, plus whole or halved shallot depending on size, and brussels sprouts, but choose what you like. Save for the spuds, they can be prepped well beforehand. Toss the veg in oil, S&P to taste, add other herbs at will. Do the same with the chicken parts. Put pieces skin side up on a sheet pan, the breasts and sprouts clustered at the center of the pan to protect them from the most direct heat. Scatter the rest of the veg amongst the chicken and bake on middle rack of preheated oven for 45 min. This is one of my favorite no-fuss meals. I tend to go overboard and need a second sheet for extra veg. I've included parsnips, sweet potato, and plantain. If you omit the brussels sprouts, either steam a green veg, or add an oiled, seasoned one to the pan midway through roasting.

                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                          Love kohlrabi raw, roasted or braised

                                        2. I love roasting pretty much all vegetables. I think the stalks would roast fine. Most people don't ever eat them, roasted or not.

                                          A friend tipped me off that unless the broccoli is REALLY fresh you should peel the stalks to make them more tender. I always do that now, and it does make them more tender.

                                          Also, when I roast anything I coat in oil and salt only, put it on broil at 500 degrees for 15-30 minutes (time determined by vegetable hardness). Middle rack in my electric oven. (High rack burns.) Not sure how to accommodate if your oven is gas. I would think the stalks and florets would roast at about the same time, I'd guess 15, maybe 20 minutes.

                                          Good luck!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: alegramarcel

                                            Can't you find a store that sells more than just the florets? Any asian market will have whole broccoli.
                                            If the stalks are young try blanching them before roasting. If old and tough use a potato peeler to remove the outer layer.

                                          2. romanesco: toss in salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon, and capers. spread out on baking sheet. roast approximately 20 minutes, turning halfway through. HEAVEN. plus, it's a vegetable whose shape is literally a naturally occurring example of a mathematical fractal! how cool is that?!