Waste not, want not

Did you know that today is the first day of Waste Reduction Week in Canada? Well, neither did I. But now we know!

So, to help in the observation of WRWCan, here are some tips: eat broccoli!
Is the consumption of broccoli going to reduce waste, you ask? Well, in of itself, not really, but it is HOW you consume the said broccoli that is important. Most of us will eat the broccoli florets without grudge, but the stems, not so much. Some of us will chuck the stems in the compost bin (okay), buy trimmed broccoli (not so okay) or even purchase pre-cut and packaged broccoli (bad idea) in order to avoid eating the less than appetizing stem. But it needn't be so! Broccoli, like alot of vegetables, can be eaten -almost- whole, all you need is a little imagination...

The Italians throw chopped up broccoli into the pasta pot and smother the whole lot with olive oil and lotsa cheese. Broccoli stems are crucial for a scrumptious cream of broccoli, 'cuz florets on their own will not bring enough flavour to the soup.

Cream of Broccoli (serves 3-4)
1 medium head of broccoli
1 medium onion
1 small leek
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon flour
½liter (2cups) milk
heavy cream (optional)
cumin, mustard seed, thyme, garlic (all optional)

-Rough chop the leek, and rinse under running water to remove any dirt.
-Rough chop the onion. Throw into a pot the butter, onion, leek and spices if using, and let cook over a medium heat.
-Remove all the florets from the broccoli, put aside. Trim the dried out end of the stem and peel it. Don't use a vegetable peeler for this, use a paring knife for broccoli because it has a very thick skin. Roughly chop the stem and throw in to the soup pot.
-Cook the vege
tables until the onions turn clear. Add the flour and toss around until everything is coated (don't worry about lumps). Add enough water to barely cover the vegetables, and turn up the heat.
-Let simmer un
til you can easily spear a chunk of broccoli with a fork (about 10 minutes). Add the florets to the pot, leave to simmer for 3 minutes more. You can save part of the florets for garnish if you like, but you will have to steam them apart.
-Take soup off the stove and blend the whole lot. This is where a stick blender comes in very handy, but if you do not have one, use a regular blender or even a food mill.
-Return the soup to the stove and taste for seasoning. You can leave the soup as is, and it will be just like canned or powdered soup if that's your thing (if you ever feel nostalgic for cafeteria food...), or you can add the milk and a splash o
f cream to make it lush.
You can substitute broccoli with cauliflower or romanesco, in which case you will not have to peel the stem.
If you'd prefer a vegan version: use oil for the butter, silken tofu or soy milk for the dairy and add a chopped potato to the onion for extra creaminess. Do not boil once the soy is in the soup, otherwise you will have broccoli curdles.

Happy Waste Reduction Week, and bon app'!


  1. Yum, I love cream of veggie soup. I have never made cream of broccoli with leeks though. I will try it next time.

    Broccoli stalks are also good grated in a salad or chopped up in a noodle soup.

    Thanks for the reminder; one more way not to be wasteful.

  2. Hi Melody!
    Thanks for the comment. How did your broccoli soup turn out?


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