Cruciferous Crackers (Raw)
Talk about an “aha” moment. I was listening to one of our favorites, Dr. Greger of NutritionFacts.Org talk about ways to cook broccoli so that you get the biggest bang for your buck. He mentioned (say that with an elongated meeeennnnnntioned) that one of the most potent cancer fighting antioxidants, sulforaphane that broccoli contains is actually bioavailable in raw broccoli, not cooked. Unless you chop the broccoli, let it sit for 45 minutes and then cook it.
Broccoli contains an enzyme that needs to be present to activate sulforaphane. The whole reaction happens when the broccoli starts breaking down, like when you chew it. The enzyme is released, it activates the sulforaphane and presto, a super cancer fighting, cancer protecting, brain protecting, body protecting antioxidant, sulforaphane is activated. Here’s kicker. Cook that broccoli first and the enzyme gets destroyed and that wonderful cancer fighting antioxidant never gets activated. Three cheers for raw.
Dr. Greger goes on to explain that you can still get the benefits of sulforaphane if you pre-chop the broccoli, let it sit for 40 minutes as the enzyme does it’s thing. At that point, you can cook it and get the benefits. I am still saying, three cheers for raw. Because we can just make a wonderful salad with raw broccoli and the wonderful deed is done.
I am not sure why, but this really lifted my spirits. Raw takes so much heat for not being based in science. And granted, many claims that have been made cannot be scientifically backed up. It’s a drag because people want to point a finger and say, “See! Raw isn’t any better” basically throwing the baby out with the bath water. One negative does not delete all the positive.
I love hearing positive, scientific backed facts that support adding raw food to our diets is good for us. And in this case, it looks like we should be eating a good portion of our cruciferous vegetables raw.
This is what I do. I eat both. Cooked kale will give you tons more vitamin K than raw. But raw kale will give you wonderful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that cooking destroys. If you eat both, you get the best of both worlds. I always refer to it as the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Eat food that energizes and heals our bodies. Eat foods that help protect us from all of the environmental hazards we encounter daily.
You can read more about Dr. Greger’s research on broccoli here: How to Cook Broccoli
I have really been trying to incorporate a lot more cruciferous veggies into our daily eating. They are the power houses of health and the great soldiers for fighting disease. I can make salads, soups, and veggie dishes for the dinner table but what about turning them into a snack? That is exactly what I did with these crackers. The first batch is made from Romanesco Broccoli and the second is made from orange cauliflower! I will be bringing you the cauliflower recipe later in the week.
Romanesco is a cruciferous vegetable. It is a member of the brassica oleracea family. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale are some of the other members of this family. It is also called Romanesco Broccoli and Romanesco Cauliflower. It’s flavor is more mild than broccoli. You are probably wondering why romanesco instead of broccoli after all the previous rambling. Simple, it showed up in my CSA box. And if you don’t have romanesco, you can easily substitute broccoli! The good news is that it has many of the same health giving properties as broccoli.
For this recipe, your food processor is your best friend. A quick whirl, a spread on the non-stick sheet and a good overnight dehydration gives you light, airy, healthy, tasty crackers. They passed the taste approval here as I am noticing that there are not many left!
Looking for some great raw broccoli recipes? We have some here:
MAKES TWO SHEETS
- 8 cups chopped romanesco (or broccoli)
- 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Place romanesco or broccoli in food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. DO THIS IN TWO BATCHES. Remove to large bowl.
- Stir remaining ingredients into romanesco mixture.
- Spread 1/4-thick on non-stick dehydrator sheets. Score with a knife.
- Dehydrate for 45 minutes at 145, reduce heat and dehydrate for another 10 hours at 115. It helps to flip the crackers once during dehydration.