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Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Are you looking to reduce your food waste AND save money on groceries? It’s time to try cooking with broccoli stems! Read on for a delicious broccoli stem stir fry recipe!

Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

If the prices at the grocery store are getting between you and your dream of that 6-day, 7-night trip to Costa Rica, then you aren’t alone. Vegetables, especially organic ones, can take a bite out of your budget.
What if I told you every time you toss your broccoli stems in the compost, you’re actually throwing away money AND an extra serving (or three) of tasty, healthy vegetables. That’s right, folks, you can eat the broccoli stalk. 

I was about 30 years old before I realized that, so don’t feel bad if you just got woke to the big wide world of chomping on broccoli stems. Welcome. It’s a very hip and crunchy (get it?) place here.

Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Before we dive into this yummy, spicy stir fry recipe, let’s touch on why you should consider eating broccoli stems. (This logical argument first appeared in my kitchen when I surprised the heck out of my poor husband with broccoli stems in a soup several years ago.): 

  • The broccoli stalk contains just as many nutrients as the florets.
  • According to Livestrong.com, broccoli stems contain vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, B1, B2, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, fiber, and folate.
  • You’ve already paid for the whole vegetable. Why only eat half?
  • Approximately one-third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten and is instead discarded as food waste.
  • Food waste has long-reaching environmental impacts, including 1) excessive agricultural runoff from farming, 2) use of energyand related carbon emissions to grow, harvest, process, transport, package, and refrigerate food, 3) spoiled food occupying landfills, and 4) needless waste from food packaging.
Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Also, this recipe is so easy to throw together; it’s the perfect weeknight panic side dish or last-minute date night main. It’s quick, crunchy, and packed with nutritious vegetables. It saves you money, and it keeps food out of the composter. What more could you ask for?

Alright, enough of the chatter. You’re here to learn what in the world to do with broccoli stems, other than gnaw on them like Bugs Bunny. On your mark, get set, stir fry! 

Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Stir-Fried Broccoli Stem Recipe with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Active time: 7 minutes

Serves 4

Note: I wrote this recipe as a vegetable side, which would be delicious served with chicken, shrimp, or steak. The broccoli will be pleasantly crisp-tender, about like the texture of water chestnuts, when you’re finished.

This stir fry is also quite tasty tossed with hot noodles or rice! The spicy peanut sauce makes a substantial enough portion to accommodate those modifications to the recipe or use with fresh spring rolls later in the week.

Ingredients for Stir-Fried Broccoli Stalks with Spicy Peanut Sauce

For the stir-fry:

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ medium white onion, sliced or chopped to ½ to 1-inch pieces for a stir fry
  • 3 cups of sliced peeled broccoli stems, process detailed below
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil for stir-frying
  • 1 spicy peanut sauce recipe (below)
Spicy Peanut Sauce

For the spicy peanut sauce:

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • Splash of water 
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon of sriracha, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

Optional finishes:

  • Sesame seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Lime slices
  • Sriracha
  • Soy sauce

To prep your broccoli stems:

  • Remove florets and reserve for another use
  • Remove the bottom 1 to 1 ½ inches of your broccoli stalks and discard. This part is too tough to eat. If you’re putting your whole body weight on the knife to cut through your broccoli, move a little higher on the stem.
  • Using a potato peeler, remove the tough outer “skin” from your broccoli stalks. It will be fibrous and stiff, revealing a much softer core underneath. This part doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. It’s most important for the thickest part of your broccoli stems, at the bottom where it was cut from the root.
  • Slice your broccoli stem into ½ inch rounds.

How to Make Stir-Fried Broccoli Stems with Peanut Sauce

  1. Combine all the ingredients for your peanut sauce in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. If your sauce has the texture of cement, add a bit more water. Mine was about the consistency of hummus. Remember that it will spread through your hot vegetables more easily because of the temperature. Set your sauce aside.
  2. Add the cooking oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat over high heat until the oil shimmers. 
  3. Add the broccoli stems and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the red pepper and onion, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from heat and toss with ¾ cup of spicy peanut sauce, or to taste.
  7. Optional: Serve the vegetables over marinated, grilled chicken or mix them with rice or hot noodles as the main course, adding additional peanut sauce as needed!
Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Cooking with Broccoli Stems: Broccoli Stem Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

All photos from Reese Moore Photography.

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About the Author

Reese Moore

Reese Moore is a photographer, content creator, and pickle connoisseur who divides time between Charleston and Lake Lure. When she’s not behind the lens shooting stunning images for Reese Moore Photography, Reese loves to spend her time wandering the woods with her dog Gatsby or adventuring with her husband Logan in their Airstream Basecamp.

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Broccoli Stem Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Are you looking to reduce your food waste AND save money on groceries? It’s time to try cooking with broccoli stems! Read on for a delicious broccoli stem stir fry recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped in 1-inch pieces
  • ½ medium white onion, sliced or chopped to ½ to 1-inch pieces for a stir fry
  • 3 cups of sliced peeled broccoli stems, process detailed below
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil for stir-frying
  • 1 spicy peanut sauce recipe (below)

Instructions

  1. To prepare broccoli stems, remove florets and reserve for another use
  2. Remove the bottom 1 to 1 ½ inches of your broccoli stalks and discard. This part is too tough to eat. If you’re putting your whole body weight on the knife to cut through your broccoli, move a little higher on the stem.
  3. Using a potato peeler, remove the tough outer “skin” from your broccoli stalks. It will be fibrous and stiff, revealing a much softer core underneath. This part doesn’t have to be absolutely perfect. It’s most important for the thickest part of your broccoli stems, at the bottom where it was cut from the root.
  4. Slice your broccoli stem into ½ inch rounds.
  5. Add the cooking oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat over high heat until the oil shimmers. 
  6. Add the broccoli stems and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the red pepper and onion, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from heat and toss with ¾ cup of spicy peanut sauce (see separate recipe), or to taste.
  10. Optional: Serve the vegetables over marinated, grilled chicken or mix them with rice or hot noodles as the main course, adding additional peanut sauce as needed!

Notes

The following ingredients make great optional finishes

  • Sesame seeds
  • Cilantro
  • Lime slices
  • Sriracha
  • Soy sauce
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 615mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes

This spicy peanut sauce is delicious and easy to make. It pairs perfectly with the low waste broccoli stem stir-fry recipe.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • Splash of water 
  • ½ - 1 tablespoon of sriracha, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • Juice from ½ a lime
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients for your peanut sauce in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. If your sauce has the texture of cement, add a bit more water.

Notes

My sauce was about the consistency of hummus. Remember that it will spread through your hot vegetables more easily because of the high temperature.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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