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What Do I Do With Cruciferous Vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are especially diverse, belong to the same plant family and have similar health benefits. These types of veggies include flower varieties like broccoli and cauliflower, leafy greens like arugula and collard greens (find more recipes on What Do I Do With Leafy Greens?), cabbages like napa and Brussels sprouts, and even root vegetables like turnips and radishes! We’ve provided cooking tips and recipes to help your participants add more cruciferous vegetables to their meals! Read on for more information or jump right to the recipes.

Counseling Corner

Well known for being sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, crucifers also contain folate, which you know is especially important for pregnant individuals. And the list doesn’t stop there. Many cruciferous veggies are also sources of vitamin K, potassium, and phytonutrients. Visit the Eye on Nutrition series to learn more about these and other nutrients and the WIC Meals of the Month series to find nutrient-specific recipes.

Tips & Ideas to Share

There are so many types of cruciferous vegetables and ways to prepare them that everyone in the family can find at least one type they love. Kale, bok choy and mustard greens are great eaten fresh in salads or sauteed with spices. Arugula, tatsoi and mizuna spice up salads. Broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, and radishes are naturally sweetened when roasted.

Tips for Cooking and Using



Some Recommended Cooking Methods

Flower, stem, bud

Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi

Sauté, roast, steam

Leafy green

Arugula, bok choy, broccoli rabe, collards, kale, mustard greens, tatsoi, mizuna, watercress

Sauté, steam


Turnip, rutabaga, radish, daikon radish, horseradish, wasabi, maca

Sauté, roast, steam, grill


  • Rinse: Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. For firm or root cruciferous vegetables, use a clean vegetable brush to remove dirt. For cabbage and leafy greens, remove the outermost leaves and then rinse.
  • Time-Saver: To reduce prep time, frozen Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower florets may be available at some locations. You can check your State agency’s authorized food list since frozen vegetables are not available in every State, U.S. Territory, or Indian Tribal Organization due to the flexibility they have in selecting foods for their WIC food packages.

Ideas to Try 

  • Add a cheese sauce to broccoli or cauliflower for a kid-friendly side.
  • Roast Brussels sprouts with your favorite spices.
  • Chop broccoli rabe, sauté and add to pasta sauce.
  • Throw some fresh arugula into a salad or sprinkle on top of a baked pizza.
  • Steam and then mash cauliflower for a simple side.
  • Slice Brussels sprouts finely to make the base of a crunchy salad.
  • Sauté bok choy and sprinkle with roasted cashews or peanuts and less-sodium soy sauce.
  • Have fun with children by making a face with cut up broccoli, radish slices, cauliflower, or other cut veggies.
  • Use collard green leaves as a wrap alternative for sandwiches.


Some cruciferous vegetables have a bitter taste, but cooking can bring 
out a sweeter flavor!




Basic Tofu and Broccoli

Bowtie Pasta with Chicken, Broccoli, and Feta

Brag About It Bread Bake (available in Spanish)

Broccoli Omelet (available in Spanish)

Broccoli Potato Soup (available in Spanish)

Heavenly Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta

Power Bowl

Sweet and Savory Broccoli Salad

Veggie Chow Mein (available in Spanish)


Cabbage and Brussels Sprouts 

Asian-Style Chicken Wraps

Baja-Style Salmon Tacos

Baked Eggrolls (available in Spanish)

Bell Pepper and Apple Coleslaw (available in Spanish)

Cabbage Salad (available in Spanish)

Encurtido Salvadoreño (Salvadoran Pickled Cabbage)

Grilled Lamb Salad (available in Spanish)

Lemon Dill Brussels Sprouts (available in Spanish)

Minestrone Soup

One Pan Roasted Green Veggies

Red Potato and Cabbage (Colcannon) (available in Spanish)

Turkey Stuffed Cabbage

Vegetable Kare-Kare (Peanut Stew)



Beyond Basic Grilled Cheese

Cauliflower with Whole-Wheat Breadcrumbs

One Bowl Cheesy Cauliflower Mash

Spinach and Cauliflower Smoothie


Leafy Greens 

Black Skillet Beef with Greens and Red Potatoes

Bok Choy Wrapper

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes with Quinoa and Greens

Chickpea and Kale Salad

Cucumber Blueberry Arugula Salad (available in Spanish)

Lightened-Up Greens

Lentils with Brown Rice and Kale

Sauteed Bok Choy


Root Veggies 

Fresh Cabbage, Radish, and Tomato Salad

Pot Roasted Beef (turnips) (available in Spanish)

Roasted Root Vegetables (available in Spanish)

Turnip Pancakes (available in Spanish)

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