We’ve always had this weird thing about broccoli stems, the part of broccoli that most people don’t eat and end up throwing away. In fact, people don’t eat it so much that most markets sell stem-less broccoli crowns for a price premium. Now, you already know we don’t mind paying a price premium, but the weird thing is, we actually like the tough exterior and superior crunch of the stems.
Unfortunately, we somehow believed that we were “wasting” space in out diets by eating the stems because even though they couldn’t possibly be bad for you, they, kind of like celery, iceberg lettuce, and Doritos, weren’t actually good for you. They just didn’t have any nutritional value.
Or so we thought. (And sorry, yes, we know, there has got to be some nutritional value to Doritos, right?)
Stems are almost identical in nutritional value to their dark, bumpy crowns, with the exception of vitamin A (much less vitamin A, it seems, but that’s easily made up elsewhere).
So though we don’t mind paying more for good foods that we like, we’re going to keep buying the entire broccoli, stem and all. Because we’ve also just discovered that the stems, with some antioxidant-heavy garlic and toasted walnuts, make one heck of a good pesto, too.
Broccoli Stem + Walnut Pesto
1 clove garlic
2-3 broccoli stems, cut into about ½-inch thick pieces
½ cup toasted walnuts
juice from half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse garlic in food processor until chopped. You may have to stop the food processor and push the little garlic bits down the sides.
Add broccoli stems and lemon juice and pulse until chopped. Add toasted walnuts and pulse again until chopped. With the food processor running, very slowly drizzle in olive oil until everything in the processor is the consistency of a pesto. You may need more or less of the olive oil depending on how many/how big your broccoli stems are.
Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few hard turns on a fresh black pepper mill. Adjust according to your taste. Remember that this is a pesto and should be strong and salty, since you will be mixing into pasta, grains, etc. We “thinned out the pesto with a tiny bit more olive oil and just straight dipped lightly steamed vegetables in it, including lightly steamed broccoli florets.
Broccoli-on-broccoli is exactly the kind of action we like.