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4 Ways to Prepare Broccoli Leaves

If you’re like me, kale has been your go-to super food. But what's slated to be cooler than kale in 2015? Broccoli leaves! Are you wondering how to eat broccoli leaves or whether you can even eat them at all? When most people think of broccoli they think of the flowers or florets that are commonly consumed. That’s because broccoli leaves are not usually sold in stores and unless you grow them yourself, you never see the massive greens that broccoli heads spring from. In fact, some people grow broccoli plants just for the leaves! Interested in trying broccoli leaves? We’ve got you covered! Here are four simple ways to incorporate this edible plant into your next meal.

Roasted!

Are you as addicted to crispy, crackly kale chips as we are? Well, you don't have to stop there. Just about any leafy green, including broccoli leaves can be turned into an easy and, oh yes, healthy snack. Just bake broccoli leaves like you would kale chips. Cut off the leaves, toss with a little olive oil and sea salt and roast in a 375 degree oven until they start to crisp. Start checking them after 4 or 5 minutes or when you start to hear popping sounds. Watch carefully as they can get too brown rather quickly (a little brown around the edges is good, though). The leaves will be crunchy and sweet, with an occasional hit of broccoli-esque bitter. Delicious!

Stir Fried!

Few recipes are faster and easier to prepare than stir-fries. This quick-cooking method makes the most of lean proteins and lots of fresh vegetables, retaining both flavor and crispy texture. Next time you’re whipping up your favorite stir fry, add broccoli leaves in addition to your preferred veggies. Season with sesame oil, ginger, garlic, a splash of soy sauce and top with toasted sesame seeds. Or try them in this recipe for Stir-Fried Broccoli Florets, Stems & Leaves with Orange & Ginger. Yum!

Sautéed!

Up until recently, broccoli leaves were used primarily in juicing recipes. Now, they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to sautés. To make a simple (and delicious) sauté, trim where the broccoli leaves meet the stem, roll leaves lengthwise and slice into ½ inch wide strips. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil on medium-high. Add minced garlic and cook until garlic is softened and fragrant - about 30 seconds. Add broccoli leaves and stir to coat well with olive oil. Carefully add ¼ cup water, cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes, until the leaves turn bright green and tender. Remove pan from the heat, adding in salt and chili flakes before serving. Voila, a tasty side dish or starter!

Blended!

Broccoli leaves are a tough green similar to kale, cabbage and collards so you can use them anywhere you would use these greens, like smoothies! One of my favorite smoothie recipes involves only five ingredients: broccoli leaves, pineapple, mango, banana and almond milk! If you’re new to green smoothies or nervous about the taste, start off with a small handful of broccoli leaves and add more each time. The fruit masks the taste of the greens and adds a natural sweetness that even kids will love. Enjoy!

Have you ever cooked with broccoli leaves? Share your favorite recipes with us!

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