By Betha Merit
A few years back, I realized that new year’s resolutions were effective for me when adding something to my life, rather than taking away. So, instead of a plan to cut out cheeseburgers and chicken fried steak and doughnuts, let’s add veggies! And, let’s narrow it down to a group of veggies called brassica vegetables.
Brassica veggies are commonly referred to as cruciferous, so that puts us on the right trail. Broccoli, radishes, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and many of the wonderful but unidentified veggies in your Chinese take-out are on this list. They are known for their disease-fighting substances and are low in calories, fat, and sodium. A good source of fiber, they contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, and there’s more.
They also contain phytochemicals, which occur naturally in plants and have a variety of health benefits for our bodies. One of the best-known benefits in brassica is their apparent cancer-fighting properties. These vegetables contain sulfur-rich compounds knowns as glucosinolates, which explains their characteristic bitter taste and pungent smell. Studies have shown that consumption of brassicas could reduce the risk for multiple types of cancer. Boiling these vegetables can reduce the compounds that give this healthy effect, but steaming, microwaving, and stir frying don’t appear to do so.
An internet search for brassica or cruciferous vegetables will delight you with colorful images and recipes to encourage you in your add-brassica-veggies new year’s resolution. The following list is a good start:
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Chinese cabbage
- Collard greens
- Daikon radish
- Land cress
- Mustard greens
- Shepherd’s purse
Spicy Brassica Veggie Coconut Stir-fry
- 2 TBSP coconut oil
- 2 eggs, beaten (or substitute one chicken breast, cubed)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 1 cup small slices or pieces of broccoli and cauliflower (or brassica vegetables of your choice)
- 1 medium bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves shredded
- 1/4 Tsp salt
- 3/4 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 cups cooked and chilled brown rice
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 2 TBSP Sriracha
- 1 lime, halved and fresh cilantro, for garnish
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Pour in the eggs and cook until lightly scrambled (or cook chicken pieces for about 3-5 minutes until no longer pink). Transfer the eggs (or chicken) to a large empty bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and cook the garlic, green onions and brassica vegetables until tender, stirring frequently. Add the kale and salt. Continue to cook until the kale is wilted and tender, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to your bowl of eggs (or chicken).
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan. Pour in the coconut flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the flakes are golden. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is hot, about 3 minutes.
Pour the contents of the bowl back into the pan. Add the soy sauce, sriracha and juice of 1/2 lime. Stir to combine.
Slice the remaining 1/2 lime into wedges, then divide the stir-fry into individual bowls. Garnish with wedges of lime and a sprinkling of torn cilantro leaves. Offer red pepper flakes and extra sriracha.
Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower
- 1 small head of fresh cauliflower (or any brassica veggie of your choice)
- 2 -3 TBSP olive oil
- 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- fresh baby arugula for garnish
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the cauliflower into 1/4 inch thick slices, then cut those slices into smaller bites. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss cauliflower slices in the olive oil mixture to coat. Spread cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until browned, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally in order to brown evenly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven to allow the Parmesan cheese to brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately with baby arugula surrounding the plate.