I was making a vegetable stir-fry and about to dump 6 cups of cauliflower stems and collard spines into the compost when I had to question myself. What’s wrong with these parts of the vegetable? I tasted a cauliflower stem and it tasted fine, just as edible as plain raw cauliflower. I sliced all the odd pieces of my vegetable stir-fry into very thin pieces and added them in.
Frequently the parts we throw away are the most nutritious parts of the vegetables. We save the soft, sweet part of the celery, but throw away the strong fibrous leaves; toss the strong and nutritious orange peel and eat the sweet juicy insides.
Here’s my vegetable stir-fry from last night. I make some version of this a couple times a week, switching up the veggies and the sauce and from now on I’ll be adding every edible piece of the vegetables.
Curried Stems and Spines
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large onion
1 gold beet
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch collards
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
Sauté onions in coconut oil on medium in a large, wide bottom pan. Slice just the very rough skin off the beet, then chop beet into thin 1 inch squares and add to the onions. Put the lid on and continue to cook on medium stirring occasionally.
Chop the stem off the cauliflower and slice the ribs off the collards then chop in very thin slices and add to the pan. Sauté until stems and ribs are barely cooked.
Now add the pretty cauliflower florets and sauté until cooked, then add the pretty collards, sliced into 1 inch chunks.
Blend the coconut milk and curry separately, then pour half of it over the veggies and bring to a simmer then turn off.
Serve with extra curry sauce or soy sauce as desired.
I enjoy this as a main meal some days and add chicken, fish or beef on other days.