~ These Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Stalks disappear in a flash! They’re a terrific little snack, and also a perfect dinner side dish recipe. With just a couple of ingredients, they’re quick and easy, and they deliciously utilize a part of the vegetable that’s often otherwise discarded. Bonus: you get some really fun, random shapes, too – a lot of cute kid-allure to get your kiddos eating some more veggies! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Includes Make-Ahead Steps • Vegetarian (see note) • Gluten Free •
Hate throwing away money? (And food you’ve already paid for?)
So you’re basically a wise budgeter and earth-smart consumer … and also a card-carrying member of the foodie “In” club. You own that, right?!?
No doubt, if you read many food magazines or keep an eye on the restaurant scene, you’ve noticed: food waste is out, and using up every part of a vegetable (or animal) is definitely in – waaaaaay in.
Top chefs pride themselves on repurposing portions of ingredients that might previously have headed for the compost pile, even creating dishes that feature one single main ingredient, used in as many innovative ways as possible.
It’s a wonderful response to a growing global consciousness about the environment, and a desire to be more careful stewards of our food, farms and threatened natural resources.
These roasted broccoli stalks were one more tiny thing our family could do to be a part of all that. In much the same way that we use bits of leftover chicken to make our frozen dog treats and our baked dog biscuits … we also realized that roasting broccoli stalks into delicious chips was a great solution all around!
For one thing, they taste fantastic – surprisingly delicious for just a few basic ingredients! Salty parmesan cheese is exactly the right counterpoint to the warm, roasted broccoli. The only other ingredients you need are a little olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. So simple!
Plus they’re really nutritious. I mean … we’re talking broccoli here, after all!
And, we’re saving those broccoli stalks from being wasted.
Because my family frequently makes our beloved Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta, I often have broccoli stalks left over. Lots of ’em! And, with all the terrific feedback we’ve gotten from friends and relatives about that particular pasta recipe, I knew you guys might have small mountains of broccoli stalks in your own kitchens, too.
No worries – you can enjoy that scrumptious pasta one night, and save the broccoli stalks for a snack or easy side dish later in the week. Bonus!
So … ya ready to get started? Let’s do this!
Peeling and Slicing Your Broccoli Stalks
I usually grab a vegetable peeler to remove the tough outer layer from the broccoli stalks.
The stems are generally pretty tender up near the florets, but I definitely like to peel away the outer layer where it gets thicker and tougher, further down near the base of each broccoli stalk.
After peeling, I thinly chop the stalks to create “chips” that are about 1/8″ thick.
(Just a note: these don’t really get crunchy like a true “chip.” We roast them just long enough to get some caramelized brown spots and create that deeper roasted flavor, but we’re not going for crispy-crunchy texture here.)
A Fun Way to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables
What’s really fun (and ultra kid-appealing!) are the random, quirky shapes you get as you slice the broccoli up near the florets at the top of each stalk.
Just like with clouds in the sky, you and your little ones can try to figure out what all those crazy shapes actually are (space invaders? teddy bears?). And you might be delighted to find that the kiddos are suddenly a bit more excited about eating some veggies, too!
Hey, hey … another victory!
We’ve saved broccoli stalks from the compost heap, and also gotten kiddos to eat more veggies. If you’re keeping score, we are definitely winning today!
And check this out …
I almost edited this photo because every time I looked at it, I saw a turtle (possibly a swimming turtle??). But then I realized that the whole turtle-shaped-broccoli thing going on here was actually so fun!
I swear I didn’t strategically place those bits of black pepper. Just a lucky accident that those specks happened to fall perfectly into place as an eye and a little turtle mouth! What kid could resist?!?
Tips for Perfect Roasted Broccoli Stalks
1. Simplicity – Once you’ve got your broccoli stalks peeled and adorably (see turtle above!) sliced, they just need a quick toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Seriously simple. That’s really all it takes to create roasty-toasty-delicious magic in the oven.
You’ve heard me get gushy before about how much I love roasting vegetables. You remember … our “I’m-fantasizing-about-it-this-very-minute” Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta, and also our super-popular Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic Browned Butter. To name just a couple.
Oh yeah – and those roasted potatoes in our Irish Nachos. Definitely some serious roasted veggie magic happening there!
Uh-huh. You hear me.
Roasting is magical. Really simple … really delicious.
It makes veggies taste amazing (so your family eats a ton of them, and you feel like a nutrition superhero). ‘Nuff said.
2. Lotsa Real Estate – Just like with any other veggies you roast, a major key to success is making sure you spread them out on the baking sheet.
Remember the discussion about veggie real estate when we were roasting potatoes for our Cheesy Pizza Fries? Broccoli stalks like their space, too. If you pile them on top of each other, they’ll tend to steam rather than roasting, and you won’t get the same result, or all those pretty, toasty brown spots that indicate maximum yum-ness.
Real estate … spread ’em out!
3. The Perfect Cheese – Once your roasted broccoli stalks are nearly at peak perfection, you flip them and stir them (spreading them back out again!), and add the final flourish – salty, cheesy, delicious parmesan!
We’ve tried making this recipe with cheddar, too, but parmesan was the clear winner for us (we were surprised!). It only takes a tiny bit of cheese to yield a big flavor impact.
After a couple more finishing minutes in the oven, that parmesan is an irresistible combination of melted and toasted. And soooooo good, my friends.
These disappear almost as soon as I set them on the table.
As in … we typically scarf down every last roasted broccoli chip before we even get around to dishing up the rest of the meal! You know I don’t make this stuff up … happened again just last night. A mini feeding frenzy where we sometimes need to count fingers once it’s over. (Ok … I’m kidding a little bit about that last part. But only a little!)
Seriously though … these are that good!
Need More Ideas for What To Do with Broccoli Stalks?
Guys, I really, really want you to make these. We love them, and you will too!
But, I also want you to get inspired in thinking about ways to avoid food waste, whether you’re using this particular recipe or not.
So, what else can you do with broccoli stalks?
Consider them to be part of the broccoli! If you’re making a broccoli salad for a picnic, for example … why stop at including only the florets? Dice the stalks, and toss them in, too!
Or, you could slice the stalks and sauté them with other veggies, chop them for stir fries or soups … again, pretty much anywhere you can imagine using the florets.
Just remember that the broccoli stalks have a different texture (you know … more solid and less floret-y), and they may also have a slightly different cooking time. But beyond that … get creative, and you’ll cash in on great nutrition, without throwing out a perfectly good part of a vegetable that you already spent money to purchase!
But really, first off … make these Parmesan Roasted Broccoli Stalks. It’ll probably be the only “use-up-that-broccoli” recipe idea you’ll ever need!
- 2 cups peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8" thick) broccoli stalks (see note)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (see note)
Preheat oven to 475°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl (or directly on the parchment-lined baking sheet), toss broccoli stalks with olive oil, salt, and pepper, making sure that the broccoli is thoroughly coated and the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed. Spread broccoli slices out evenly on the baking sheet, making sure the slices aren't piled on top of each other.
Bake for about 13 minutes, until the broccoli has developed some roasted brown spots.
Remove broccoli from oven, stir and flip the broccoli, and then spread the broccoli back out on the baking sheet. Evenly top each broccoli slice with some of the cheese.
Return broccoli to oven and bake for about 2 minutes more, just until the cheese is melted and a little browned and bubbly.
Broccoli stalks: To yield 2 cups of slices, you will need about 4-7 stalks, depending on how thick the stalks are and how far up each stalk you use.
Peeling the stalks: We use a vegetable peeler to quickly and easily remove the tough outer layer of the stalks. The stalks tend to be tougher at the bottom and require little or no peeling as you get toward the top, where the florets were. We don't recommend putting the peels down your garbage disposal.
Parmesan Cheese: To make this pasta recipe truly vegetarian, be sure to select a parmesan cheese made with non-traditional enzyme alternatives from microbes or fermentation, rather than the traditional rennet.
Make-ahead step: You can peel the broccoli stalks and slice the "chips" earlier in the day or even a day ahead. Wrap the slices tightly (so they don't dry out) and store them in the fridge until you're ready to finish the recipe.