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How to make the most of brassicas

Also known as cruciferous veg, they’re hearty, budget-friendly and versatile. Think brussels sprouts for stir fries, cabbage for soups and stews, and even kale in pesto. There are hundreds of ways to use this family of vegetables.

  1. How to store

    Most brassicas will keep for a week in the fridge, although tightly packed cabbages (such as red) will stay fresher even longer. Don’t store near bananas – this will hasten the process. 

    Broccoli has a shorter shelf life so is best used quickly; after three days it can begin to yellow and wilt. If you're looking for easy ways to use up your broccoli before it goes bad, why not try our cheesy roasted broccoli with lemony mash, or even a broccoli risotto spiked with salty bacon lardons.

    How to store
  2. How to cook

    These vegetables benefit from just brief cooking, especially if you’re boiling or steaming. Overcooking results in a sulphurous taste and smell, which is often what puts people off sprouts and cabbage.

    If you're looking for a new way to use your cabbage before it goes bad, our red cabbage 'steaks' with pesto will hit the spot. Or this shredded sprout and bacon tart is perfect for leftover sprouts. They can also be stir-fried or roasted, like in this crispy honey-roasted sprouts recipe.

    How to cook
  3. Broccoli

    A family favourite, broccoli is versatile and easy to prepare. The stalk is also edible, although it’s tougher than the florets: trim the edges, then finely dice and cook along with the florets as per your recipe.

    Tip: Adding to pasta or noodle dishes, or roasting for salads. It's perfect in this roasted broccoli side recipe, why not try it in this zesty pasta recipe, or even deep fried as tempura!

  4. Curly kale

    This hardy green has enjoyed a popularity boom in recent years due to its nutritional content per 100g: it’s a source of vitamin B6, and is high in vitamin C and folic acid. You can steam it, sitr fry it or even use try out this kale and almond pesto.

    Try Roasting with oil, a little salt and chilli fakes as a snack, like in this baked crispy kale recipe. Look out for cavolo nero too, perfect in this Tuscan-style soup recipe.

    Curly kale
  5. Pak choi

    Also called bok choy, the crunchy stalks of this Asian cabbage have a crisp texture and subtle cabbage flavour. The leaves, which cook more quickly, taste similar to spring greens.

    Try adding to stir-fries or salads. We love it in these Asian fish parcels or roasted with miso as a delicious side. Another great option is Derek Sarno’s BBQ tofu ramen.

    Pak choi
  6. Cauliflower

    Made up of creamy close-knit flower buds called curds, this versatile veg has a mild flavour that intensifies when roasted. Try marinating florets in spiced yogurt, then roasting. Its leaves are also edible and can be blanched or baked, like in this cauliflower curry

    For something a little different, cauliflower is a great topping on pizza or even in place of shnitzel if you're trying to cut down on your meat.

  7. Brussels sprouts

    These divisive miniature greens have a slightly sweet, nutty taste. Don’t cut a cross in them before cooking: this only lets water in and means the sprouts become mushy. They're great in Asian-style dishes, like this prawn and sprout stir-fry. You can try shredding and adding to slaw or make them crispy with a parmesan-crumb.

    Brussels sprouts
  8. Kalettes

    A recent addtion to the brassica family, kalettes are a hybrid of kale and sprouts. They have a sweeter taste than kale and cook more quickly than sprouts, or you can eat them raw if you like.

    Try steaming, or roasting with fish like we do in this recipe.

  9. Savoy sabbage

    Sweet and earthy, this crinkly cabbage is a winter favourite. The darker outer leaves have a stronger flavour and take slightly longer to cook.

    Try adding it to stews, pies or curries, or rolling to enclose a mix of rice, mince and spices like in these dumplings.

    Savoy sabbage