We are just getting into the first wave of the broccoli harvest and the eating has been pretty darn good this week! I've had broccoli, in one form or another, as the main component of at least 5 meals since Monday night, and based on the size of the heads still in the garden, that trend will likely continue right into the weekend.
This year the broccoli has been outstanding! From the health and size of the plants, to the condition and flavor of each head I've harvested, it's definitely been a great year for broccoli. Even with our recent heat wave, the heads have stayed beautifully compact and perfectly sweet--and outside of a couple of stray (early?) Japanese Beetles munching on the leaves, they've been completely pest free.
Letting a single bite of this garden treat go to waste would be a shame, so in the same spirit of some of my other no-waste kitchen gardening endeavors, I set out to use every last piece of the harvest.
Normally, when I buy a head of broccoli at the grocery store, I use only the florets and discard most of the stem, as the stems are usually hard and woody, and not very flavorful or enjoyable. But here's the thing with garden broccoli: the entire head of broccoli is tender and sweet, from top to bottom. In fact, they're so tender, I didn't even bother peeling the broccoli stems before using them.
As I trimmed off all of the florets of each head of broccoli I harvested this week, I collected the stem ends in a large zip lock bag in the refrigerator where they didn't have to wait too long before I had enough to make up a quick batch of broccoli slaw.
When I had stems from three heads (minus a little here and there that became a snack), I simply sliced the broccoli stems lengthwise into pieces that would fit through the top of the food processor and shredded them up. That's it. Easy peasy. I ended up with about 3-4 cups of broccoli slaw that can be dressed up in any number of ways for a quick, easy, and delicious no-fuss summer meal.
A few ideas for dressing up fresh broccoli slaw:
- Add or substitute broccoli slaw in your favorite classic coleslaw recipe. Combine it with shredded carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, red cabbage, or radishes for added color and flavor.
- Go for the flavors of the old potluck favorite and add crumbled bacon, raisins, and sunflower seeds with a creamy dressing. Put an extra twist on it by using toasted almonds or pecans instead of sunflower seeds and cranberries or currants instead of raisins, or add a few red onions or thin apple slices for some added crunch.
- Take some inspiration from your favorite Asian-inspired salads and add red cabbage, edamame, pea pods, scallions, sweet bell pepper, and toss with a sesame, ginger, or peanut dressing.
- Spice it up with jalapeno or serrano pepper, cilantro, green onion, and lime juice and use as a topping for fish tacos or veggie fajitas.
- Make it a garden veggie slaw by adding finely sliced zucchini, carrots, radishes, green beans, or whatever else you have in your garden harvest basket with fresh herbs and a light vinaigrette.
Labels: broccoli, recipes