Ways to spice up your cruciferous dishes

Your culinary arts courses might have left you feeling that cruciferous plants aren’t much of a novelty to eat. However, they do come with some health benefits. A new study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research suggests that eating such foods can actually encourage the body’s cells to remove harmful chemicals. Researchers assessed 300 Chinese adults as they consumed a beverage made of broccoli sprouts every day for three months. The diet addition led participants to excrete benzene and acrolein. Both compounds are carcinogenic, and have been tied to diseases such as cancer. Having fewer of these toxins in the body may reduce the risk of developing illnesses.

The detoxifying properties of cruciferous plants could get you interested in vegetables once shoved away by kids everywhere. Try out these dish ideas to put broccoli, kale and cauliflower back on the menu:

Roasted broccoli with chili powder
Roasting vegetables brings out a toasted flavor, and the technique can do wonders for broccoli. You can add spice to the roasted broccoli by mixing it with chili powder and garlic. Simply chop the vegetable, toss the pieces with olive oil, chili powder, minced garlic, salt, pepper and your choice of other spices. Roast the dish in the oven until the broccoli is starting to brown, or about 20 minutes. This dish makes a versatile side sure to complement any protein.

Kale with peppers and olives
This dish is a great option for a light lunch, though it also makes a delicious dinner side. Start by washing the leaves and removing the stems. Next saute the garlic until it browns. Add stock of your choice and kale to the pot and cover. Once the kale is tender, add chopped peppers, olives, salt and a little bit of sugar. Cook the dish until the liquid has evaporated. You can serve the kale warm or at room temperature. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top for some added flavor.

Chipotle-lime cauliflower
Heat up the grill and get your cauliflower ready for a dish that’s healthy and flavorful. Remove the leaves and chop the head into three or four large pieces. Set that aside and get a bowl and whisk to make the marinade. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil and the juice of two limes. Next add two grated cloves of garlic and a touch of honey or agave. In another bowl, mix together paprika, lime zest, chipotle and salt. Brush the cauliflower with the marinade, then dust it with the spice mix. Grill each side until the cauliflower reaches your desired texture. You can sprinkle chopped cilantro and squeeze lime juice over the top when you serve the dish.

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