Kale has been a trendy superfood for several years now, but I'm over it. If you're looking to spice up your vegetable garden and your plate, it's time to try some new cruciferous vegetables. These five options are just as nutritious as kale, but with more variety in texture, flavor, and cooking applications.
- Bok Choy
Bok choy, also known as pak choy, is a leafy green with crunchy stalks and mild flavor. It's a staple in many Asian dishes and is often stir-fried or added to soups. Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, and potassium.
Stir-fry bok choy with garlic and ginger for a simple and tasty side dish. You can also add it to soups and stews for a healthy boost of nutrients.
- Gai Lan
Gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli or Kai-lan, is a leafy green with thick stems and small, broccoli-like florets. It has a slightly bitter flavor and a crunchy texture. Gai lan is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. It's a popular vegetable in Chinese cuisine, often stir-fried or steamed.
Steam gai lan and serve it with a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil. You can also add it to stir-fries or chop it up and add it to salads.
- Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, has a mild, sweet flavor and is often used in salads and slaws. It has a high water content and is low in calories, making it a great choice for hydrating and refreshing dishes. Napa cabbage is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and calcium.
Use napa cabbage to make homemade kimchi or add it to your favorite stir-fry recipe.
Mizuna is a leafy green with a mild, peppery flavor and delicate texture. It's a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine and is often added to salads and soups. Mizuna is high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium and iron. It's also a good source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Add mizuna to salads or use it as a topping for pizza. You can also sauté it with garlic and olive oil for a quick and easy side dish.
Radishes come in a variety of shapes and colors and are often overlooked as a cruciferous vegetable. They have a crisp texture and a slightly spicy flavor, making them a great addition to salads and sandwiches. Radishes are high in vitamin C and potassium, and their leaves are rich in calcium and iron.
Slice radishes thinly and add them to sandwiches or tacos for a crunchy and refreshing bite. You can also roast them in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt for a healthy snack.
Experiment with different varieties, and try incorporating them into your favorite recipes. You may just find a new favorite vegetable that outshines kale in every way.
Here're some general growing tips for Brassica vegetables:
Prepare the soil: Add inoculated biochar or aged compost to the soil before planting. This will help to improve the soil structure and provide the necessary nutrients.
Plant at the right time: Brassicas can be planted in the spring or fall, depending on the variety. Spring planting should occur when the soil is workable, usually around April. Fall planting should occur around late July to early August. Try using burlap as a shade cloth in late spring to help prevent bolting.
Water regularly: Brassicas require consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Be sure to water them regularly, especially during hot, dry spells.
Control pests and diseases: Brassicas are susceptible to several pests and diseases, including aphids, cabbage worms, and flee beetles. To control pests, try using row covers.