Cruciferous Vegetables

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Cookbook or Recipes for cruciferous vegetables

Dec 2005

I don't care for cruciferous vegetables at all (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, kale, mustard greens, rutabagas and turnips), but have hopes to trick myself and my family into eating them, if I prepared them with great sauces or interesting spices. Does anyone have great recipes or a specific cookbook on cruciferous vegetables to recommend? I can no longer overlook their value in antioxidants and I want to adjust my eating habits accordingly. Anonymous

Hi there! here's a soup I love, very easy to prepare, pretty to look at, and great in the cold weather:
Red Cabbage and Beet Soup 1 quart beef broth three or four fresh red beets, peeled and chopped 2 cups red cabbage, chopped coarsely half a red onion or more to taste 3T apple cider vinegar Put the broth on the stove in a stockpot and heat it up. Add the vegetables and bring to a boil. Let this simmer until the beets are tender, about a half-hour. Add the vinegar. Season with black pepper and garnish with (in my case low-fat) sour cream.
Low-calorie and in my experience, delicious. Goes great with rye bread. likes her vegetables
Here are a few idea that my kids like (and grownups too).

1. Cream of Broccoli soup: cook broccoli till just soft, drain it, puree it in the food processor with some sauteed onion, celery and parsley. Add chicken broth and cream to desired consistency and heat. Top with cheddar cheese or sour cream. Yum.

2. Raw cauliflower or broccoli with a mayo-based dip (make sure it's fresh or it will be too bitter.)

3. Cook and drain b. or c., put into an ovenproof dish and put a bunch of parmesan on it, run under the broiler till lt. brown

4. Curried cauliflower with tomatoes & onions. Google for recipes or check an Indian cookbook. serve with rice and raita. Ginger

Fried Cauli ''Rice'' Use a cheese grater of processor to grate up a cauliflower. Fry it up, stirring constantly, with a TINY amount of oil and soy sauce (veggies soak up fats very easily, and it will taste gross if you use too much). You can add whatever other things you like, such as garlic, green onions, egg (such as egg fried rice) etc. This tastes surprisingly like real rice. It's very simple and easy, but it does take a few minutes to either grate the cauli or put it through the grater on the food processor. Asian Slaw Finely slice 2 cups Chinese cabbage, = cup fresh snow peas, > cup fresh red pepper, and 2 green onions and place in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup mung bean sprouts. Mix together = cup peanut oil (or other nut oil of choice) with 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey or sugar, and = cup fresh squeezed orange juice. Toss and mix adding salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with = cup toasted sesame seeds and serve. Yummy Greens *I am trying to eat more greens too. The greens cook down really small, and mixed with everything else, are surprisingly delicious! Wash 1 bunch swiss chard, collard greens or mustard greens removing the stems. Using a food processor or knife, finely chop the greens. In a heated skillet, place some olive oil in the bottom. Chop 2 cloves fresh garlic and throw this in the oil allowing it to diffuse. Chop a small yellow onion and allow this to cook until translucent. Add the greens along with a little more olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Steam for 10 minutes and serve over garlic mashed potatoes. Foodie Broccoli with Cheese Sauce **How can you ever go wrong covering something with cheese? Steam 1 large head of broccoli in boiling water until it has turned a deep green color (about 8 minutes). In a saucepan, heat 1 cup milk. Mix 8 ounces grated cheddar with 1T corn starch until each piece is coated. Add the cheese a little at a time to the hot milk until a nice thick sauce has been created. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and serve.
THAI PEANUT SAUCE The recipe is too long to post here, but try a thai peanut sauce on a stir fry that includes broccoli. Yum!
I'll give you some of my favorite recipes for these veggies. I absolutely love cruciferous veggies (can't imagine not liking them!), so I don't know if you'll like the recipes or not, but give them a try.

For brussel sprouts: cut them in quarters and trim any tough leaves from the outside. Toss them with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper (and maybe crushed garlic if you like), spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 (turn once during cooking). They should be brown and crunchy. This works beautifully for whole asparagus spears too.

Rutabagas and turnips would be good in a winter veggie roast - cut them in chunks with potato, sweet potato, beets, and whole peeled garlic. Toss in olive oil, salt and pepper, a little vinegar, maybe some dried herbs. Bake in a 400 oven until done (1 hour?) turning a couple of times.

Kale is my all time favorite veggie. I usually saute it in a bit of olive oil, then add water and steam. If you don't like it, this may not work for you. You could make a pot of pasta, cook the kale as above, add chickpeas and cook for a while, then add goat cheese or feta and let it soften, then toss the pasta in there. Add parmesan and stir. YUM! This would be good with broccoli too.

Kale is also yummy in miso soup - boil some water, add some miso. Anything goes - I sometimes throw in frozen chinese dumplings and a green (sometimes kale, but often something chinese like baby bok choy or yu choy sum). love my veggies!

James Peterson's Vegetables. Also Alice Waters has several good cookbooks that have a lot of vegetable recipes. Roasted Vegetables are delicious, easy, and you can do any combination you like. Try your local library first to see if they have cookbooks you can check out before you buy. Also, try the Food Network Website for recipes. anon
The most important thing I've found with cruciferous vegetables is to get them as fresh as possible. When freshly picked they are much sweeter, less sulfurous, and more tender than after they have sat around for few days. I grow some of my own vegetables and the difference between a just picked broccoli (or any of the others) and what you will find in the typical grocery is really amazing. Of course growing your own isn't always an option. Farmer's markets are a great way to find very fresh vegetables and the growers usually have favorite recipes that they are happy to share.

Another option is to subscribe to a box of vegetables from one of the farms which will really kickstart you into cooking kale and other winter vegetables. I got a box for a couple of years and at first the kales and other similar vegetables would generally go to waste each week. However, they show up in your box every week so eventually you just have to face them. I did find recipes that I liked and now I actually get a craving for them and grow them in my own garden.

As for recipes, I'd really recommend that you spend some time at a bookstore pursuing books and looking for ones that seem to have the types of recipes that you think you would be likely to make and enjoy. Be sure to take a good look at the vegetarian cookbooks because those authors really know their vegetables. My favorites are books by Deborah Madison and Annie Somerville (both have worked at Greens Restaurant). And finally, I do have a favorite weekday one-pot meal for cauliflower parmesan pasta that came out of Sunset magazine a couple of years ago. Everything cooks together in short order and everybody likes it. If you are interested then email me and I'll send it to you.

Hope that helps! Roxanne A

I'm not at all a cauliflower fan, but I recently discovered that *roasting* it makes all the difference in the world. It becomes sweet-savory and delicious. You won't believe you're eating a a vegetable. If I'm serving it for dinner for the family, I have to hide it from myself (and anyone else who wanders by the kitchen) or it will disappear like popcorn before making it to the table. I could eat a whole head in one sitting. You can google for specific recipes (mine may have originally come from, but the basic idea is to preheat the oven to ~400, cut the cauliflower head into bite- size florets, toss with a teaspoon or two of olive oil plus some garlic and salt, spread on a baking sheet and roast for Yum!
Except for turnips and rutabagas, the veggies you list are my favorite treats.

Kale, chard, mustard greens and broccolini are wonderful bitter greens. They are best used to complete the flavor of a dish that is missing depth. My typical use is to make a cheesy pasta (say orichette and gorgonzola), add dried sour cherries for sweet and sour, and a bitter green.

I love brussels sprouts steamed lightly with salt and pepper. Just quarter cut from the base half way into the sprout, and put in a steamer for about 10 minutes. For a more complex dish take the sprouts out, slice the rest of the way into quarters; then brown in butter, with chestnuts and a bit of sherry.

The two best ways I like cabbage are either cooked with vinegar and brown sugar, or german style with onion, apple, sauteed in butter, add caraway, coriander, a 1/4c. red current jelly and vinegar to taste.

Cauliflower I prefer Indian style as a component of a curry. Penzey's Maharajah curry powder mixed with a bit of tomato paste and natural cream cheese makes an easy instant curry with two or three vegetables. If using cauliflower I usually steam it first, but peas should just go in straight from the shell.

Broccoli we usually eat steamed and dipped into a small bowl of some sort of tangy sauce, such as a Sesame Ginger vinaigrette. Kevin S

I love most cruciferous veggies but none of my family members do. I use what I call my ''secret recpie'' on just about everything: olive oil, garlic and salt. And then my family will eat the veggies.

Chard or other greens I love sauteed with lots of garlic and olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. I heat the oil up with the minced garlic already in it, but don't let it brown. I then throw in the firmer chard stems and cook them for a while, then add the chopped leaves. Don't overcook - you want them a nice bright green - and add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar at the end if you like the flavor.

Cauliflower is AWESOME roasted. You toss it in olive oil and salt (secret ingredients again) and perhaps some caraway seeds if you like them. Roast in a very hot oven (450 I'd say) until stil crunchy but lightly browned. You can roast a head of garlic alongside anytime you roast anything. Roast garlic makes everything yummy.

Cauliflower also makes a pretty good mashed potato substitute when steamed, drained, and then mashed with some indulgent ingredients like the secret ingredients above and perhaps a touch of cream or buttermilk.

I like to add greens to soups at the very end to add color and texture and flavor. Chard is really good for this. Its flavor really compliments italian sausage. I also make a pasta with sauteed chard, tomatoes and browned sausage that is really good. Hope this helps! Don't forget the secret ingredients. ;) can you tell I grow chard in my garden?

Try the chard tart recipe in Joy of Cooking....yum! (Adding eggs and cream and cheese and a crust makes just about anything taste good!) Yana
Go to for an easy lamb stew with cabbage, onion, carrot and wine. My son loves it. Also, Anna Thomas has a cauliflower souffle that is divine. Otherwise, puree into soups. You can also try for some novel approaches to these important veggies. Nori Hudson
Look up recipes for ''Tuscan Bean Soup'' or ''La Ribollita'' on the web. It is packed with dinosaur kale ( Savoy cabbage,Brussel's sprouts, etc optional) and is SUPER yummy. It takes a while to make, but you can make a big batch and eat it for days. It's probably the best soup I've ever made. JM
I have a great cookbook called Greens Glorious Greens! by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers, from 1996. If it's out of print, maybe you can find a used copy. Enjoy! (And your post made me realize I should be cooking 'em more too....) anon
I used to hate vegetables before I discovered olive oil and garlic. Also, we have a fabulous vegetable cookbook: ''Vegetables'' by James Peterson (Morrow; 0688146589). It tells you how to prepare every vegetable there is, both straight and in recipes with other ingredients. It has made chard one of my favorite foods, and I'm not kidding.

(In a big pan, heat olive oil, add lots of chopped garlic, add chopped-up chard and stir until it's wilted; add salt and pepper. You can stop there, or to make a meal of it, boil penne, dump chard on pasta, and top with grated Parmesan, the good stuff.) Vegetable Convert