Five reasons, and five ways, to fall for cruciferous vegetables

Insights from our nutrition team

Healthy kale salad

Cruciferous vegetables are some of the most nutritious plants on the planet. They’re packed with immune-supporting, blood-sugar-lowering, inflammation-busting, heart-protecting and potentially cancer-fighting vitamins and phytonutrients — all in a high-fiber, low-calorie package.

These superfoods love cooler growing temperatures, which makes fall their
season to shine at the market — and on your plate.

As a group, they’re called cruciferous vegetables because of their cross-shaped flowers, but you know them as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, collards, watercress and radishes. How do we love them? Let’s count the ways.

Five reasons to try cruciferous vegetables

1. Cancer protection

Crucifiers are rich in fiber and several chemical components known for their strong cancer-fighting properties.

2. Heart health

Bioactive compounds in crucifiers protect the heart on multiple fronts, from reducing LDL cholesterol to fighting free radicals.

3. Diabetes management

These low-carb vegetables help reduce diabetes risks and lower blood sugar.

4. Memory

Studies have linked crucifiers to reduced memory loss and cognitive decline with aging.

5. OK, there are way more than five

Loaded with fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and K, crucifiers offer benefits for asthma, vision, weight management, inflammation and health in general.

Five ways to fall for cruciferous vegetables

1. Roasted

Toss Brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower florets with a little olive oil and roast at 400° until tender, 20-30 minutes (sprouts take the longest). A squeeze of lemon or dusting of Parmesan never hurts.

2. Sautéed

For faster, lighter collards, stem and cut the greens into ribbons, sauté in olive oil 3-4 minutes, add two cloves of chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook another minute. Serve with lemon.

3. Stir-fried

Cook a little minced garlic and ginger in oil over medium for a minute, then add bok choy and a splash of soy sauce and cook 3-4 more minutes. Enjoy crisp-tender.

4. Riced

Use a cheese grater to grate cauliflower into “rice.” Press out moisture with a clean towel. Sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil, then cover and steam 5 minutes. Presto: rice!

5. OK, there are way more than five

Shred cabbage into slaw. Make a classic kale salad. Add radishes to tacos. Pair spicy arugula or watercress with the Tualatin turkey salad recipe from our friends at Basics Market.

Have a great fall!