What Are Cruciferous Vegetables? Here’s The List
Spinach, arugula, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are all popular, delicious, versatile, nutrient-packed vegetables. Beyond that, there’s another common thread that ties them all together that you might not know anything about.
Those names plus many others are all on a list of vegetables known as cruciferous (see below for a full list of all cruciferous vegetables).
The name “cruciferous” comes from Latin meaning “cross bearing” because of their four petaled flower resembling an X on top or sideways.
Cruciferous vegetables certainly do not look similar. They come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. What they happen to have in common is being packed with minerals, vitamins and nutrients that have huge health benefits to those of us consuming them.
Nutrients such as folate Vitamin A, C and K are all present and available. The dark, leafy green vegetables also contain plant-based phytonutrients that are known to lower inflammation in our bodies and help protect us against certain types of cancer.
All cruciferous vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories. Winners all round.
A huge benefit of eating regular meals and snacks containing cruciferous vegetables is you don’t have to eat pounds and pounds of it to get the full benefits. Adults should be eating at least 2.5 cups of vegetables every day. For raw leafy greens such as spinach or kale, a 1.5 cup serving is equal to 1 cup of vegetables consumed whereas for measuring the harder members such as broccoli and cauliflower, one cup is a cup.
My suggestion based on real life is don’t get too carried away with the measurements. Just enjoy as much as you can every day. You’ll soon start to see and feel the benefits.
If putting more of the multiple health benefits to use in your diet is for you, then these easy starter tips for a few of the more popular vegetables on the cruciferous list will help get you going.
Cauliflower is a beautiful, oh-so-tasty and versatile vegetable. You can eat it raw in salads or simply steam and serve but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Roasted cauliflower has pleasant and firm “meaty” texture that’s sure to please. Use your stick blender to turn steamed cauliflower into a delicious substitute for a high-calorie cream sauce. Finely diced, and gently cooked it makes a brilliant and super healthy alternative to rice. One of my personal favorite ways to eat it is to make an instant pickle with vinegar, a few herbs and spices and sea salt. The crunch is amazing, and the taste is delicious!
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of eating a pizza made with crushed cauliflower as the base for the crust, you know it makes a deliciously enjoyable treat that’s bursting with flavor and nutrients. Let your regular pizza crust try and match that!
The often-maligned Brussel sprout (I’ve no idea why some people hate on this amazing veggie but, it’s their loss). One of my favorite ways to serve Brussel Sprouts is to oven roast them with olive oil, garlic and diced jalapeno (include seeds for more heat or eliminate for a mild background hum of spice. Sprinkle with sea salt and pop into a 400- degree oven till tender and caramelized. You can do the same on the stove top in a heavy frying pan. Toss with fresh grated parmesan to serve. Delicious.
Kale has long been recognized as a super food and we now consume in dishes from salads to smoothies and everything in between. Kale is wonderful raw in salads (just remove the woody parts of the stem and fine dice the rest of it), especially when combined with a tasty salty-sweet dressing that compliments the slightly bitter taste.
One of my newer favorite snacks is kale chips. Tasty, salty, delicious and great for you.
Arugula is another popular member of the cruciferous family. Spicy and bitter, once pureed it makes a great pesto but equally delicious raw on homemade pizza. A quick and delightful salad favorite of mine is fresh arugula tossed with equal amount of spinach with grated or cubed feta cheese and a simple balsamic vinegar dressing. Serve with a toasted crusty bread for a truly delicious power lunch.
Below is a list of some of the many popular cruciferous vegetables you can enjoy.
Chances are, you’re already enjoying several of these. If not, now is the perfect time to learn exactly why you should have a list of cruciferous vegetables in your fridge every day.
- Broccoli sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
- Green cabbage
- Red cabbage
Dark, leafy greens also count in the brassica family:
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Bok choy
- Swiss chard
Some root vegetables also fall under the category of crucifers: