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Many people will simply cut the florets off the top of the broccoli, and then throw out the stem, thinking it is too chewy or tasteless to eat. This is not the case, however, and there are many ways to use the nutritious and tasty broccoli stem with a little extra effort. The first step in every case is simply to peel it using a knife or a vegetable peeler. Then it may be roasted or steamed just like broccoli florets, tossed into a stir fry, or blended into a filling broccoli soup.
The broccoli stem is often perceived as too tough to eat, with good reason. The outer portion of the broccoli stem actually is quite tough and stringy, and would not be very good to eat; this layer is relatively thin, however. Simply stripping it off with a knife or a vegetable peeler will reveal a softer stem underneath, similar to the smaller stems found on the broccoli florets. This portion is just as nutritious as the rest of the broccoli, loaded with nutrients and fiber, and may even be eaten raw or with some flavored dip for a quick and easy snack.
Of course, there are a number of other ways to use the broccoli stem as well. Once cut into bite-sized pieces or strips, it is very good cooked in a stir fry with other vegetables, meat, or tofu. Many people will roast it with a bit of olive oil and flavorings such as fresh garlic. For a simple, healthy option, it may be steamed and eaten plain, either with a bit of water in the microwave or on top of a double boiler on the stove. As a general rule, the peeled broccoli stem can be cooked any way that broccoli florets would be cooked.
Another very popular way to use the broccoli stem is with different varieties of soup. It may be used in bite-sized pieces in a mixed vegetable soup, and will add some texture just like celery often does. Another option is to blend the broccoli stem in a food processor and use it to prepare cream of broccoli soup, or a similar soup using mixed cheeses. It is easy to experiment with various recipes, and, once blended, the flavor of the broccoli will blend seamlessly into the soup. Most people will certainly not be able to tell if the stem or the florets were used.
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