Seasonal Selections: Cruciferous Veggies

Story, Recipes and Photography by Robin Fannon | IG: rsvp_robin

When it’s cold outside, we tend to think about hearty, stick-to-your-rib type meals, but during the winter months delicious vegetables are plentiful, in particular those of the cruciferous variety which happen to have some of the greatest health benefits. They are low in calorie, rich in folate, vitamins C, E and K, and are loaded with dietary fiber. These dynamos can lower body inflammation and have been proven to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Unfortunately, they can also be tough with strong unique flavors, so the challenge is to make them palatable and delicious. This month’s recipes are just that! One extra salad recipe consisting of fennel, beets and in-season citrus fruits is included for good measure. All are extremely delicious and packed with life affirming super foods. Here is just a fun fact: The name cruciferous comes from a latin word meaning “cross bearing” because their base petals resemble a cross.

Fennel, Roasted Beet and Citrus Salad


  • 2 medium red beets, tops trimmed
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 medium navel orange (preferably Cara Cara)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive, pumpkin seed, or walnut oil (for drizzling)
  • Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro and/or chervil leaves


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Wash beets, leaving some water on skins. Wrap individually in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool.
  • Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from all oranges; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes of 2 blood oranges to release segments into bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Slice remaining blood orange and Cara Cara orange crosswise into thin rounds. Place sliced oranges in bowl with the segments. Add lemon juice and lime juice.
  • Peel cooled beets. Slice 2 beets crosswise into thin rounds. Cut remaining 2 beets into wedges. Strain citrus juices; reserve. Layer beets and oranges on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. 

Collard Green Wraps


  • fresh collard greens (these can be blanched if desired) 
  • tri-colored quinoa (cooked as per instructions) 
  • sliced fresh mango
  • sliced fresh red pepper strips
  • sliced fresh mango
  • sprouts or micro greens 
  • sour cream and lemon


  • Lay collard greens on a flat surface and remove bottom part of stem 
  • Starting with approximately 3 tablespoons of cooked quinoa as the base, layer the rest of the ingredients on top. 
  • Top with a squeeze of lemon and dollop of sour cream. Wrap all the ingredients up in the collard greens and enjoy!  

Kale Caesar Salad



  • 6 cups of 1-inch diced rustic bread (ciabatta or Italian loaf)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (use vegetarian Parmesan for vegetarian option)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 8 cups kale leaves (lightly packed), ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 large head romaine lettuce hearts, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut in half again lengthwise, then cut crosswise on a diagonal, to 1-inch wide strips
  • 4 Tbsp grated Parmesan
  • Instructions
  • 1 Toast croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Spread bread cubes out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and bake until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Toss while still warm in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • 2 Make vinaigrette: Place the vinaigrette ingredients into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth.
  • 3 Assemble salad: Place the chopped kale and romaine leaves into a large bowl. Add the dressing and massage with your (clean) hands until the salad is well dressed. (Massaging the kale with your hands helps soften the leaves.) Alternatively, dress the salad and let it sit for an hour or two, allowing time for the dressing to soften the sturdy kale.  Add the croutons and the Parmesan cheese.

Sautéed Cabbage with Cumin Seeds and Turmeric


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds 
  • 3 pounds green cabbage, cored and thinly shredded 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 


  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Stir in the cumin seeds and cook until they are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the shredded cabbage, turmeric and kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is softened and browned in spots, 15 to 20 minutes. 
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