Broccoli is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but what about the leaves of the vegetable we all tend to trim off and toss away? Don’t discard the nutritious greens that are growing on top of any of your veggies. Instead, put them aside and plan a healthy salad, sautéed pasta, or breakfast dish to get the most out of your produce.

Leafy greens supply ample amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that can help lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. These low-calorie alternative side dishes can add a ton of flavor into your dishes by offering their variety of sweet, bitter, earthy, and complex savory essences. Get in another serving of vegetables by using the entire plant in your recipes.

5 Vegetable Leaves You Can Cook:

1. Broccoli  

The leaves of this already nutrient-dense vegetable, known as “BroccoLeaf,” are packed with health benefits. The leaves cook very similarly to kale or collard greens, making them ideal for sautéed dishes with garlic and olive oil. The leaves have also been referred to as “pleasantly bitter” in a way reminiscent of broccoli rabe.

Trim your broccoli, set the vegetable aside, and create a healthy breakfast dish utilizing the leaves with this recipe for Egg White Frittata.

2. Radish

Unlike other vegetables, radish tops are delicate and serve up a pungent flavor that tastes like concentrated arugula. You can eat them raw, but allowing them to wilt and tossing them together with pasta or other cooked dishes is a healthful way to utilize its unique flavor.

Don’t toss your radish leaves. Instead, use the leaves to stir up this Rustic Radish Soup recipe.

3. Turnip

This is one of the vegetable leaves you might not want to eat raw. They have a bitter taste, but can be balanced with strong ingredients like onions, vinegar, or stock to cook out the hard flavor. The recipes are worth learning because turnip greens are an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C, along with folate, copper, manganese, fiber, and calcium.

Take your turnip leaves and toss together this Spicy Skillet Turnip Greens recipe.

4. Carrots

The tops of carrots have a more herbal texture and earthy sweet taste, making them best cooked into side dishes or mixed in with a pesto recipe. Carrots are packed with vitamins A, B6, and K, folate, niacin, potassium, thiamin, and manganese, making them one of the healthiest items in the produce aisle.

Try Roasted Carrot and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro and Carrot Green Chimichurri, a delicious recipe that utilizes both the carrot and green tops.

5. Beets

Beets have a texture and flavor similar to kale or Swiss chard, which is what makes them versatile in recipes. You could use them in a stir-fry or sliced very thinly and tossed in with a salad raw. Beet greens provide protein, phosphorus, zinc, antioxidants, and serve as a great source of fiber.  

Mix together this flavorful salad recipe: Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta