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Michelle Warner

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Great Greens

Posted on October 24th, 2011

Monday Morsel

sometimes random.
sometimes deep.
just a little something
to begin your week.

I never knew much about cruciferous vegetables until I was diagnosed with cancer. Then it seemed like every book I read, health experts touted the benefits of consuming cruciferous veggies. Research has shown that consistently eating cruciferous vegetables  can lower inflammation, inhibit tumor growth, increase fiber intake, and reduce free radicals. Sounds convincing enough to add these great greens into my regular diet–don’t you agree?

Below is a list of cruciferous vegetables with corresponding recipes. I placed a star next to the recipes that I have tried and enjoyed. The others I have collected in my recipe binder but have not yet tried. I would love to hear any recommendations on the recipes below or any others containing cruciferous vegetable that you recommend.

1) KALE ~ a form of cabbage extremely high in Vitamin K and A

[It is important to eat organic kale because kale is listed on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list due to heavy pesticide exposure.]

Sautéed Kale*

1-2 lbs of kale, washed, chopped, and stems removed
1 red onion, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
½ cup chicken stock
Red wine vinegar

Heat a large sauté pan and add garlic and onion. Cook until onion is translucent or soft. Add kale and cook for 10 minutes before adding chicken stock. Cover. Simmer for about 10 more minutes. (Optional: serve garnished with red wine vinegar.)

Stir-Fried Kale and Broccoli Florets*

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
7 cloves garlic, sliced
1 chili pepper, chopped
1 head broccoli, chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut in thin strips
Juice of 2 limes

Heat olive oil in a large wok or skillet over medium high heat. Stir in garlic and chili pepper; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in broccoli; cook 1 minute. Add kale, and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes. Pour in lime juice, and season with salt to taste. Toss well.

*I also add kale into my smoothies that I eat daily.

Baked Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
(Optional: Replace soy sauce with salt.)

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a knife or kitchen shears carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake until the edges are brown but are not burnt, 6 to 15 minutes. (Check often because they can easily become too well done.)

2) BRUSSELS SPROUTS ~ a form of cabbage high in Vitamin A and C

Roasted Brussels Sprouts*
(surprisingly, one of my all-time favorites)

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Bag of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
½ cup of walnuts, chopped
Sea Salt

Combine Brussels sprouts, garlic, oil, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Mix and place on a jelly roll pan. Heat at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Add walnuts to Brussels sprouts. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are slightly brown. (Optional: add 1 cup of mushrooms to Brussels sprouts when cooking. Add ½ cup of chopped parsley and lemon juice to season.)

3) CAULIFLOWER ~ greens high in Vitamin C and K

Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower, sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 1 head cauliflower cross-wise into 1/2 –inch-thick slices. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until tender, about 10 minutes more. Serve immediately. (Optional: add paprika along with the salt and pepper. Top with chopped parsley leaves and sherry vinegar.)

Mashed Cauliflower*

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
3 cups water or chicken broth in large pot (add more as needed)
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp goat cheese or milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Herbs, chopped (like rosemary or parsley)
1 bay leaf
Grated cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water or chicken broth (with bay leaf) to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. (You can also steam the cauliflower if you’d rather.) Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher). Add goat cheese/milk, 1-2 garlic cloves, oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, top with chopped herbs and grated cheese and serve.

4) BROCCOLI ~ a form of cabbage high in Vitamin C, K, and A

Sautéed Chili Lemon Broccoli*

6 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
1 lb. broccoli
6 oz. dry white wine or chicken broth
1 Tbsp. red chili pepper flakes
1 zest of a lemon

Sauté olive oil and garlic until sizzling over medium heat. Add broccoli, tossing for 8-10 minutes. Use wine/broth to slow cooking down if garlic begins to brown. When broccoli is tender, add chili flakes and zest.

Steamed Broccoli with Lime Dressing*

1 ¼ lbs broccoli (1 large bunch)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2  tsp. toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
Coarse salt

Prepare broccoli in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add broccoli pieces in a single layer. Cover, and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together lime juice and sesame oil; season with salt. Add broccoli to dressing; toss lightly to coat. Serve immediately.

5) CABBAGE ~ is a leafy green vegetable high in Vitamin C

[It is not as important to eat organic cabbage because cabbage is listed on the EWG’s Clean 15 list due to not as heavy pesticide exposure.]

Cabbage Lasagna

1 head cabbage
1 1/2 lbs organic ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon basil
32 ounces spaghetti sauce
1/3 cup brown rice
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Cut cabbage into quarters. Peel, boil for 3 minutes, and drain. Brown turkey with onion and drain. Mix with garlic powder, oregano, and basil. Put 1/3 of cabbage leaves into bottom of crockpot. Cover with 1/3 of meat mixture, 1/3 of rice, 1/3 of spaghetti sauce, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat layers two more times. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

6) BOK CHOY ~ also known as Chinese Cabbage high in Vitamin A

Stir Fried Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
8 cups chopped fresh bok choy
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

7) COLLARD GREENS ~ leafy greens high in Vitamin C

[It is important to eat organic collard greens because collard greens are listed on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list due to heavy pesticide exposure.]

Sautéed Collard Greens

2 1/2 pounds collard greens
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a kettle of boiling water cook collards 15 minutes and drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with back of a wooden spoon. Mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat  oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.

8 ) ARUGULA ~ greens high in Vitamin C and potassium

Fig and Arugula Salad with Parmesan*

2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
16 fresh figs, each cut in half lengthwise
6 cups trimmed arugula (about 6 ounces)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (1 ounce) shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add figs; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Add arugula and pepper; toss well. Top with cheese. Serve immediately.


One tip I want to make sure I don’t forget: do not overcook your cruciferous vegetables! They will smell and taste more sulfur-like and then I think you’d be less convinced to eat these good-for-you greens. It’s also important to consider what oil you are using when cooking vegetables at high heat. (I researched healthy oils in a past blog.) In addition to eating many great greens, I also take a supplement called DIM that contains a mega-dose of cruciferous vegetables and helps in hormone detoxification. I’d love to hear if you have found any recommended products or recipes to help increase your greens intake!

One Comment on “Great Greens”

  • allison says:

    So great– I actually had roasted brussel sprouts (minus the walnuts) & broccoli (plus lots of parmesan cheese) tonight… delish. :) Love this.

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