For years, I would discard the stalks from leafy greens such as silverbeet, spinach, chicory, broccoli and even parsley, until I saw my mum use the stalks of spinach to make a simple but very delicious salad.
My mum would cut off the spinach leaves and use them to make ‘spanakopita’ (a Greek spinach and cheese pie).
Then she would prepare the stalks by trimming and discarding the roots and washing the stalks thoroughly to remove any dirt and grit. She would then put the stalks in a pot of boiling water for 3 – 5 minutes, just until they soften. Next she would drain the spinach and place it in a bowl to serve with a simple dressing of extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and sea salt to taste.
Since then, I have discovered that the stalks of many leafy vegetables have lots of flavour and can be used in all sorts of ways including; making stock, soups, stews and salads. The only thing to consider is that the stalks are a tougher part of the vegetable, so I usually finely chop or slice the stalks thinly before I cook them. Using stalks not only saves money, but also means I am not discarding the many vitamins and nutrients they contain.
I often serve this spinach salad with our Sunday dinner and my family always finish off the entire bowl, so why don’t you give it a go!