Cauliflower florets have a mild flavor, making them a perfect food for kids or adults who have difficulty eating vegetables. However, there is one thing we all tend to do when preparing cauliflower. We remove and discard the leaves. But, in reality, is this a good gesture? Can we eat the cauliflower leaves instead? The answer is yes! These leaves are edible and can be eaten in the same way as other leafy green vegetables. Then, we explain how to cook them to get the most out of them.
What is eaten in cauliflower? Are cauliflower leaves edible?
Yes, you can eat cauliflower leaves. They are just as edible as the stalks or florets of this vegetable that we usually cook in cauliflower gratin or cauliflower rice. They are also versatile ingredient that adds a savory flavor to many dishes. To make these, we peel the outer ‘skin’ off the stalk and discard it as it can be a bit tough, but everything is perfectly delicious after that! Here are our favorite recipes to try.
What do cauliflower leaves taste like?
Cauliflower leaves have a slightly different taste and texture depending on which part you eat. The leaves closest to the heart have more fibers and a more rigid surface. When cooked, the stricter stem and leaves are similar in texture to leeks but taste like cauliflower.
The leaves are a bit more bitter than other parts of the vegetable and have a flavor that could be likened to kale. However, if you don’t like that bitterness, don’t worry: you can add seasonings, and you’ll soon have a delicious treat that you can enjoy as a snack or as part of a meal.
Although you can eat them raw if you want, the best way to enjoy your cauliflower leaves is to cook them. Take a look at these ideas.
In the oven
There’s nothing like roasted cauliflower leaves for a delicious snack or side dish. The latter become crispy and have a texture and taste similar to kale chips. The stalks have a little more tartness, but they are just as delicious.
To prepare the leaves, cut off the woody ends of the stem, wash them quickly, then throw them in a bowl or plastic bag with oil and spices. Add garlic, chili, paprika, cumin, or any other flavor.
Then, place the oiled leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 200°C until they blacken and become crispy about 15 minutes. Or, if you’ve already heated the barbecue, place the larger leaves directly on a high-heat grill or grill pan.
Roast or steam the cauliflower leaves until tender enough to eat. From there, toss the leaves with florets or other roasted vegetables as a side dish to your main meal. Then, serve them under a juicy piece of meat, fish, or cauliflower steak.
Another method, although not very popular, is adding leaves to your juicer and making juice. Finally, you can mix some cauliflower leaves with your other ingredients if you prefer healthy fall smoothies.
Preheat a ventilated oven to 200°C. Toss the cauliflower leaves with olive oil and sea salt and roast them for 12-15 minutes. Gently heat the vegetable broth on the stove. Remove the sheets from the oven. Put the leaves and stem, a crushed clove of garlic, and the herbs of your choice in a food processor. Add the broth and mix. Season to taste and serve.
Chop 3 cloves of garlic in a food processor. Add 35g pine nuts, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper until coarsely ground. Add 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 25g grated vegan cheese, 10g cauliflower leaves, 60g fresh basil, and 3 tbsp fresh parsley. With the robot still running, pour 90-120ml of olive oil through the hole in the top—store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for one week or in the freezer for three months.
Leafy greens stay fresh longer if rinsed, wrapped in a paper towel or dishtowel, and refrigerated in a sealed plastic container or bag. This is also the case with cauliflower leaves. Besides, you can also freeze or blanch them.