Turn Over a New (Broccoli) Leaf

Young collard on planting bed

Young collard on planting bed

Young collard on planting bed

Young collard on planting bed

Looks like Tuscan kale, tastes sweet like sugar snap peas, and offers 100 percent of your daily value of vitamin C and calcium per serving. What is this miracle food? It’s broccoli leaves. No, not those little delicate fronds that you find on the crowns of broccoli (though those, too, are edible); these larger leaves grow around the stalk of the broccoli plant. Farmers previously used them just for cultivating the soil, but now they are being recognized for their nutritional power.

Like kale, broccoli leaves aren’t exactly a new thing. Italians have long grown a variety called spigariello, but unlike broccoli, spigariello’s leaves were always the prize, not the florets. If you can’t find broccoli leaves at your local farmers market, don’t worry; one brand is bringing the greens to the masses. Foxy, which is deeming the greens a “magical power food” even, has branded its product “BroccoLeaf.”

Broccoli leaves can be prepared the same ways as kale, Swiss chard or collard and mustard greens. Try them in soups, salads or sandwiches, or even blended into a smoothie. Here are a few other techniques to try on your first batch of broccoli leaves.

Braised

Substitute broccoli leaves for the collard greens that brighten this hearty dish of Braised Collard Greens and Butternut Squash.

Sauteed

Quick, simple and good-for-you mustard greens can be swapped out for broccoli leaves like in Anne Burrell’s Sauteed Mustard Greens.

Stir-fried

Toss broccoli leaves into this Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry.

Steamed

Add broccoli leaves to Steamed Clams and Kale.

Baked

A one-dish casserole of baked gnocchi gets a dose of vitamin C and calcium with the addition of broccoli leaves.

Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book.

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