QUESTION: Which parts of the cauliflower plant can I eat? Are the leaves edible? -Tim W
ANSWER: Indeed, all parts of the cauliflower are edible, including the stems and leaves. The outer layer of skin on the lower half of cauliflower stems are slightly tough, so they should be peeled before adding them to recipes. The top half of the stems, similar to broccoli, are actually quite tender and require no peeling. Cauliflower stems and leaves can also be added to soups, stews, and stocks. Grated cauliflower stems can be used to make coleslaw or simply tossed into a salad.
Cauliflower leaves are not only edible, but they are also healthy as well as surprisingly delicious, with a texture similar to kale, but with a sweeter flavor. Cauliflower leaves are an excellent source of iron, and they are also packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants.
If you are making a cauliflower dish, you can add in some stems and leaves to elevate the recipe by giving it some additional texture and flavor. Cauliflower leaves can also be made into a dish all by themselves. Toss them in olive oil, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast them at 400 degrees F until they are slightly crispy. The result will practically melt in your mouth. If you can’t come up with any dishes that you would like to try to incorporate your cauliflower leaves and stems into, you can always add them to the pot when making stock as a last resort. Wasting perfectly edible food is something we should always strive to avoid, especially when it’s something that is both wholesome and delicious. If you purchase a head of cauliflower and throw away the stems and the leaves, you will be tossing out around two thirds of the total product.
Can you eat cauliflower stalk?
Cauliflower stalk is perfectly edible, healthy, and delicious. Grate them and add them to salads or use them to make coleslaw, or add them to soups, stews, or vegetable stock. To prepare the stems, we recommend peeling and removing the outer skin, especially on the lower parts of the stalk. The stems that are nearest to the head are tender and do not need to be peeled before eating.