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Chef Lisa's Blog

Save those broccoli stems! Plus the menu for November 15th-19th

Preventing food waste is critical in any professional kitchen to control food cost. In a kitchen like Calhoun, it is also important because we place such a high value on composting and fostering environmental stewardship. We serve a lot of broccoli, and it is probably the most popular vegetable. This means we end up with a ton of broccoli stems. Rather than compost them we turn them into many different dishes. The key with using the stem of the broccoli is to cut away the outer fibrous skin, the inner core is sweet and crisp! It can be served raw in salad or slaw or like this week turned into a vegan broccoli "cheddar" soup. 

Sooooo many broccoli stems!

Trimming away the tough skin.

The sweet interior of the broccoli stem.

We start this soup as we do many of our soups, by gently sweating a lot of onions in extra virgin olive oil. The key is to slowly cook them, seasoning with salt and fresh ground black pepper as you go to develop layers of flavor. That is the key to really good food. Season as you cook, not all at once and definitely not just at the end. To that mix we add celery, garlic, and all the chopped up broccoli stems. This is again cooked slowly with a lot of love, and some seasoning. We then add in homemade vegetable stock, and the key to that "cheesy" flavor: nutritional yeast and sauerkraut and its brine. We then add a small pinch of turmeric for that classic "cheesy" orange color. This is all blended until smooth and then we add in small, bite size pieces of blanched broccoli & carrot.

Vegan Broccoli "Cheddar" Soup!

We've also used broccoli stems for a broccoli pesto, julienned in lo-mein, or raw in a bright lime and cilantro slaw with other crunchy vegetables (also on the menu this week). There are so many possibilities! 

And now this week's menu:

Monday November 15th

Staff Only 


Tuesday November 16th

Brunch for Lunch Day!

Scrambled Eggs with Bacon

Vegetarian Scrambled Eggs

Vegan Tofu Scramble

Rustic Rolls with Butter

Vegan Broccoli "Cheddar" Soup

Dessert: Brioche French Toast with Cranberries & Satsuma


Wednesday November 17th

Green Thai Curry with Vegetables & Tofu

Steamed Jasmine Rice

Kohlrabi & Broccoli Slaw with Lime & Herbs

Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Sourdough

Tomato Basil Soup


Thursday November 18th

Spaghetti Bolognese (Beef)

Vegan Mushroom Bolognese

Roasted Cauliflower

Garlic Bread on Focaccia

Italian White Bean & Tuscan Kale Soup


Friday November 19th

Peri Peri Chicken

Vegan "Beyond Meat" Peri Peri Chicken

Yukon Gold Oven Fries

Sautéed Seasonal Greens

Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil Sandwich

Caldo Verde Soup


Have a great week!