Creatively Cruciferous: Tasty AND Healthy Veggies


We’re not nutritionists over here at Making It Real, but we do value well-balanced eating. And we know that vegetables do a body good: It’s generally recommended that adult women consume at least two and a half cups of vegetables per day, and adult men should aim for at least three cups of veggies. If you’re thinking that the side salad you ate with dinner last night should cover your bases because it filled up a whole salad bowl, think again: One cup of cooked or raw broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower counts as one cup of vegetables. For leafy vegetables, like kale or arugula, two cups count as a one-cup serving. 

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, or mostly carnivore, your local farmers market is the perfect place to stock up on what’s fresh and local. This month we’re featuring cruciferous veggies (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and more!), which are readily available at markets. 


Remember, your total vegetable intake doesn’t have to come just from cruciferous vegetables, but they are an excellent source of all kinds of nutritional goodness. Let’s take a closer look at creative ways to prep and enjoy some of these nutrient-dense veggies.


Cauliflower Steak

Gone are the days of simply steaming and serving cauliflower (unless you just like it that way!). This innocuous-looking veggie is surprisingly versatile, and recipes abound for everything from cauliflower rice to cauliflower cream sauce to cauliflower pizza crust. 

But our favorite twist is perfect for vegans and carnivores alike: cauliflower steak. Slice your cauliflower into half-inch slabs, then roast or saute to bring out the flavor. It won’t taste like meat, exactly (‘cause, you know, it’s not), but it’s delicious enough that many a meat eater has asked for seconds.


Bohemian Broccoli

With its powerful nutrient profile, broccoli deserves more than a corner of the obligatory cocktail party vegetable tray. Dress up any saute by adding bright green broccoli to the mix, or allow it to shine as the main star: Either boiled or chopped raw, broccoli serves as an excellent salad base. For a quick salad, boil broccoli, then stir in cardamom, sea salt, brined artichoke hearts, and crumbled goat cheese. Top with extra virgin olive oil for a delicious cold side dish. Or, if you’re looking for something warmer, try Making It Real’s garlic-roasted broccoli.


Crispy Kale

Green and leafy yet hearty and robust, kale is a bit like lettuce on steroids. Even after you remove the tough stem and slice it into pieces, kale will hold its crispness for days, unlike its more fragile counterparts. 


 This well-known superfood can be a bit bitter, but culinary creatives know the secret is to pair kale with something sweet. For a warm and unexpected salad, whip up a quick saute of carrots, onions, cabbage, and turmeric, then either pour your sauteed veggies over a bed of kale, or serve with a side of crispy kale chips.

Sweet-and-Savory Brussels Sprouts

Like kale, Brussels sprouts have their own distinct flavor. Rather than trying to downplay their earthiness, allow them to stand tall by roasting them, then play up their savoriness. Like kale, Brussels sprouts do well paired with dried fruit, but you can also accentuate their unique flavor with additional savory ingredients such as Parmesan cheese or sliced olives. Or you can do both, like we do here at Making it Real with our honey-sriracha roasted brussels sprouts. Yum.


Arugula Pesto

Sure, arugula is great to perk up a boring salad, but why leave it on your salad plate when its spiciness can be leveraged in so many ways? Easy to grow in your garden or in a planter, you can puree the spicy leaves into a pesto that brings an unexpected kick.

Real & Raw

While most veggies can be boiled, sautéed, roasted, or baked before they hit the dinner table, many  types of vegetables, including cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, arugula, watercress, radishes, and more, can also be eaten straight out of the garden. No time to cook is no excuse; simply chop and enjoy.


If you’re located in Richmond, Virginia, let’s connect and talk food! Once we’re connected, we can share recipes, farmers markets finds, and more. You can find us on Facebook and even join our FB group. You can tell us what you love about eating local, and we’ll keep you in the loop with all the juicy details about our upcoming events and workshops.

You can also find us at multiple local farmers markets, where our chef and owner Ginger Rucker is happy to introduce you to your local farmers. You can meet the folks who grow and harvest the delicious ingredients found in all of Making It Real’s pre-prepared meals. It doesn’t get more farm-to-table than that!