Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes

In Recipe by SeanLeave a Comment

Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potato

Cauliflower is part of the diverse (and somewhat bizarre) group of vegetables clustered within one remarkable species – Brassica oleracea.  Amazingly enough, this single species has been carefully selected and bred over centuries to yield incredibly disparate cultivars.  Kale, cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and more have all been bred from this single species.  A single species that, I should point out, basically looks like a mangy bundle of kale leaves in its wild form.

Looking at that long list of vegetables, you may notice that many are designed to be eaten in their entirety (or nearly so).  Certainly there are those who avoid kale and broccoli stems, but there’s no reason to think of these as inedible.  In fact, unless something is just unimaginably tough (Brussels sprout stalks come to mind), every little bit of a brassicaceous vegetable can be eaten, including the delightful leaves surrounding a head of cauliflower.

So why then, do we not eat cauliflower leaves more often?  I don’t have any direct evidence to point to, but I would comfortably bet that the reason is quite simple: shipping cauliflower heads in big boxes would tend to mangle any attached leaves, so they’re removed (except for the tightly adhering stalks).  We’ve become so accustomed to this sort of presentation, most of us probably wouldn’t even think about eating the leaves if given the chance.

I’m lucky enough to live very close to a very large farm-based market that brings in a lot of local cauliflower with the leaves on.  I’m always pleased to get my hands on some, because I love top-to-tail (or root-to-shoot) cooking and I get to try out fun recipes like this.  But I’ve also stood there and watch as people pull out a nice creamy white head only to strip every leaf off and throw them into the provided bin.  It breaks my heart a bit… but at least it gives the farm’s resident piggies something to munch on.

Oh, and do be sure to try to work the word “brassicaceous” into your conversations this week.

Recipe Notes

If you’re lucky enough to be able to buy local cauliflower (or to grow your own), there’s a good chance that you can get it with all of the big green outer leaves still attached.  Even some big-box grocery stores might leave enough of the stalk-portion intact to give this recipe a shot.  And if you do happen to find yourself at a farmer’s market, try to seek out cauliflower — it may be one of those commonplace vegetables, so easily taken for granted, but it can really shine when it’s fresh from the ground.

If you want to try the recipe but don’t have access to cauliflower leaves, try using kale or savoy cabbage.  

One last note: I’ve indicated that this is a vegan recipe, but that’s only true if you use a vegetarian dashi. Feel free to use any (good) dashi that you like, but if you do go for a purely vegetable-based stock, try using a combination of dashi and dried shiitake mushrooms for the greatest depth of flavour. If you want to take a shot at making your own dashi from scratch, it’s quite simple, though you will need to familiarize yourself with a couple of ingredients, namely kombu and katsuobushi.

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 137 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Sodium 1100mg 46%
Potassium 398mg 11%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 8g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 0.1%
Vitamin C 60%
Calcium 3%
Iron 6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

Low in calories (NOTE: the nutritional information does not include rice).

Fat and carbohydrate levels are likewise very low, making this an extremely healthy side or stew.

As with so many east Asian dishes, the sodium levels are ramped up with the inclusion of soy-based sauces. Consider using a lower-sodium soy sauce, and make sure to use homemade or very high quality dashi — cheap commercial varieties are often loaded with MSG, which will increase sodium further.

Ingredient Pages

No Ingredient Pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

Recent Japanese Recipes

Sort By Rand
  • Tenshindon - A Japanese/Chinese crab and shrimp omelette served over rice and topped with a sweet and sour sauce - Diversivore.com
    Tenshindon - Crab & Shrimp Omelette on Rice
    A delicious Japanese dish with Chinese roots. Tenshindon is simple enough, yet fantastically put-together. The star feature is a crab & shrimp omelette over rice. This...
  • Ginger and karashi mustard chicken, shown here on a bed of Japanese lemon-herb risotto - Diversivore.com
    Ginger Karashi Chicken
    Tangy, sweet, a little hot - these are packed with flavour and surprisingly healthy. They also show how versatile and easy to love Japanese ingredients can be.
  • Cucamelon Sunomono made with shirataki noodles and green daikon - Diversivore.com
    Cucamelon Sunomono
    The world's cutest fruit/vegetable gets all dressed up in this simple, incredible, vegan Japanese salad. Green daikon and carb-free calorie-free shirataki noodles round things out. This amazing appetizer...
  • Allergy-friendly Chicken Tsukune (Japanese chicken meatball skewers) made without wheat, dairy, or eggs - Diversivore.com
    Allergy-friendly Chicken Meatball Tsukune
    Tsukune (Japanese chicken meatballs) is a classic yakitori specialty, but like most meatballs, it's tough to get a great result without breadcrumbs and/or eggs (two very common allergens)....
  • Charred Shishito Peppers with Sweet Togarashi Spice - Diversivore.com
    Charred Shishito Peppers with Sweet Togarashi Spice
    Simple, healthy, and incredibly snack-worthy, these wonderful little Japanese peppers are charred in a pan or on the grill, then tossed with sake and a sweet-and-spicy mixture of sugar...
  • Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes - Diversivore.com
    Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes
    We waste a lot of food in North America, but many of us don't realize just how much food we're wasting simply because we don't realize it's actually food....
  • Japanese nettle soup - vegan and gluten free, made with miso - Diversivore.com
    Japanese Nettle Soup
    Nettles are great in soup - there's no doubt about that. But given their already exotic and unusual status, it's not uncommon for them to be pigeonholed into one...
  • Dark chocolate mousse with candied kumquats - Diversivore.com
    Dark Chocolate Mousse with Candied Kumquats
    It's hard to beat a classic like chocolate mousse. But there are just so many great things that you can pair with chocolate - like amazing, decadent candied...
  • Keta Salmon Sushi Stacks with miso kabocha squash, marinated cucumbers, and keta salmon eggs - Diversivore.com
    Keta Salmon Sushi Stacks
    We're a little spoiled for choice when it comes to salmon around here, and keta salmon often doesn't get the respect it deserves because of the way it looks....
  • Miso Grilled Corn
    There's nothing like Japanese grilled food, but there's no reason for meat to get all of the love. Succulent, sweet corn on the cob get's the an amazing...
  • Japanese lemon herb risotto, made with sake in place of white wine and short grain Japanese rice -DJapanese lemon herb risotto, made with sake in place of white wine and short grain Japanese rice - Diversivore.com
    Japanese Lemon Herb Risotto
    Sometimes culinary worlds cross more easily than you'd imagine. A few simple Japanese twists plus bright taste of lemon, and you get this unforgettable dish.
  • Ponzu sauce (ponzu shoyu), made from scratch, with salmon and tuna sashimi and shredded daikon - Diversivore.com
    Ponzu Sauce
    Ponzu sauce is a Japanese citrus-based sauce, popularly used as a condiment and a marinade.  It's also delicious, and shockingly easy to make.
  • Wafu Hambagu - Japanese-style Hamburger with a scratch-made ponzu, karashi mustard, and daikon oroshi - Diversivore.com
    Wafu Hambagu
    The hamburger knows no borders. It is a food of the world (rightly so). Japan grabbed hold of the ubiquitous patty many years ago and gave the world this....
  • Appetizer portion of beef tataki with ponzu, watermelon radishes, and scallions - Diversivore.com
    Beef Tataki with Ponzu
    When it comes to beef tenderloin, less is more. This recipe is all about balancing powerful flavours and letting the incredible, tender taste of the fillet shine through....
  • Mandelo (Cocktail Grapefruit) Zaru Soba - cold Japanese buckwheat noodles with a citrus dipping sauce (mentsuyu) - Diversivore.com
    Mandelo Zaru Soba (Cold Buckwheat Noodles with Cocktail Grapefruit Sauce)
    A simple but delicious cold noodle dish with a unique citrus component, perfect for any time of the year.
  • Bacon wrapped shimeji mushroom kushiyaki with a homemade tare sauce - Diversivore.com
    Bacon-wrapped Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki
    Bacon's never a bad idea. Especially not when it gets to partner with a fantastic, flavourful, just-sweet-enough Japanese tare (teriyaki) sauce.
  • Kitsune nabe - miso hot pot with vegetables, fried tofu and quail eggs - Diversivore.com
    Kitsune Nabe
    A fox skulks through the forest, brushing past mushrooms and deep green leaves. Finding a clutch of unattended eggs, she helps herself. Unsatisfied, she suddenly transforms into...

Share this Recipe

Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes - Diversivore.com
Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
4 people (as a side or a stew) 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people (as a side or a stew) 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes - Diversivore.com
Japanese Simmered Cauliflower Leaves with Potatoes
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
Rate this recipe!
Servings Prep Time
4 people (as a side or a stew) 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people (as a side or a stew) 15 minutes
Cook Time
25 minutes
Servings: people (as a side or a stew)
  1. Combine the dashi, soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar in a large pot or deep frying pan and set aside.
  2. Chop the cauliflower stalks into 1 inch pieces. If the leaves are particularly large, you can separate them from the stalks. Set aside.
  3. Peel potato and cut into a 1 cm (~½ inch) cubes. Heat the oil on high in a large, heavy skillet for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, spreading them out as thinly as possible. Brown the potatoes, turning occasionally to cook the other sides (5-6 minutes).
  4. Add the potatoes, cauliflower stalks/leaves, and onions to the dashi broth and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
Recipe Notes

Serve with rice or as a side dish to a Japanese main.  The vegetables can be served on their own, or the broth can be included to make a hearty vegetable stew.

Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe
text copyright www.diversivore.com

Leave a Comment