Cooking With Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables are among the vegetables botanically named, “Brassicaceae.”

There are several species and cultivars farmed for food production which includes among others, Swiss chard, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, watercress, Brussels sprouts, daikon and arugula.

Flowering Arugula

Their labeled name cruciferous (crucifer) comes from the Latin word for “cross-bearing,” as the vegetation have flowers with four petals that look like a cross.

Most cruciferous vegetables have a perceived bitter taste, a result of sulfur-containing compounds.

Cooking With Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables will also last for weeks in the crisper drawer, of your refrigerator, unlike other greens that tend to wilt quickly.

Cruciferous vegetables can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. Some are tough like kale and others are starchy like cauliflower.


Kale, because of its tough leaves needs a bit of massaging and chopping to help with chewing and of course digesting.

You can help break down the toughness of kale leaves with a little salt, lemon juice, or oil, or all three for a salad. Like with this Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette.

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette

Even the acidity of cider juice can help break down the toughness of kale. Like this Cider Braised Chicken With Apples and Kale. The leafy green is also great in soups, such as with this Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup.

Kale even pairs with Italian favorites, like this One Skillet Creamy Gnocchi With Italian Sausage & Kale.

One Skillet Creamy Gnocchi With Italian Sausage & Kale


These vegetables can also be starchy as mentioned earlier. Such as cauliflower. As a starchy crucifers vegetable, it can be used to resemble rice. Like this Korean Style Beef Over Cauliflower Rice.

Korean Style Beef Over Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower is turned into small rice-like grains either using a food processor or a box grater.

First wash and dry the cauliflower head carefully, and remove all the green parts.

Many cooks, professional and otherwise, are turning to cauliflower as a substitute for carbs in pizza crusts, baked goods, side dishes and as a substitute for rice in main dishes.

After processing or box grating, transfer the grated cauliflower onto some paper towels and lightly press it. Doing so will help to remove any excess moisture, and avoid having a soggy dish later.

Besides white, cauliflower also includes colors like yellow, orange and light green.

Cauliflower can be cooked by boiling the vegetable, but roasting it is even better as it caramelizes the vegetable and gives it a creamy texture as well. Like with this colorful Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Swiss Chard

According to Americas Test Kitchen – Swiss chard has earned a reputation as the “chicken of the vegetable world” due to the fact that—much like chicken thighs and breasts—its stems and leaves cook at very different rates.

To get around that, use the leafy parts in a salad or sauté as you would spinach or use the leaves to make a Cannellini White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard.

But don’t throw those stems out, use them like celery as in a crunchy salad or sautéed to stuff this Red Swiss Chard & Asparagus Omelette.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts, those little green gems are one of the most underrated of the cruciferous vegetables.

They are not only good for you but when cooked correctly, they are so deliciously yummy.

Brussels sprouts sometimes get a bad rap because they can produce a strong, sulfurous aroma. But that can easily be kept in check by not overcooking the sprouts.

Try cooking them with speedy methods. Like using an air fryer or fry heat, like the oven.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries

This recipe is a favorite – Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries – as it relies on oven-roasting but tempers the savory char of the sprouts with the addition of tart sweet dried cranberries, cinnamon, pecans and butternut squash.

Give these Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon a try as well. Again oven roasted with savory charred sprouts and the taste of real maple syrup.

Broccoli & Cabbage

When you think about eating broccoli, you probably picture it roasted, like this Parmesan Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower or steamed. While these methods are common, cooking broccoli reduces not only the nutritional value but it’s crispy texture as well.

Try broccoli in the raw with this Warm Red Cabbage & Broccoli Slaw with Bacon.

How about raw broccoli florets in a salad with dried cherries and sharp cheddar cheese – Broccoli Bacon Salad with Dried Cherries and Sharp Cheddar Cheese.


Cooked spinach might make you think of shriveled mush, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, when you cook spinach well, it’s a delicious accompaniment to your favorite meals.

Like with this Creamy Dijon Chicken With Bacon & Spinach. Pan seared crispy chicken thighs in a smooth and creamy garlic Dijon sauce with bacon pieces and baby spinach.

Or how about this Greek Chicken Meatballs With Spinach Orzo & Tzatziki Dipping Sauce. Greek meatballs that can serve as an appetizer with a tzatziki dipping sauce, but also makes for a tasty dinner served over a spinach pasta mixture.

Spinach is also delicious in the raw with this Spinach Pear & Walnut Salad with a dressing made of sour cream, mayonnaise, walnut oil, vinegar, Worchester sauce, hot pepper sauce, and a pinch of black pepper.

Spinach Pear & Walnut Salad

Spinach Pear & Walnut Salad

Or try raw spinach with this Golden Beet & Spinach Salad With Cashews & Goat Cheese.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

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