Most of us throw the broccoli stems straight into the food waste after we’ve finished separating and chopping the florets for whatever delicious recipe we’re making (side note: we highly recommend this vegan roasted lemony broccoli rigatoni). But it turns out, those stems can actually be put to good use, and can even form the basis of many delicious recipes on their own, including pesto and even fries. Want to learn more? Check out some of our favorite vegan broccoli stem recipes below. But first, what are the benefits of eating the stalk of this popular green vegetable?

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Can you eat broccoli stems?

Broccoli stems are often discarded unnecessarily, but they are perfectly edible. They have a slightly different texture compared to the florets, as they’re a little tougher and more fibrous. However, if you peel away the outer layer of the stem, you’ll find tender, nutritious plant flesh inside. In fact, the stalk of broccoli can be sliced, diced, chopped, and cooked in several ways (as you’ll find out below!).

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Broccoli stem benefits

In even more good news: broccoli stems are just as healthy as broccoli florets. They are a particularly good source of dietary fiber, which is important for supporting digestive health, as well as lowering cholesterol and feeding gut-friendly bacteria. “Fiber is important for keeping us regular as most of us know, but it’s also the foundation for a healthy gut,” Nichole Dandrea-Russert, MS, RDN, and author of The Fiber Effect, told VegNews. “A healthy gut leads to less acute and chronic inflammation, both in the gut and throughout the body.”

As well as that all-important fiber, broccoli stems also contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals, just like the florets. For example, they are a source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin A. All of which are important for our overall health. Plus, broccoli stems also contain phytonutrients, which are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. You can read all about the benefits of including more phytonutrients in your diet here.

7 ways to enjoy broccoli stems

Broccoli stems are an incredibly healthy addition to our plates, but they are also, thankfully, pretty tasty, too—especially when you know how to cook with them the right way. Find inspiration from some of our favorite vegan recipes below.

VegNews.broccolistemfries.plantyouPlantYou

1 Broccoli Stem Fries

Yep, it’s true: broccoli stems can be turned into crispy fries. Try it for yourself with this recipe from PlantYou, which calls for the stems to be peeled, sliced, and coated in almond milk and breadcrumbs. Honestly, they’re just as good as traditional potato fries, if not better.
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VegNews.stirfriedbroccolistems.kalynskitchenKalyn’s Kitchen

2 Stir-Fried Broccoli Stems

Arguably one of the best ways to cook broccoli stems is in a wok with plenty of spicy sauce, just like this recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen demonstrates. They’ll be crispy, succulent, and delicious, especially when served with a green onion garnish. For a little extra sustenance, cook up some spring rolls and tofu, too.
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VegNews.broccolistempesto.forkintheroadFork in the Road

3 Broccoli Stem Pesto

Pesto is typically made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese, but you can also make a delicious version with broccoli stems. This recipe from Fork in the Road will guide you through how to make a simple tasty version of the green dip by blending chopped stems, basil, nuts, garlic, olive oil, and vegan parmesan.
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VegNews.broccolistemsoup.cleananddeliciousClean and Delicious

4 Dairy-Free Broccoli Stem Soup

In less than 30 minutes, you can whip up this nutritious, light, refreshing bowl of broccoli stem soup for a lunchtime treat. Note: the recipe does mention chicken stock, but this can be easily swapped out for vegetable stock, or even just water.
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VegNews.broccolistalknamul.plantbasedmattersPlant Based Matters

5 Broccoli Stalk Namul

This flavorful side dish is inspired by Korean namul, which usually involves vegetables that have been cooked and seasoned with sesame oil, garlic, hot chili peppers, and soy sauce. It’s often made with spinach or bean sprouts, but, according to this recipe from Plant Based Matters, broccoli stalks also make the perfect base for the tasty dish, and we have to agree.
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VegNews.broccolirice.loveandlemonsLove & Lemons

6 Broccoli Rice

Move over cauliflower rice, it’s broccoli’s turn to shine. This broccoli rice from Love & Lemons, which is just pulsed broccoli (stems and all!), is a great nutritious addition to everything from burrito bowls to salads to stir-fries. If you want to add more flavor, you can pulse it with your favorite spices and seasonings, too.
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VegNews.broccolistalkpasta.thefirstmessThe First Mess

7 30-Minute Broccoli Basil Pasta

When it comes to creamy, nutritious, delicious pasta sauce, it’s hard to beat soaked and blended cashews—unless you blend them with broccoli stalks. That takes the much-loved dish to the next level, as this recipe from The First Mess demonstrates.
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