Cooking Cruciferous Vegetables

Cooking Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables provide a cornucopia of fresh flavor and outstanding nutrition during this time of year—and, as Chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute points out, there are thousands of choices. For now, we’ll focus on three of them: cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

How to Cook Cauliflower

First, as Jamie notes, you don’t have to cook cauliflower at all. This cruciferous vegetable is already perfectly delicious when raw. If you’d like to cook cauliflower, you can use pureeing and roasting techniques.

If you’re enjoying the small heads of fresh cauliflower that are regeneratively grown by The Chef’s Garden, you can simply quarter the heads and then roast them. When you mix in different hues of this vegetable, it adds visual appeal.

Farmer Lee Jones really appreciates the robustness of cauliflower, especially since this vegetable becomes even more hearty and flavorful under the freezing temperatures that we often get in Ohio. As a child, he wasn’t thrilled about how he needed to help harvest cauliflower in chilly temperatures but, as an adult, he loves to spotlight how Mother Nature provides a beautiful bounty even as temperatures drop.

Health benefits of cauliflower—an incredibly vitamin rich vegetable—can help to prevent heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. So, we applauded quite loudly when the Mayo Clinic named cauliflower as a “nutrition superstar.”

Cauliflower recipes include the following:

How to Cook Broccoli

Again, Jamie shares, cooking is optional. If you’d like to cook yours, he invites you to look at a crown of broccoli in a brand new way. It’s not just one delicious veggie. It’s three. There are the light and tiny pearls at the tips that people often trim; the mid-section of the stem; and the bulk part of the stem.

If you separate the fresh broccoli into these three parts, you can cook them differently and then put them back together for a layered tasting experience. In The Chef's Garden: A Modern Guide to Common and Unusual Vegetables—with Recipes, we use dicing, pureeing, and blanching techniques to prepare the parts before folding them back together again.

Health benefits of broccoli include heart protection, cancer prevention, bone strengthening, reduced inflammation, brain health, and more. Nutritionist and other health experts recommend eating the rainbow—and broccoli is on their list of recommended foods.

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

The versatility of fresh brussels sprouts, Jamie says, makes it a king of cruciferous. “They’re like perfect little cabbages, ones that can be shaved into a slaw, pickled, roasted, braised, canned, and more.” You can also use the marrow of the brussels sprouts stalk, he adds, to create a true center of the plate experience.

To celebrate this vegetable’s incredible versatility, here are five brussels sprouts recipes:

No matter which cruciferous vegetables you’ll be using in your family’s meal, our advice is the same. Enjoy! Whether you have a favorite recipe that you’ll use or you’re experimenting with something new, when you eat cruciferous vegetables that are regeneratively farmed at The Chef’s Garden, you’re enjoying fresh vegetables with the maximum of flavor and nutrition.

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