Cream of Broccoli Leaf Soup


When I first started growing broccoli, I couldn’t believe how big each plant got and how much space this crop took up in my garden! I had always just bought my broccoli from the store (often just the crowns), so I had no real concept of what an entire broccoli plant even looked like. 

So when it came time to harvest our first broccoli crop, I was a bit sad that so much of the plant went to waste when we harvested just the broccoli floret in the middle. The bulk of the plant was made up by the leaves, and as far as I knew at that time, the leaves weren’t edible.

Fast forward a few years later and I now know that broccoli leaves are not only edible, they’re delicious (and packed full of nutrients too). They taste pretty much just like the broccoli florets with just a leafier, um, texture. Sort of like kale. They’re fantastic sautéed up, dried and turned into powder or blended into this alternative take on cream of broccoli soup. And the best part is, I no longer waste half of my broccoli crop to the compost! No sir. We eat every edible part of the plant from the florets to the stalks to the leaves. 

This is by far my favourite way to enjoy broccoli leaves. I used to make cream of broccoli soup all the time (and I still do), but now I prefer to use the leaves if possible to make them stretch in this soup and use the florets in other ways. And it’s hard to even tell the difference between the standard cream of broccoli soup and this cream of broccoli leaf soup. In fact, I served it to my husband Ryan last night and he didn’t even notice I’d used leaves instead of florets.

But the biggest win for me is that my two-year-old daughter loves this soup so much she begs for more. Which is HUGE considering we are right in the thick of the “vegetable phobia” stage of life. She wouldn’t touch a broccoli leaf if I sautéed it and served it to her whole or in a stir-fry, but she loves the flavour of this soup and the broccoli leaves are blended right in so she’s oblivious to the fact that she’s actually eating vegetables.

But what to do if you don’t grow your own broccoli? Where do you go to find broccoli leaves?

Well, since there’s still some strange stigma that the leaves are somehow inferior to the florets, most markets discard them, which means you might be able to get your hands on some for free.

 

Related: How to Grow Broccoli From Seed

 

This rich and creamy broccoli leaf soup tastes just like traditional cream of broccoli soup, but utilizes the leaves of the broccoli plant instead!My local farm market has a bin labeled “greens” beneath the broccoli display, where shoppers discard the broccoli leaves they pull off of the florets. Last year I asked if I could have them and they were more than happy to give them to me for free. So go ahead and ask at your local market! Otherwise you’re just going to have to grow your own (which I always encourage).

Broccoli can be grown as a summer or fall crop, so chances are you could be harvesting some from your own garden in just a few months if you get started now.

If you’re really hard-pressed to find leaves, you can always sub out the leaves in this recipe for regular broccoli florets. This soup is delish either way. But if you are looking for a way to use up those broccoli leaves and let nothing go to waste, this is the recipe for you!

 

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HOMESTEADING
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NATURAL LIVING

4 Comments

  1. Brenda

    Can I use corn starch instead of flour? Gluten really upsets my stomach 🙁

    Reply
    • Tish Painter

      Hi Brenda,
      You could certainly use corn starch in this recipe but you will not get the same consistency of the soup as Anna did. And you would need to do the slurry method (corn starch in cool water and then add to your soup) as cornstarch isn’t a good substitute in a roux.

      But, you can use your favorite gluten free flour for the roux which usually works at a one-to-one ratio with regular flour. I have done that a time or two for my daughter and it has worked, giving a good “roux like” consistency in other dishes.

      Reply
  2. Marie

    Any chance you could amend your recipe to have an approx weight of the broccoli leaves? Or x number of cups? Since I am not growing the broccoli but relying on farmers markets I have no idea if the amount I have is close. I also don’t know how much florets to use if I sub out the leaves (or to supplement the little leaves I have).

    And 3 quarts broth plus a quart of cream? I guess this makes a bunch? 🙂

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Marie!

      I would estimate it at about 8 cups of chopped, packed leaves. Probably around 12 to 16 leaves or so, depending on size. If subbing florets, go for about the same amount (8 cups chopped florets or thereabouts).

      And yes, when I make soup I make a vat! This actually freezes pretty well too, even with the cream, although you could always add the cream in later. Or you can halve the recipe too:)

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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