On a recent visit to my local Farmers' Market in Morristown, NJ, I saw one of the farmers tearing the big beautiful leaves of broccoli bunches off of the stalks, put them in a box and stash them underneath a table. I went up to him and said, "Excuse me, but what are you doing with all of those leaves?" To which he responded, "Throwing them out - nobody wants them and people complain that it adds too much weight to the broccoli making them more expensive." Well let me tell you that these people are missing out. While I couldn't take ALL of the broccoli leaves being tossed aside, I did manage to rescue some and I cannot wait to go back for more.
I would describe broccoli leaves as a cross between collard greens and kale -they are less tough and bitter than collard greens but a bit heartier than kale. And just like broccoli, they are super healthy packed with tons of nutrients including Vitamin C, Vitamin A, fiber, folate and potassium.
Similar to most leafy greens, they are very versatile and can be chopped and eaten raw in a salad, sautéed or my favorite preparation - roasted and turned into chips! If you ever come across these, I hope you will take them home too and give them a second chance
Broccoli Leaf Chips
4 cups torn broccoli leaves, washed and completely dried
1 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of fine sea salt plus another after roasting
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
Optional: chili powder such as Piment d'Espelette
Preheat oven to 300F.
Add broccoli leaves to medium bowl and toss with olive oil and salt until evenly coated. Spread leaves out on top of a rack on a cookie sheet, being careful that the leaves do not overlap (otherwise they won't get crispy). Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until crispy.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with another pinch of salt and grated lemon zest or other desired topping. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy on their own or as a crunchy topping to a grain bowl or salad.
Other optional toppings: ground cumin, smoked paprika, grated parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast