This article and recipe for Cauliflower Leaf Miso Soba Soup and Miso Ginger Roasted Cauliflower first appeared in my Taste Not Waste column in Vegetarian Living magazine (Nov 2015 issue).
As the summer and early autumn gluts wane, it’s even more important to make use of all the fresh produce available – right down to the leaves and roots that we might usually throw away. So many edible parts of vegetables are discarded, but a little know-how and creativity can save us money and the effort of shopping.
Cauliflower is a prime example. Great big dark greens embrace their precious pearl, keeping the delicate florets safe, but these are often binned or composted. Yet every bit of cauliflower can be eaten, including florets, leaves and stalk. We pay good money for kale, spring greens and spinach, but tend to ignore the leafy greens that may already be part of other vegetables in our fridge.
This quick, flavourful soba noodle soup and roasted cauliflower side dish are designed to use up every bit of a head of cauliflower, with the subtle heat of the ginger and the umami flavour of the miso pairing up in both dishes. Homegrown or farmers’ market cauliflowers tend to have larger, thicker leaves than supermarket varieties, so just use to handfuls of the leaves for the soup and try some of my SOS ideas (below) for the rest. The leaves are quite hardy, so will last a few days in the fridge when removed from the head of cauliflower.
SOS – Save Our Scraps:
Cauliflower Leaf Uses
The out leaves have a mild nutty flavour and can be cooked just like other leafy greens. They won’t wilt like spinach, and they have a thick stalk similar to kale, so do need to be prepared first.
Wash the cauliflower leaves thoroughly and separate the thin leaf from the stem. Slice the thin parts and then chop up the stem like celery.
* Add them to homemade vegetable stock
* Pop a handful into stir-fries or curries.
* Saute with onion and garlic for a quick side dish.
* Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, then bake in a hot oven to make vegetable crisps/chips (like kale chips).
* Use them to add substance to soups and stews.
* Char on a griddle pan and toss into a hot salad.
Get the recipe for miso and ginger roasted cauliflower
- 1 whole cauliflower, washed, leaves removed and reserved
- 3 tbsp white miso paste
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Separate the cauliflower florets and stalk from the leaves and set the leaves aside for the soup. Wash well then cut the florets and short white stalk into large bite-sized chunks.
- Whisk the miso paste, oil and ginger in a large bowl to combine, then toss the cauliflower pieces in the dressing to coat.
- Place the cauliflower pieces in a single layer on a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes, then flip each piece over. Roast for a further 10-15 minutes until soft, slightly dark and caramelised.
Get the recipe for Cauliflower Leaf Miso Soba Soup
- 2 large handfuls of cauliflower leaves
- 300ml (1¼ cups) mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
- 4 tbsp white miso paste (or 2 tbsp of brown miso paste)
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 150g (2 cups) chestnut or shiitake mushrooms
- 1 carrot
- 200g (7 oz) soba noodles
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Strip the dark thin leaves from the cauliflower leaf stems and slice. Chop the thicker pale stems into 1cm slices. Set aside.
- Heat the mushroom stock in a large pan and bring to the boil along with 250ml of water.
- Meanwhile, slice the mushrooms and julienne the carrot (cut into thin strips).
- When the stock has just reached the boil, reduce the heat and add the miso paste, ginger, soy sauce, mushrooms, carrot, cauliflower leaves and stems. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the soba noodles according to packet instructions, about five minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water.
- Divide the noodles into bowls and top with the miso soup then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.