Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy, watercress, radish, arugula, horseradish, wasabi, Swiss chard, and Chinese cabbage.

Does this list cause any unpleasant olfactory-related memories?

“The good news is, that smell and slightly bitter taste is a sign these veggies contain health-promoting sulfur-containing phytochemicals call glucosinolates,” said Dr. Pam Duitsman, nutrition and health education specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Better still, methods of preparation such as roasting or sautéing in extra virgin olive oil can bring out sweet, nutty, remarkable flavors.

Cruciferous veggies are touted as healthy, and science continues to show us the validity of that claim.  Numerous research studies have associated the intake of cruciferous veggies with reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and a reduced risk of several types of cancer.

“Hundreds of studies suggest many other health benefits, including possible protective help against depression, inflammation, pain, diabetes, and other issues,” said Duitsman.

When cruciferous vegetables are chopped, chewed, or cooked, an enzyme is released that breaks down glucosinolates and results in the formation of glucose and biologically highly active health-promoting compounds such as indoles and isothiocyanates.

The cruciferous vegetable family includes at least 40 types of cruciferous vegetables, and many of those are in season from May through November in Missouri. When not in season, healthy choices for these vegetables can be found frozen at your grocer.

Red, White And Green Salad

This salad is packed with vitamin C, has a good amount of vitamin A, is very low in sodium, and has no cholesterol.

Serves 6

1 small head of cauliflower (separated into flowerettes and chopped stem)

1 small bunch broccoli (separated into flowerettes and chopped stem)

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

1/2 medium-sized red onion, sliced and separated into rings


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon basil

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

black pepper to taste

dash of nutmeg (optional)

Steam or microwave cauliflower and broccoli until crisp-tender. Place broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and onion in salad bowl. In a jar, combine oil, water, vinegar, garlic, basil, dry mustard, pepper, and nutmeg. Shake to blend well. Pour dressing over vegetables. Toss gently and serve.

Nutrition Facts:  1 Serving = about 10 ounces.  Calories 115; Calories from Fat 67; Total Fat 7.4 g; Sat Fat 1.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0.0 mg; Sodium 71.5 mg; Total Carbohydrate 9.7 g; Dietary Fiber 5.5 g; Sugars 5.3 g; Protein 4.8 g.

Roasted Cauliflower

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, try roasting it! Roasted vegetables become crisp on the outside, and soft and savory on the inside. This method caramelizes the sugars and brings out the natural sweetness of most vegetables.


3-4 C cauliflower florets (cut large florets into quarters)

1 T extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Wash and trim cauliflower, cutting each large floret into quarters.

Dump onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with oil and gently toss to coat all pieces.

You may add pepper, curry powder, garlic powder, or another seasoning to taste.

Spread cauliflower out, so they are not touching, and make sure a flat side is facing down.

Place pan into oven on a center rack and roast for 10 minutes.

Turn pieces over with a spatula or tongs.

Roast for another 5-10 minutes or until they are slightly browned and crispy.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.

To Serve:

Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold. Store roasted cauliflower florets for up to five days in the refrigerator – they reheat well and can be added to many recipes.

Nutrition Facts:  Makes approximately six 1 cup servings.  Calories 34; Calories from fat 24; Total Fat 3 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 11 mg; Carbohydrate 2g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Protein 1 g.