The Genius Way Alex Guarnaschelli Uses Broccoli Stems

How do most people use broccoli? We cut off the florets for our favorite recipes and toss the stumps, of course. But "Iron Chef" and "Chopped" star Alex Guarnaschelli has a better and less wasteful idea.

The Food Network tweeted a clip from "The Kitchen" in which Guarnaschelli makes a refreshing and delicious-looking salad that uses the whole head of broccoli, not just the florets. Guarnaschelli explains she created the broccoli-and-broccoli-stem salad because it's habitual to only use the florets, which she likens to cutting all the flower heads from your garden and leaving all the stems behind.

But there's a better way! This salad starts with roasting a head of broccoli. The accomplished chef and veteran of world-class kitchens — including Guy Savoy in Paris and Daniel in New York (via Food Network) — starts by cutting the florets of a head of broccoli into bite-sized pieces. But Guarnaschelli doesn't stop there: She then takes a vegetable peeler and peels away tough outer layers of the broccoli stem, then cuts the stem into one-inch slices and places them on a baking sheet, drizzling stem pieces and florets with olive oil and putting them into the oven.

Roasting and adding a zesty dressing can make the stems taste great

While the broccoli roasts, Alex Guarnaschelli makes a bold and tasty dressing for this flavor-packed salad. It includes mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest, creamed horseradish, a dash of sugar, and a little fresh tarragon.

After the broccoli is nicely cooked and just a little brown on the edges, Guarnaschelli slides the stem pieces into the dressing first to give them the best soak. Then she stirs the florets into the dressing, nicely coating everything with this zesty mixture. A little chopped arugula at the end completes the salad. It's a bright, beautiful spring side dish, and best of all, no waste.

If you're looking for other ways to put your broccoli stems to good use, consider using a spiralizer to create broccoli "zoodles." You can also shred your stems for coleslaw, cook and puree them for baby food, and use the stems, which have all the nutritional value of the florets, in other ways too.