Every once and a while, some veggie pops up and attempts to take on the title of “the new kale.” Seasoned vegans know that nothing can truly replicate kale’s awesomeness, but you really can’t pass up the opportunity to try those other leafy greens that are supposedly so amazing.
- A high amount of vitamin K (found abundantly in dark leafy greens and necessary for both bone and blood health)
- 100% daily value of vitamin C per serving (move over, oranges!)
- A decent dose of the carotenes that the body uses to make vitamin A
- 30% daily value of calcium per serving
- A decent bit of folate and potassium
Suffice it to say, BroccoLeaf deserves a spot among the green leafys we’ve come to know and love. And bonus–it’s organic!
I’ll admit right up front that, when Foxy first contacted me asking if I’d like to try BroccoLeaf, I thought the idea of the retail sale of broccoli leaves was a bit silly. I’ve been eating the leaves off broccoli for ages, ever since I found out that they, along with the leaves of cauliflower, are not only edible but also delicious. What BroccoLeaf does is take the idea to a new level. Instead of stripping the leaves off stalks of broccoli and having to settle for whatever you get, you can use full-sized leaves to make all kinds of great green side dishes.
The leaves come in nice large bunches so you have quite a lot to work with. I got two to try and they weighed between eight and nine ounces each. The leaves remind me a bit of a cross between dinosaur kale and collards both in shape and color. BroccoLeaf has a pleasant crunch when raw or cooked that would go well in any recipe calling for either of those greens. I’m even betting it would be good in smoothies, though I didn’t try it that way.
Of course, you can also use BroccoLeaf in recipes specially made for it, like this one adapted from Chef Andrew Hunter! With bright green leaves and festive bits of roasted butternut squash, it makes a great holiday side dish. (You can eat it the rest of the year, too. Because it’s so good!)
The original recipe called for leaving the stems out of the dish, but I found that they were perfectly good when chopped up and thrown in with the rest of the ingredients. It’s a super-simple recipe that only requires a bit of chopping, then it cooks itself as both the squash and the BroccoLeaf roast slowly in the oven. Dust it with a little nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan and you have yourself a delightfully colorful dish with a combination of savory and sweet flavors to complement any meal.
Caramelized Butternut Squash and Roasted BroccoLeaf “Noodles”
shared with permission from Foxy Produce
adapted by Quantum Vegan
This is the perfect autumn dish for weekday meals or special occasions. It’s even a great side to bring along to holiday potlucks. Butternut squash has lots of natural sugars, which caramelize during roasting … added together with the BroccoLeaf “Noodles” equals delicious!
1 bunch BroccoLeaf
1 small butternut squash (about 2 cups after chopping)
2 tablespoons minced or sliced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking dish with parchment paper or a nonstick liner.
Remove the stems from the BroccoLeaf by firmly grasping the stem in one hand and cupping your other hand around the leaf. Pull the leaf off the stem in one quick motion. Chop the stems and set aside. Roll the trimmed leaves lengthwise so they resemble a rolled cigar. Holding the roll with one hand, slice the leaves crosswise into thin ½” wide “noodles”.
Peel the butternut squash and carefully cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut lengthwise into ½” thick ribs. Cut the ribs crosswise into ½” squares. Place the squash cubes in the prepared pan and roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender and caramelized. Remove the pan from the oven and add the BroccoLeaf “noodles,” stems and garlic, stir and put back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the BroccoLeaf is wilted and tender.
Remove the pan from the oven, sprinkle with vegan Parmesan or nutritional yeast and fresh parsley. Season with pepper to taste, stir and serve!
I served my roasted BroccoLeaf and butternut with mini quiches from Happy Herbivore’s latest book and a chopped tomato salad. It’s a very versatile recipe; you could add chickpeas and serve it over quinoa or rice to make a full meal, roast some tempeh cubes in with it or saute seitan chunks separately on the stovetop to be added at the end. The earthy, slightly sweet taste of the leaves is just different enough from other greens to be a pleasant change from “the norm.”
I give BroccoLeaf two thumbs up! Though I don’t believe anything can be “the new kale,” it can certainly hold its own among the already super selection of leafy greens out there. If you spot it at the local supermarket, give it a try! It just might become a new favorite at your table.