I mentioned the other day that I was in the market and got a huge amount of free cauliflower stems and leaves, as they simply toss the lower part of the cauliflowers since people aren't interested in buying them. In fact, half of my upper shelf in my fridge right now is filled with cauliflower parts, and that is after already cooking up a lot of them in various ways. I had a lot of produce that I needed to deal with, so I was looking for some cheap and easy ways to use up my cauliflower leaves.
I decided upon cauliflower leaf chips and they came out deliciously, while being very easy and cheap to prepare.
Like kale chips, these are cauliflower leaves baked until crispy, so that the leaves crunch like potato chips. The difference between these and kale chips (other than price, of course) is that these have a thick midrib in the middle, which, in my opinion, is the tastiest part!
I made these simply by taking the leaves, rubbing them with oil and seasoning, and baking until cooked. The hardest part of making them was cutting the leaves off the stem, which means it was super easy to make.
Cauliflower leaves are not bitter, and the midrib when cooked ends up with a mildly sweet taste, cauliflower taken to the max.
I highly recommend this recipe. The biggest downside of it really is that they should be eaten right away. The leaves lose their crispiness if they aren't fresh.
I made mine without any complex seasonings last time I made them, but you can use any herbs or spices you like, or even things like nutritional yeast to give them that extra umph of flavor if you like (but completely not needed as they taste great even plain).
If you don't have a market near you where they throw out these leaves, you can ask your green grocer what they do with theirs. And if they won't give them to you free or sell them cheaply, you can make these with the leaves that come attached to the cauliflower you buy, instead of tossing them.
You can make this exact same recipe with broccoli leaves as well, I just don't see them throwing them out locally, since broccoli isn't as widespread here as cauliflower.
You can also make these with beet greens, swiss chard, collard greens, and bok choy, they just won't be nearly free like these are.
Cauliflower Leaf Chips Recipe - Vegan, Paleo, and DeliciousIngredients:
Cauliflower leaves, broccoli leaves, or other leaves of choice
Oil of choice
Hot pepper or an alternative (I used ground foraged monk's peppercorns, also known as vitex seeds, but any type of pepper is fine, and it can even be left out)
Spices or herbs of choice (optional)
1. Separate your cauliflower leaves or broccoli leaves from their stem.
2. Pour a little oil on your leaves- just a tiny little drizzle, enough so that they all get some oil on them but aren't dripping with oil.
3. Season with salt and spices as desired. Just remember that the leaves get smaller when baked so the flavor on them gets more concentrated, whereas the midribs do not, so put more seasoning and salt on the midribs than on the leaves themselves.
4. Lay out flat on an oven tray so that the leaves do not overlap each other.
5. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 minutes or until the leaves are crispy, but more importantly, until the midribs are browned and softened.
6. The leaves with thinner midribs can be eaten as is, enjoying the contrast of crispy edges and softer centers. For the leaves with the thicker midribs, first eat the crispy edges, and then after, eat the midribs like you would artichoke leaves, scraping out the delicious softer flesh with your teeth, and leaving the fibrous parts behind.
Note: If you don't mind a bit of extra work, you can cut the midribs off the leaves, and then bake them separately, cutting their fibrous parts off them first if you prefer.
Have you ever cooked cauliflower leaves before? What way have you made them? Are you able to get them free, as I can, or do you just use what comes with your cauliflower heads?
If you've made kale or other greens as chips, what seasonings do you enjoy on them?
Does this look like a recipe you'd try?