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
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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