just in case you obtain a large number of cauliflower leaves, i now present a soy, garlic, and onion roasting recipe

so much to post! so little time! i’ve got about eight posts full of deliciousness on the way – some promised videos of donuts and japanese pancakes, a secret supper, more market visits, and the world’s hottest hamburger – so get excited. but alas, bed and anna karenina are calling at the moment, so i’ll leave you with the perfect recipe should you ever find yourself in possession of an abundance of cauliflower leaves. you never know…

it’s originally from the fabulous eat.drink.better, so go read it there and support sustainable eating! yum!


Until I started receiving local British vegetables through my organic veg box scheme, I had only ever purchased cauliflower as a large white vegetable swaddled in crinkly translucent plastic at the supermarket.  However, this week’s veg bag came with a huge green lump about the size and weight of a dodgeball. At first, I thought it was some sort of unknown English cabbage. However, upon peeling away a few of the thick, dusky green leaves, I discovered a tiny cauliflower the size of my fist nestled amongst the paler, thinner stalks.  I’ve never even seen so many cauliflower leaves before, much less a version of the vegetable that consisted of about 80% leaf and 20% flower.

This left me with an interesting challenge.  While I’m okay with the fact that organically grown vegetables are often smaller than their conventionally grown versions, the mini-cauliflower didn’t leave me with much to cook for dinner. So, in the spirit of no waste and innovation in the kitchen, I decided to cook the cauliflower leaves as well. After a quick internet search to make sure they weren’t poisonous (having just cooked rhubarb, I figured better safe than sorry), I roasted the entire cauliflower and leaves with soy sauce and spring onions and it turned out fabulously.

The thick white ribbed stalks had a smooth texture and a slightly nutty taste, while the green edges of the leaves got all burnt and crunchy like roasted brussels sprouts. Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s also extremely healthy. Cauliflower, like other members of the cruciferous family such as broccoli and kale, is full of natural antioxidants that have been shown to help prevent cancer and keep you looking and feeling young.  In addition, since colorful vegetables contain more phytonutrients, adding the dark green leaves makes your dinner even more healthy. Now all you have to do is find some cauliflower leaves! My best advice: bypass the shrinkwrapped vegetable aisle in the supermarket and go straight to the farm.

Roasted Cauliflower Leaves with Soy Sauce, Garlic, and Spring Onions

What You Need:

Cauliflower (with leaves!)

Soy Sauce

Four Cloves of Garlic

Spring Onions (generally known in the U.S. as scallions or green onions)

Sesame Oil or Olive Oil (I used a bit of both)

Salt and Pepper

What To Do:

1. Pre-heat the oven at 200 °C/400°F (that’s an approximation as the numbers aren’t really visible on my confusing British stove).

2. Wash the cauliflower and leaves and cut into bite-size pieces, discarding the toughest outer layer of leaves.

3. Smash a few cloves of garlic and chop them coarsely. Chop some spring onions as well.

3. Toss the garlic, onions, and cauliflower with a generous splash of soy sauce and oil in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4.  Place the uncovered roasting pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the green leaves crisp up and both the florettes and the thicker stalks are tender and can be pierced easily with a fork.

5. Enjoy!

Tagged , ,

6 thoughts on “just in case you obtain a large number of cauliflower leaves, i now present a soy, garlic, and onion roasting recipe

  1. Kellin says:

    Oh this sounds so good. Can’t wait to try. Will report back with (hopefully) successful results.

  2. Su-Lin says:

    I never thought of eating the leaves before! Good one!

    • mei says:

      thanks! it’s really delicious, although i wonder how hard it is to find cauliflower leaves if you’re actually looking for them…

  3. Laura Owens says:

    Thanks! I have about 10 cauliflower plants out in the yard and, like your organic box cauliflower, mine are very small and the leaves are HUGE. And then only one or two are ripe at a time which is no where near enough for my family.

    I’m boiling some now with country ham, bacon, spring Egyptian onions, miscellaneous turnip greens that survived the winter and reappeared this spring, and some freshly picked celery. I added garlic powder, smoked salt crystals, smoked paprika, and some mace.

    This is my basic interpretation of southern style greens from the US. I don’t know if you have country ham in the UK, but it’s disgustingly salty. It’s very inexpensive where I live and I get the end pieces at a discount grocery store. When you add it to anything boiled, the smokey ham flavor and salt give nice seasoning but don’t overpower the main dish.

    I can’t wait to try roasting some cauliflower on my grill. I think I’ll use some wood chips with the coals to add a rich smokey flavor. 🙂

    I have a ridiculous amount of broccoli leaves too … their fate is in my hands! Ahhhahahaha!

    • admin says:

      Hi Laura,

      That country ham dish sounds amazing! Mmm…I bet country ham added to pretty much anything tastes good. I just bought more cauliflower today and am so excited to roast the whole thing. Grilling is a great idea and will happen as soon as we have some real sun here in the UK…:)

  4. Linda says:

    I like to stir fry my Cauli leaves too, they are great as a steamed dish with oyster sauce. I grow tiny cauliflower heads and sometimes they don’t develop a head at all. Apparently the tiny cauliflowers are due to the ground not being firm enough at the time of planting. I am trying a new technique of planting in hard soil this year, in the hope we get more than leaves..

Leave a Reply to mei Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: