Broccoli /cauliflower stalks, what do you do with them?

I was just reading a recipe for pickled vegetables and it said to use small pieces of the florets (essentially) in the pickling. And it got me thinking about what everyone does with the stalk portions. Even in the grocery stores I see more and more broccoli sold as just the floret portion (large stem trimmed off).

With broccoli, I know you can peel the stalk and steam it - tastes just like the rest - and I often do this, though not always. And years ago I used to have an asian broccoli salad recipe that used the stalk exclusively (it was delicious, need to find that again).

But in a pickle recipe like this, I’m not sure what I’d do with, essentially, nothing but stalk left. Do you actually/always use the stalks? sometimes use them? if so, what do you do with them? And I have no idea what I’d do with cauliflower stalks if I made this pickle recipe. . . .

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Recipe, schmecipe, cut up the stalks and pickle them too!


We have a couple of uses for stalks.

Freeze along with other bits for veg stock.
Rice in a fp for pizza dough making
Rice in fp for stir frys
Cut into smaller pcs and steam add as a soup topping
Tempura fried
Make a dip from steamed stalks.

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you don’t find these two flavors a bit strong for a veg stock? (asking, haven’t tried them in a stock but they just seem strong)

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No but we like the flavor. Our veg stock could have up to 10 diff veg bits before the actual soup is made so really in this example its a way to utilize not discard purchased produce.

There is always composting.

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If the stalks are tender enough, consider cutting the stalks into coins and pickling them along with the rest of the veg.

I cut broccoli down into florets and coins when steaming it unless the stems are simply too tough and dry.

The cut-up stem coins go into the bottom of the steamer basket for more contact with the steamy water. I’m wondering if a similar approach would work for pickling: Position the stem bits at the bottom of your pickling vessel for more/longer contact with the brine.

I’d be interested in hearing how your pickling works out.

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Most of the time I cut them into smaller pieces for soup. Have shredded them for Vietnamese-style salad. Use bigger chunks in a simple Chinese-style braise with meat.

I always use broccoli stems - if I am doing steamed or sautéed florets as a side, I might thinly slice the stems and toss them in, or save them for the next time I make stirfry. I like them as a substitute for water chestnuts (which I despise) as they tend to retain their crunch a little longer than the more tender parts of broccoli do.

With cauliflower, once I have trimmed off the woody/inedible part at the bottom, I don’t find there’s much “stalk” left - I usually leave the florets attached to the core and slice through it for nice large-ish pieces that stay intact.


I give them to my dogs…they enjoy the crunch, and the vet says its good for their teeth and their health.

Happily, neither of them suffers gastrointestinal effects of cruciferous veggies, so they get cauliflower, broccoli, romanescu, and cabbage stalks.


Cut them long and pickle separately.

Though I most often use them for broccoli soup.

Julienne them, steam or blanch briefly, and make a slaw with carrots and celery. Don’t waste food.

I cut the very end or extremely tough parts off, then peel, slice and add them to the rest. Like to do broccoli, cauliflower and carrots together. (Steamed in MW) I prefer the stalk to the florets actually. Will also save them for soup. As for cauliflower, we like to munch the hard parts raw. Filling, if you’re getting hungry for dinner.

ETA, love @Auspicious idea to julienne them and use as slaw. They’re also good in stir fries cut that way.

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Boil them for a while and put in food processor with zucchini, scallions, flour, egg, spices - fry and make fritters

Yum - good idea @HungryAllTheTime!

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I also use the stalks and eat them in whatever preparation I’m making. I love the crunch of perfectly cooked broccoli, so the stem part is perfect even without peeling. I do either cut hem up into wedges/chunks, or into disc-like shapes if I’m stir-frying. They’re good and taste like the rest of the plant, but just more crunch.

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Stalks just have a thicker “bark”. Peel, slice in coins and use as you would for the florets

I peel them, then slice them diagonally , use them for stir fry, before other more tender vegetables go in. Like them slightly crunchy

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For cauli stalks I use them in stir fries. For broccoli I peel and eat raw while prepping the broccoli. I much prefer it to the cooked florets but the missus isn’t keen.


Always use them. Once they are peeled of their thick outside layer, they are delightful but different than the florets, primarily for texture. But seriously. Raw chunks in a dip. Pickles. Slaw-ed up or shaved in a salad. Pureed into a soup. Roasted and tossed with pasta, rice, or as a veg side. What can’t you do with them? And I recently learned on this site that you can similarly use the stalk from brussels sprouts. Very cool.