Cooking with Alison

How to Cook Broccoli Leaves

In How-To, Sides and Sauces on August 1, 2014 at am


Did you know that you can eat broccoli leaves?  Until I started growing broccoli in my garden, I had no idea 1. what a broccoli plant looked like and 2. that the large leaves were edible and delicious.  You can cook them the same way you would cook collard greens.  Simply remove the stems and thick ribs, chop the leaves up as desired (I like to roll the leaves up and then slice them thinly crosswise), and then you can steam them, boil them, grill them, saute or stir fry them.  You can add them to soup and you can even use them, in lieu of cabbage leaves, to make rolls.  Young and tender broccoli leaves can also be eaten raw in salads.  On a side note, if you are planning on growing your own organic broccoli, be warned that they become infested with hundreds of tiny gray bugs and spiders.  We were too disgusted to eat any of the broccoli crowns, even though they had the most rich broccoli flavour I’ve ever tasted.  We will never plant broccoli again!


My favourite way to cook collard greens and broccoli leaves is to saute them with bacon and garlic.  Cook 4 slices of smoked bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until crispy.  Remove the pieces of bacon, break them up into small pieces and set aside.  Add minced garlic and sliced broccoli leaves to the hot pan with bacon grease.  Cook, stirring frequently until the broccoli leaves are tender and still a bit crisp.  Add salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, add a small splash of vinegar.  Continue to stir until all of the vinegar has evaporated (if using).  Stir in the crispy bacon pieces and serve immediately.

  1. Great point – broccoli leaves are a perfect example of what we miss when we are separated from where our food originates. I found just the same things when I grew them as well. Thanks for sharing this. ^.^

  2. How interesting! Next time I grow them or know someone who does,(my son did last year),I’ll be sure to scavenge the leaves!

  3. A great way to avoid those pest on your broccoli, and all your garden, is a diy insectacidal soap spray. Water 85%, rubbing alcohol 15% and a small amount of dish soap. (Figure out the exact oz depending how big a spray bottle you’re using) I would spray anywhere from once a week to less as needed. It WORKS on everything! Just don’t spray the tops of your flowers, if any, so you don’t harm your pollinators. Took care of my caterpillar and spider mite problem quick. 🙂 Happy growing!

  4. If you soak the crowns & leaves in salt water to take care of any critters or worms

  5. Thanks for the notes on the bugs. I’m growing broccoli for the first time. I guess I will just eat the young broccoli leaves. I haven’t sprayed any of my plants. Last year, my first time growing veggies, toward the end of Summer/early Fall, I did see a lot of white bugs stuck to the lettuce. Gross!!! Thank you so much for the note in the bugs and cooking recipe.

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