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The Super-Veggies: Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables have it all: vitamins, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Here's how to get more of them.

Tips for Enjoying Cruciferous Vegetables

To maximize taste and nutrition, here are some tips for buying and cooking cruciferous vegetables:

  • Don’t overcook cruciferous vegetables. They can produce a strong sulfur odor and become unappealing.
  • You can buy several types of cruciferous vegetables ready-to-go in the frozen or fresh packaged sections of your supermarket, including broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.
  • No raw veggie platter is complete without dark green broccoli or snowy white cauliflower florets.
  • Add raw broccoli or cauliflower florets to your green salad to give the nutrients a big boost.
  • Add chopped cruciferous veggies to soups, stews, and casseroles.
  • When buying fresh broccoli, look for firm florets with a purple, dark green, or bluish hue on the top. They're likely to contain more beta-carotene and vitamin C than florets with lighter green tops. If it has yellow in it or is limp and bendable, the broccoli is old -- don’t buy it.

Cruciferous Vegetable Recipes

Here are two simple side dish recipes featuring cruciferous vegetables.

Brussels Sprouts Sautéed with Pecans and Shallots

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 cup "vegetables with 1 tsp fat"

I kept it light by using just a little canola oil, plus crisp turkey bacon to make the little crumbles that top off this dish. I love that this dish is easy to throw together, but looks elegant on a holiday or celebration table.

8 cups Brussels sprout halves (trim off end of each sprout and cut in half)

4 strips Louis Rich turkey bacon (or similar)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup sliced shallots

1 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted in a nonstick frying pan

2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • Micro-steam the Brussels sprouts with a couple tablespoons of water until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on your microwave). Watch carefully so they don’t overcook. Drain any excess water.
  • Meanwhile, cook the turkey bacon strips over medium-high heat in a large nonstick frying pan coated with canola cooking spray, flipping them often, until crisp. Let cool on a paper towel, and then break them into small pieces.
  • Add the canola oil to the same pan and heat over a medium-high flame. Add the shallots and saute, stirring frequently, for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute another minute or two or until the shallots are golden. Stir in the Brussels sprout halves and saute a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, to char part of the sprouts.
  • Sprinkle pecans and brown sugar over the top and stir to blend. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir for another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle turkey bacon bits over the top.

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