21 GREAT Serving Ideas for Cruciferous Vegetables


Cruciferous vegetables are being researched for their cancer-inhibiting phytochemicals. Here is an update from cancer.gov about them. Cruciferous vegetables are a part of the Brassica genus of plants and include these vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard greens
  • Horseradish
  • Kale
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Wasabi

The key is getting people to eat them! We emailed health professionals and serious cooks with one simple question, "how do you like to fix cruciferous vegetables at home?" We listed: broccoli, cauliflower, rutabagas, turnips, kale, brussels sprouts and cabbage.

Here are 21 great suggestions compiled from the answers to our survey:

1. Sprinkle raw rutabaga strips lightly with flavored vinegar and your favorite salt-free seasoning (Italian herbs or Mrs. Dash).
2. Boil turnips or rutabagas with potatoes and then mash them with skim milk, garlic powder and butter granules.
3. Finish steamed Brussels sprouts by sautéing with olive oil spray and minced garlic.
4. Caramelize onions in a nonstick pan with a little vegetable oil spray, add cabbage, apples and chicken broth; cook lightly until tender.
5. Peel broccoli stems and serve raw. The stems are very sweet, tender and crisp without the tough outer skin.
6. Saute onions, cubed potatoes and curry powder in some broth. Cook until potatoes are tender and then add cauliflower. Fold in nonfat yogurt right before serving.
7. Cabbage is good when combined raw with raspberry jelly, raspberry vinegar, crushed pineapple and nonfat mayo.
8. Microwave (or steam) broccoli, kale, or Brussels sprouts until tender. Serve with fresh squeezed lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.
9.Place turnips, sweet potatoes, onions and carrots in chicken broth. Roast together in 400º oven for 45 minutes. Stir frequently and add more liquid as needed.
10. Make a white sauce with low-fat, reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup and nutmeg; serve it with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli rabe or  kale.
11. Spread low-fat or nonfat ricotta cheese over the top of raw broccoli or cauliflower and microwave until tender.
12. Keep a bunch of broccoli in your refrigerator at all times. Throw it into salads or stir frys. Serve raw with dips for snacks.
13. From a cook whose husband hates vegetables: “I have to hide them in foods so he’ll eat them. I cut the broccoli or cauliflower into small pieces and put it into spaghetti sauce or on pizza under nonfat cheese.”
14. Shredded, raw turnips are great for salads. You can also use them to top veggie tacos - it looks like cheese!
15. Freezing a head of cabbage makes it easier to peel off the leaves and roll them for stuffing. Use a bean and rice filling.
16. Best topping-after-steaming for one family: a little squirt of I can’t believe it’s not Butter and some grated parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.
17. Chop and steam kale;  serve over small-shaped pasta such as bowties or small shells. Finish with a light spray of olive oil, black pepper and parmesan cheese.
18. Steam chopped kale and use it to top pizza along with your other favorite veggies.
19. Chop broccoli fine and use it in your egg white omelette along with mushrooms and tomatoes.
20. Cauliflower can be chopped find or bought as "pearled" or "riced" and it can be quickly steamed or baked in the oven right alongside whatever you are roasting like a chicken breast or fillet of fish.
21. Make a broccoli salad with turkey-bacon, onion, raisins, sunflower seeds and fresh mushrooms. Toss with nonfat coleslaw dressing.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer.gov

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