How to Use Cauliflower Leaves and Stalks 

Written by Ollie Wilkinson

Cutting out food waste starts with small steps and big questions, and today we’re here to solve one of the world’s most hard-hitting riddles: can you eat cauliflower leaves? 

Well, prepare to have your socks knocked right off your green footprint. Because cauliflower leaves are not only edible, they’re delicious! 

Leaves and stems are healthy and nutritious, chocked full of fibre, calcium and vitamin C (that’s the one that gives you muscles, by the way). And this blog leafs no stalk unturned, uncooked, or unused. 

What parts of a cauliflower are edible? 

We’ve all enjoyed a cauliflower cheese in our time, but many of us are guilty of only using a fraction of these delicious, creamy white veggies. Every part of a cauliflower is edible, even the tough outer skin. Although we recommend peeling this part before cooking, as it’s a bit tough to chew. 

What to do with cauliflower leaves and stalks 

Cauliflower is way more than just albino broccoli, and their leaves and stalks pack a lot more flavour than you think. Whether you use them as a side dish or part of a mouthwatering main, you’ll definitely taste their influence. 

The florets may be the star of the show, but neglecting the rest is like listening to a Zayn-less One Direction, an M. Night Shyamalan movie without a big juicy twist at the end, or watching The Office after Michael Scott leaves. We don’t care what you say, it’s just not the same! 

What do cauliflower leaves taste like?  

When crisped up and combined with a bit’a seasoning, cauliflower leaves taste similar to crispy seaweed or fried greens, and can be a cracking alternative to pak choi, lettuce or spinach. 

You can’t walk the waste-reducing walk without making the most of your stalk, and cauliflower stems have a familiar flavour to the florets but pack a bit more of a crunch. 

How to cook cauliflower leaves 

There’s a special knack to cooking cauliflower leaves. Follow these steps to reduce food waste, and learn how to use every delicious part of your next cauli! 

Boiling – Cauliflower leaves can be boiled and blanched in salted water just like cabbage leaves. You can also steam any part of the cauliflower for a healthy green meal. 

Roasting – Chuck some salt, olive oil and seasoning in a roasting pan with some cauliflower leaves, and you’ll have a beautiful, crispy side dish to impress your guests. 

Frying – Buttered, sautéd cauliflower leaves are a deliciously easy dish to whip up in a few minutes. All you need is a frying pan, butter and a splash of water. 

Master these culinary techniques, and you won’t just cauliflower – you’ll cauliflourish! 

Cauliflower leaves recipes 

The following recipes are super-cauliflower-isticexpialidocious, because we know the thought of waste is really quite atrocious. 

Roasted cauliflower leaves 

Cauliflower can be roasted whole or in tiny beautiful florets. Either way, it’s incredibly scrumptious with the right seasoning, paste and sauces. And best of all, the leaves can be thrown right into the mix! 

We recommend trying this by drizzling lime zest over the leaves, alongside some minced garlic and tomatoes. Then, throw in the chopped cauliflower florets and stalks with some soy sauce and massaman paste, before roasting for roughly half an hour (or until the cauliflower florets start to brown). 

Cauliflower leaf pesto 

No, your cauliflower ears are not deceiving you. The magicians at Mob Kitchen do a magnificent Cauliflower Leaf Pesto recipe, which has to be tasted to be believed. 

Herby, cheesy and with zero waste, it ticks every single box. Just complete the seven simple tests, and hey pesto, you’ve got yourself a smashing dip! 

Cauliflower leaf stir fry 

Cauliflower leaves are a tasty alternative to spring greens in most stir fries and noodle dishes. One of our favourite combos is: 

  • Chicken thighs (chopped) 
  • Soy sauce (x1 tea spoon) 
  • Miso paste (x1 table spoon) 
  • Cauliflower leaves 
  • Garlic (x2 chopped or minced cloves) 
  • Dry noodles 
  • X1 carrot (grated) 

Brown off the chicken in a bit of oil in a pan or wok, toss in the veggies and fry away with your sauce and paste. 

Cauliflower leaf soup 

You can easily put cauliflower leaves in a soup. You can even use the stalks! Here are a couple of our favourite cauliflower leaf soup recipes: 

Anti-Food Waste Recipes 

Like maximising taste and reducing waste in the kitchen? There’s plenty more where that came from! Strap on your best apron and check out these delicious recipes and guides: 

Waste reducing gardening tips 

We’ve also got a bucketload of waste-reducing tips for your garden, so once you’re done tickling your taste buds, you can plant some more in your flowerbeds.  

How to feed your garden, not your bins: 

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