Making Mealtime Meaningful: Discover how we're giving back with the 12T Cares program →

Pickled Broccoli Stems

Don’t throw those stems out!

When you share or print a 12 Tomatoes recipe,
you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More

The 18th-century phrase “willful waste makes woeful waste” has lasted up to the present day (maybe you know it in more straightforward English as waste not want not), but the meaning hasn’t diminished in the slightest. Nowadays, the need to stretch the grocery haul items has reached its max, especially when it comes to the ever-increasing price of veggies. That’s where this recipe for Pickled Broccoli Stems comes in. This way utilizes the otherwise inedible portion of the broccoli and transforms it into a tender tart and spicy quick pickled side.

For most of us, the broccoli stem is something to ignore, and for most common cooking methods, the broccoli stem is not the star of the show. The rough and fibrous stem gets an overhaul in this recipe for Pickled Broccoli Stems.

The most crucial part is to make the broccoli stems tender and it can be done by removing the outer fibrous layers.

Once the sides of the stems are removed, cut off the woody end of the stems. Now you’re ready to slice the broccoli stems into matchstick-like slivers.

After cutting the broccoli stems, they’ll look more light in tone and less waxy in appearance. These are refrigerator pickles, so there’s no need to sterilize jars. Simply transfer the stems into a jar and make the pickling liquid.

Preparing the pickling liquid is amazingly simple. A base of vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes is boiled, and then is the marinade base for the broccoli stems.

Let the Pickled Broccoli Stems cool down before covering the jars and refrigerating them to cool completely.

Once cooled, they’re ready to serve!

The broccoli stems are tender but at the same time, have a nice crunch, just like any pickled food you’d pull out of a jar.

The tart and spicy pickling liquid absorbs slightly into the broccoli stems, imparting tons of sour, spicy flavor.

This works well as a summer side to a classic outdoor grilled meal of hamburgers and franks. It also is a wonderful mix-in or topping to a salad, as it provides an interesting contrast of texture. You can do this pickling method with one stem or several, the recipe is super easy to adapt for varying quantities.

With this recipe for Pickled Broccoli Stems, the stems might outrank the florets in flavor!

Yield(s): Makes about 1 cup

10m prep time

5m cook time

3h 30m inactive

Rated 5.0 out of 5
Rated by 5 reviewers
When you share or print a 12 Tomatoes recipe,
you're making mealtime meaningful.
100% of the Share to Care sponsor fees fund meals for families in need. Learn More
  • 2 broccoli stems
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons white or rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  1. Cut the hard base of the broccoli stems. Peel the tough outer layer and then thinly slice the stems into matchsticks, set aside.
  2. In a pot combine water, vinegar, salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiled, turn off the heat and remove from the burner. Add the broccoli stems and let them marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer into a storage container and refrigerate until chilled about 3 hours.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Break the Spice.