Recipe corner: broccoli salad and stir-fried bok choy
Cruciferous vegetables contain naturally occurring compounds that help decrease inflammation or influence cancer cell growth. One group of substances, phytochemicals (plant pigments), are responsible for the color, flavor and odor of the vegetables. With the wide variety of beautiful colors, these veggies provide different health protections as well as other nutrients.
Did you know that deep green broccoli and bok choy are excellent sources of vitamin K? You may need to limit amounts, though, if you take some blood thinners. They’re also a surprising source of vitamin C. Bok choy has two thirds the amount of an orange, while broccoli has more than an orange—about 50 percent more!
Some people get better health protection from these vegetables than others which may be due to genetics or simply how the produce was prepared. For the best benefits, aim for at least 3 servings (1 cup cooked, or 2 cups raw, leafy) of cruciferous vegetables per week. The recipes for Broccoli Salad and Stir-Fried Bok choy are a tasty place to start.
Everyone has their favorite version of a broccoli salad, but this one is more plant based-omitting the bacon and cheese found in many recipes. The dried fruit and juice in the dressing provides the natural sweetness. Blanching the broccoli produces a bright green color, and gives it a pleasing texture. To blanch, cut broccoli into florets, and place in boiling water for two minutes. Immediately place the florets in an ice water bath to stop the broccoli from cooking further.
Makes 4 servings.
- 4 cups broccoli florets, blanched, drained
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 3 tablespoons raisins or unsweetened, dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons dry roasted sunflower seeds
- ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon reduced fat mayonnaise
- 3-4 tablespoons pineapple juice, or other juice
Combine the broccoli, red onion and raisins in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the broccoli mixture and toss to coat well. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight to the allow flavors to mingle.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: 96 calories, 6 grams protein, 2 grams fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 64 milligrams sodium.
Stir-fried bok choy
Have you ever heard of, or tried bok choy? It’s also called Chinese cabbage. While it’s less familiar than broccoli, it’s very easy to prepare. You’ll find it in the produce aisle as bok choy, baby bok choy, or petite baby bok choy (which was used to prepare this recipe). Be sure to wash it thoroughly to remove all the dirt and grit.
Makes 4 servings.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh, minced ginger
- 8 cups of bok choy, chopped (about one pound)
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Heat oil in a frying pan, or wok, on medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for about one minute.
Add the bok choy and lite soy sauce. Stir fry for 3 to 5 minutes until the bok choy stems are slightly crisp but the greens are wilted. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and and serve warm.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: 75 calories, 3 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 672 milligrams sodium.
Recipes provided by Mary-Jo Sawyer, R.D., registered dietitian in the Outpatient Nutrition Clinic at VCU Health