Like most people, I’ve gone the vast majority of my life without even considering that you might be able to eat cauliflower leaves. When I’ve previously bought cauliflowers from the supermarket, they’ve barely had any leaves to speak of and I’ve never managed to successfully grow my own because the little plants kept getting obliterated by slugs.
It was only when I went to the market the other day for a ‘DIY veg box’ that I received an actual, real-life cauliflower. Not a perfectly manicured version of a cauliflower – a real cauliflower. With all its leaves.
It was only then, when I was looking at the leaves, that I realised how similar they are to cabbage and wondered why the hell I’d never cooked them.
It seems bizarre to me that we go out and buy a leaf-stripped cauliflower and then go looking for additional leafy greens, when we could just buy a bloody cauliflower with the leaves on!?
I guess it’s the same with carrots. All our supermarket carrots are topless. (Ahem!) We buy carrots and then go looking to buy something else like… a bunch of parsley, when we could just buy the carrots with their tops on and save ourselves the bother. (To me carrot tops taste suspiciously like parsley).
But anyway… bafflement aside… cauliflower leaves are actually really tasty when roasted until crispy with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. The stalks taste a bit like actual cauliflower, but the leafy parts taste kind of like that crispy fried ‘seaweed’ that you get from Chinese takeaways. Really yummy!
They’re great as a snack, either on their own or alongside some Szechuan fried cauliflower. And, obviously, eating cauliflower leaves saves you the bother of buying a cabbage.
- Cauliflower leaves
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Trim off the woodiest parts of the stalks (or don’t, but just don’t bother eating them).
Wash the leaves. Pat dry and arrange on a baking tray.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 5-10 minutes or until the leaves are crispy.