The way I hoard broccoli stalks you’d think they were gold.
We go through anywhere from 5 to 8 broccolis a week (yes, I know!), and almost every part of them gets eaten.
One day I discovered that if I collected 4 or 5 stalks and peeled the tough and stringy skins (which I do throw away), I can turn the cores of the stalks into a sensible portion of (excuse the French) fries.
I like to coat them in a mix of spices or herbs – the blend in the recipe below is just a suggestion, but they’ll work well with pretty much anything, from garlic and rosemary, to a sprinkle of za’atar, or some thyme, or a gingery cumin mix.
The crumbled tofu makes them more of a meal, less of a side, but a bit of crumbled feta, or even some grated cheese added the last few minutes of baking would be a good option.
I don’t always bother making a dip, but homemade mayo, or tomato sauce, or even tahini sauce never goes amiss.
I usually save the stalks, raw, in a drawer in the fridge until I have a handful.
Other times I’m desperate for fries, go on a rampage, cut the stalks right away and save the florets for another day. Know that cut-off stalks keep better and fresher for longer than the heads cut off, so contain yourself, try to avoid the rampage and use the heads whilst they’re fresh.
I like to finish the plate off with a handful of crispy green leaves. If you do have cauliflower or broccoli leaves at home – use them here! If not, you can always use kale, but I quite like not wasting the brassica leaves if possible
- A handful of broccoli stalks – the more the better, but I usually do 4 and up
- 20g coconut flour (almond flour works too)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- olive oil
- 100g tofu (or feta, or grated parmesan)
- Optional: A handful of broccoli, cauliflower or kale leaves
The edible part of the stalks are the tender core. To reveal these:
- Slice off a couple of millimetres off the bottom of the stalk. This part is usually darker and noticeable dry
- Standing the stalk upright, use a knife to shave all the way around the broccoli (top to bottom) all the tough, fibrous skin. You’ll notice as you start to cut it off, what part is nice and tender and what part we’re trying to get rid of. If you have a potato peeler you can use this too.
Discard the shaved off bit.
Now, cut the cores into matchsticks but cutting them in half lengthwise, and each half in half, or thirds, again. Try to keep them as evenly sized as possible.
Place the broccoli matchsticks in a medium sized bowl, drizzle them in some olive oil and give them a careful stir to coat them well
Sprinkle the coconut flour, spices/flavourings and salt over the broccoli, and use a couple of spoons to carefully stir and shake the broccoli, so everything is evenly coated.
Spread the chips in a single layer onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and roast them at 180ºC for 30min, flipping them half way.
After these 30min the fries should be almost fully cooked and lightly golden.
Take the tray out of the oven, crumble the tofu evenly over the fries, drizzle a little bit of oil over, and pop the tray back in the oven for another 5min.
Meanwhile, use a knife to finely chop the broccoli/cauliflower/kale leaves into shreds. Coat them in a tiny bit of oil and a bit of salt.
After the tofu’s been roasting for 5min, take the tray out, sprinkle the shredded leaves in a single layer (so they crisp), and pop tray in the oven for a further 10min.
It’s done when the crisps are golden, the tofu is lightly brown (if using cheese it should have melted), and the green leaves are crispy and brittle.