What to do with cauliflower stems and leaves!

Roasted cauliflower leaves and stems on a black plate with a small black bowl of garlic mayo for dipping

We’re diving into the root-to-stem thing again today with cauliflower leaves and stems! This is a super simple and completely delicious way to use up those parts you might normally toss in the compost. Next time you chop up a head of cauliflower, save the leaves, the core, and the stem and chop it all into 1” pieces. Toss them in oil, salt, and pepper and pop them in the oven!

Chopped leaves and stems from one cauliflower spread out on a baking sheet

To be honest, there’s not much I wouldn’t eat if it’s tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted to a crisp. Especially if there’s a garlicky sauce on the side for overly generous dipping.

The pale green leaves of cauliflower become shatteringly crisp leaf-chips in the oven and the tough stems transform into tender roasted bits – all of which are perfect with a creamy dipping sauce. I made this sauce with mayo because I have a very serious romance with Duke’s mayonnaise but I’ve also made it with Greek yogurt and sour cream with very happy results. The garlic and lemon juice mixed in make a great pairing with the veggie-ness of the roasted leaves and stems.

Roasted leaves and stems from one cauliflower on a baking sheet with garlic mayo in a small dish on the side

Is there anything cooler than making something out of nothing and busting out a highly addictive appetizer/snack like this? I love it and will pop my collar in honor of less waste and more roasty plant goodness. I’ve low-key been on board with the root-to-stem thing for a while; if you’re into it too, check out these kale stem beauties and this radish green magic.


What to do with cauliflower stems and leaves!

Roasted cauliflower leaves and stems on a black plate with a small black bowl of garlic mayo for dipping

A super simple and delicious way to use cauliflower leaves and stems – roast them in the oven and pair with a garlicky dipping sauce!

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 24 servings 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: American


  • Leaves, stem, and core from 1 cauliflower, chopped into 1” pieces
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

GARLICKY dipping sauce

  • 1/2 C mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, or sour cream
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Toss the chopped leaves, stem, and core in about 2 TBS of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 10 minutes, remove the pan and use a spatula to toss everything around, return the pan to the oven, and roast for another 10 minutes or until you see nice browning on everything. *See note
  3. Mix together all ingredients for the garlicky dipping sauce and serve alongside warm cauliflower leaves and stems.


You may want to remove any small, thin leaves from the baking sheet after the first 10 minutes of roasting to prevent them from burning.

The nutritional information is approximate; depending on how much dip you use when you snack:)

Keywords: Cauliflower core, stem

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