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The Surprising Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables (Plus 14 Recipes!)

You’ve probably read a lot in recent years about the stars of the cruciferous vegetable family, with kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts hogging the spotlight. But there are actually a wide variety of delicious cruciferous vegetables like collards, cabbage, and kohlrabi that are available throughout the winter and just right for jump-starting your healthy spring eating.

How healthy are cruciferous vegetables? Very. Besides being loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and mineralscruciferous vegetables have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer. According to WebMD, researchers have found that the phytochemical sulforaphnae, found in cruciferous vegetables, may help to detoxify carcinogens before they cause cellular damage. WebMD also reports that regular consumption of cruciferous vegetables has been shown to have a powerful effect in preventing the buildup of free radicals, which have been linked to various forms of cancer.

But if the health benefits don’t convince you, cruciferous vegetables can also deliver great flavor. If you think cruciferous vegetables are sulphuric-smelling and limp, think again. Sure, cruciferous vegetables can be steamed, but they also are wonderful roasted, raw, cooked in gratins, and sautéed.

If you’re ready to get cooking, then head below for 14 delicious recipes that will help you harness the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables!

(A quick note: these recipes focus on the members of the Brassica oleracea family, which are all cultivars of the same plant species. For more cruciferous goodness, look for other foods such as broccoli rabe, broccolini, bok choy, watercress, or mizuna.)

  • 14 Fresh Ways to Cook with Cruciferous Vegetables! 1 of 15
    14-Fresh-Ways-to-Eat-Cruciferous-Vegetables

    Get cooking with cruciferous vegetables and harness their healthy benefits.

  • Broccoli Beef Stir Fry 2 of 15
    broccoli-beef

    Broccoli, with its heartiness and versatility, is a great vegetable to have on hand for everyday meals. In a pinch, it steams up in minutes; add a little butter, olive oil, or cheese and you're ready to go. And on nights when you have a little more time, this beef and broccoli stir fry recipe is certain to please everyone at the diner table.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Angie McGowan 

  • Spinach Salad with Broccoli, Bell Pepper, and Onion 3 of 15
    spinach-broccoli-bell-pepper-salad1

    Enjoy a fresh take on steamed broccoli with this vibrant, crunchy salad!
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper

     

  • Brussels Sprouts with Maple Buttered Pecans 4 of 15
    The Surprising Health Benefits of Cruciferous Vegetables (Plus 14 Fresh Recipes!)

    Brussels sprouts have been a darling of the food world for a while now. But these sprouts aren't the overcooked mess you remember from Grandma's Thanksgiving table; rather, these are fresh morsels with lots of bite and great roasted flavor.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Julie Van Rosendaal 

  • Baked Lemon Pepper Brussels Sprout Chips 5 of 15
    Lemon-Pepper-Brussels-Sprout-Chips-recipe1

    Chances are high that you've enjoyed a few kale chips in your day, but it turns out that Brussels sprouts make great chips too!
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Aggie Goodman 

  • Asian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls 6 of 15
    Asian-Stuffed-Cabbage-Rolls2

    Cabbage is not exactly a kid-friendly food. Mostly served up in mayo-laden slaw or boiled to a mushy mess, cabbage has not been given its due. In fact, this crisp, faintly sweet vegetable makes a great wrapper for all kinds of savory goodness, as with these stuffed cabbage rolls, but it can also shine when roasted or braised. If you haven't had it in a while, take a head of cabbage for a spin!
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Aggie Goodman 

  • Soba Noodle Stir Fry 7 of 15
    soba-noodle-stir-fry-with-cabbage-2

    Scattered across delicious soba noodles with a flavorful sauce, cabbage lends lots of flavor to this kid-friendly stir fry.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Aggie Goodman 

  • Roasted Cauliflower Salad 8 of 15
    roasted-cauliflower-salad

    With its ability to stand in as a meaty main or grain substitute, cauliflower has been getting a lot of attention lately. Of course, if complexity isn't your thing, you can always try a simple roasted recipe complete with lots of bright lemon and fresh parsley.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Cauliflower and Bay Leaf Gratin 9 of 15
    cauliflower-gratin

    A gratin can be a great vegetable-based alternative to a fallback like mac and cheese. This version teams hearty cauliflower up with a rich cheddar and Pecorino cheese sauce and savory bay leaves.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Pork and Collard Greens Stir Fry 10 of 15
    collard-and-pork-stir-fry

    Collard greens might stir memories of the southern food fave, made by simmering the greens for hours in a flavorful ham hock broth. But collards are also surprisingly versatile. Try them in a quick sauté, folded in to a rich tomato sauce, or as an addition to a great spring soup! In this budget-friendly stir fry, collards get lots of flavor from pork and a complex, spicy stir fry sauce.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Garlic and Greens Soup 11 of 15
    garlic-and-green-soup-2

    Collards add a wonderful earthy richness to this spring soup made with spinach, garlic, and chives.
    Brooklyn Supper has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Wilted Kale and Tomato Salad 12 of 15
    wilted-kale-and-tomato-salad

    Pretending you're a rabbit is a quick way to burn out on eating the good stuff. So the next time you've got a bunch of kale on hand, try cooking it up with olive oil and cherry tomatoes for an easy, knockout side dish. 

    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Kale Salad with Golden Beets and Green Garlic 13 of 15
    kale-golden-beet-green-garlic3

    When massaged with salt, lemon, and love oil, raw kale gets seriously delicious. Try this springtime-perfect raw kale salad made with roasted golden beets and green garlic for a fresh lunch option.
    Brooklyn Supper has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Fennel and Kohlrabi Salad 14 of 15
    fennel-salad

    When a kohlrabi root makes its way into your CSA share, it can be hard to know exactly what to make with it. Surprisingly, crisp kohlrabi is a great addition to a fresh, lemony slaw made with fennel.
    Brooklyn Supper has the recipe
    Image: Brooklyn Supper 

  • Red Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw 15 of 15
    red-cabbage-and-kohlrabi-slaw

    Red cabbage and kohlrabi are a sweet and crunchy combination in this simple slaw.
    Babble Food has the recipe
    Image: Shaina Olmanson

More from Brooklyn Supper on Babble:
12 Incredible Ways to Cook with Cacao Nibs
17 Fresh Frittata Recipes
14 Winter Vegetable Sides That Take 20 Minutes

Read more from Elizabeth and Brian on Brooklyn Supper.
Follow Brooklyn Supper on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter for updates.
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