It is kind of annoying to buy broccoli and pay per weight when there's this huge and heavy stem, so I was wondering what I could do with it?

I know that it can be cut and steamed/cooked like the rest of the sprouts, but are there any specialities for it?

  • Many places also sell just the crowns (florets). It's a little more, I haven't tried to do the math to see which is more economical if you don't use the stalks. That could be an option if you usually just through the stalks out. Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 0:05
  • 1
    If you are so inclined, broccoli stalks make create chew treats for dogs.
    – Jenn
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 18:29
  • Same thing I do with all brassicas, dispose of them safely and redouble efforts to have them banned. ;-)
    – Orbling
    Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 0:08

9 Answers 9


Just slice it into thin discs (a mandoline is quick) and the kids use it as chips'n'dip. Try some natural or Greek style yoghurt and whole seed mustard as a dip. Very crunchy and tasty

If the skin is dry or blotchy I quickly run the potato peeler over it first

Otherwise, just grating it into soups or stews is a nice vegetable filler

EDIT Doh, forgot the best thing to use it for Coleslaw, it replaces cabbage perfectly. Or you can mix cabbage and broccoli. Just coarse grate it with some carrot, onion. Blend it up with a little mayo and yoghurt, or lemon juice and olive oil. Add some ground fennel and cumin seeds or some chopped mint for extra zing


In the winter I use it to make broccoli cheese soup. I actually think the heavy stem makes for a better texture than the tops (they get very mushy).

  • the stalks also last a while, so I can save a few and make a big batch of soup. I put a bit of the floret in too, mostly just for visual appeal.
    – Manako
    Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 19:51

Shave the stalk with a vegetable peeler and quarter it lengthwise. I then use the quartered stalk pieces as a platform on which to set the florets for steaming. The stalk pieces are immersed in the boiling water while the boiling water steams the florets, resulting in perfectly done florets and stalks after about 5 minutes or so.

  • The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook suggests this method as well.
    – justkt
    Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 14:54

When cooking the stalk, you should peel the outside first (just use a swivel peeler and take the outer skin off) before slicing it up. The outer layer can be a bit tough. Also, be sure to cut it fairly thin so it will cook at the same time as the florets.

  • 2
    An alternative peeling method that works well is to use a paring knife, cut into the base with the knife, and holding the little flap of broccoli "skin", peel it back until it breaks off. Do again with the next part around the base, continuing until you've removed one full outside layer. You'll be removing the woodiest part of the outside stem, leaving the tender heart. Chop and cook with the florets, or, if the pieces are thick, start them a little ahead of the florets so they are all done at once. By the way, this is way easier to do than to describe. Commented Nov 30, 2010 at 2:29
  • Agreed on the peeling (I use the same technique as Doug), but rather than cut it thin, I saute the stalk first, then add florets, throw some water in the pan and lid it to steam the florets; when doing stir fry, I add the stem w/ the carrots and harder veg. then the florets and leaves towards the end.
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 1, 2010 at 2:21

If I have a few of them knocking about I'll stickem into stock, either vegetable (along with carrot peelings, onions scraps and anything else that would go to waste (except potato skins which make your stock very cloudy), or chicken if I've got a carcass going spare.

  • Won't this make your stock bitter? Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:02
  • I've not had any issues really.
    – NBenatar
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 17:47

I have to confess, I tend to cut them into chunks and eat them raw, while cooking the rest of the dinner. If you cut them into strips, I'm sure they'd make a good crunchy alternative to carrot/celery etc for dips.

Or, leave the broc whole, and stand it up in a narrow pan with enough water to cover most of the stem, and the lid on. The florets steam, the stem boils, and you can eat the whole thing.


Once peeled and sliced, they can be steamed, stir fried, or used in salads. I've heard broccoli stems called the poor man's asparagus.


You can peel them, dip in egg wash and then breadcrumbs and fry: really good vegetable chips

For a broccoli and cheese soup, I use Gordon Ramsey's recipe + 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, peel the stems first, and chop very finely, it helps the stalks cook faster. I reserve a few florets for garnish.

You can also use the stalks in place of asparagus. Slice stalks asparagus shape, roast on high heat with a little olive oil/garlic powder. Serve with hollandaise sauce.

Or you can use it like peas: peel the stalks, blanch until just tender but still a little crisp. Drain and mix with a little butter and LOTS of parmesan cheese and black pepper.

Also use in place of cabbage in a quick cole slaw, i use a vinaigrette rather than mayo and pair with bbq chicken sandwiches


I like to peel them, cut them in cubes and fry them together with carrot cubes. Once they're done, I flavor with a little pepper and salt (not much). The real kicker is mixing some apple vinegar with sugar and pour that in the frying pan once the stuff is done. Don't continue to heat now, that will make it loose it's sourness.

Very delicious imho.

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