Eat More Leafy Vegetable Greens with this Salad Recipe

Reader Contribution by John D. Ivanko and Inn Serendipity

We’ve all heard about eating the whole animal.  How about eating every edible part, especially the leaves, of broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts?

That’s exactly what chef Davin Waite advises. He owns one of southern California’s hottest sushi restaurants, the Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, in Oceanside, California. His Honey Sriracha Greens, the recipe he shares below, knocked out our taste buds on a recent culinary tour there guided by Stephanie Parker, owner of Epicurean San Diego

Like many homesteaders, we savor salads nearly year-round, and have our favorite go-to salad dressing recipes, like our Balsamic Honey and Ranch dressings from our cookbook, Farmstead Chef.  Now Chef Waite’s salad will be added to our list, since it will help us savor our greens well into early winter.

His salads often use organic greens and other fresh produce he gets from Cyclops Farm just up the road. That said, he loves experimenting with parts of the edible plants that usually end up in a compost pile – especially by most restaurant chefs who prefer to use only the perfect-looking ingredients, eschewing the rest, thinking they’re somehow inferior because they’re less familiar or oddly shaped. They’re not, as evidenced by us devouring every last green on our plate (with chopsticks, of course).

“This is a great recipe because it utilizes parts of plant that are typically wasted,” explains Jessica Waite, chef Davin’s wife and co-owner of the Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub.  “Just because it’s not what is typically sold at grocery stores doesn’t mean it is not an insanely delicious part of plant. If you talk to local farmers, they will likely have plenty!”

Like many farmers, homesteaders and avid backyard gardeners know, it’s not necessarily what the plant looks like that indicates its taste or flavor. From twisted carrots or oddly formed broccoli heads, many of us revel in the slightly deformed, but nutritious veggies (or fruit). Same for the less commonly used parts of the plant, like those broccoli leaves.  Nature isn’t perfect. It offers a cornucopia of edibles, even if the supermarket aisles might suggest otherwise.

This recipe calls for broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts leaves, ideally using a combination of all three in the salad. “If the leaves are big, cut out the ribs,” advises Chef Waite. 

We find that it’s fine to experiment by adding in a little Swiss chard, collard greens, spinach or kale to the salad ingredients mix, adjusting accordingly to the other salad ingredients to reach your ten cup total.

Honey Sriracha Greens from Chef Davin Waite

Courtesy of Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

Servings: 2

Salad Ingredients

4 cups broccoli leaves, chopped
3 cups cauliflower leaves, chopped
3 cups Brussels sprouts leaves, chopped
1/2 cup diced bacon

Ingredients for Dressing-Sauce

1/3 cup honey (can be substituted with agave nectar for vegan preparation)
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1/3 cup soy sauce

Directions for Honey Sriracha Sauce:

Gently heat honey, Sriracha and soy sauce in small sauce pan so that the honey combines to make a sauce. Set aside.

Directions for warmed greens salad:

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, cook bacon until slightly crispy. The bacon fat turns into cooking oil.

2. To keep vegetarian, substitute bacon with butter (1 tablespoon).  For vegan, substitute bacon with olive oil.

3. Sauté leaves to soften in bacon fat for about 2.5 minutes, over medium heat.

4. Add honey Sriracha sauce, tossing until greens are evenly coated.

Serve immediately.

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