Just because the weather is cold shouldn’t keep you from enjoying in season fresh produce. Nature gives us a collection of its best winter vegetables that have proven to be flavorful. Winter root vegetables can contribute an interdependent, sweet flavor to a hearty winter soup recipe, like carrots, or sweet potatoes.
Roasting most winter vegetables brings out their best flavors. Even using complementary herbs and spices helps add some extra exceptional tastes.
Available In Season Winter Vegetables
Although Brussels sprouts are available year-round, their peak season is from September to February.
When looking to purchase them, remember to look for small firm sprouts with compact bright-green heads, and the smaller the head the sweeter the taste. Roasting Brussels sprouts lightly caramelizes their edges but keeps them tender inside.
To view a few recipes using Brussels sprouts one of the following links:
Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon – includes a video
Warm Brussels sprouts and Dilled Potato Salad – includes a video
Brown Butter and Brussels Sprout with Fennel
At All Recipes (allrecipes.com) they call Broccoli the star vegetable in stir-fries, soups, salads, and casseroles. Broccoli can be purchased year round. But when in season, as a winter vegetable when roasted retains its entire flavor and even gains deliciously crisp bits when.
When asked the question – How Do You Describe Broccoli? – to a community of online people at answers.com, one member answered saying, “Broccoli is good chopped into small pieces or cut into larger piece and cooked until tender.
It’s delicious to eat as it is when cooked naturally and also in recipes. The popular dish, broccoli and cheese is made with cooked, tender broccoli before draining and stirring in cheese until it melts and mixes in with the broccoli. You can also make cheese sauces, which you serve, poured over the broccoli on a plate. Either way it is cooked or served, broccoli is a favorite among vegetables and nutritionally powerful” (Answers).
To view a recipe using broccoli click here: Baked Garlic and Broccoli
The Sweet Potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. This species of plants are known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, which has more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.
The sweet potato is a starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root. There are about 1,000 species of sweet potatoes, with some varieties sold at market for food, while others are not for consumption, as they are poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the common potato, though it is not part the nightshade family.
The website – “The Worlds Healthiest Foods” – has this to say about sweet potatoes when preparing to eat them, “It can be helpful to include some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable.
Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.
In our Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe, for example, we include 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and with just this one tablespoon, each of our 4 servings for this delicious recipe provides 3.5 grams of fat (whfoods).
To view a few recipes using sweet potatoes click one of the following links:
Sweet Potato Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans
Southwestern Black Bean and Sweet Potato Soup
Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips
Kale is considered to be the most robust of the cabbage family. Its high nutritional worth and intense flavor make kale an exceptional addition too many vegetable recipes. At Mind Body Green, Alison Lewis makes note of kale as “the new beef,” “the queen of greens,” and “a nutritional powerhouse”(MBG).
To view a few recipes using kale click one of the following links:
Red Kale Cannellini Beans and Chorizo Soup
Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup
Red Kale Beets and Sweet Cilantro Vinaigrette
Leeks are winter root vegetable that looks much similar to onions, and to which they are also related. Their flavor is onion-like but much milder, mellower, and not overpowering, as onions sometimes can be.
The darker green parts have plenty of flavor. They can either be cooked longer then the root parts to tenderize them, or used when making homemade soup stock, like chicken broth base soup along with potatoes, carrots, and herbs.
They can also be eaten raw or joined with a salad of leafy greens to divulge a wonderful crisp crunchy flavor.
Link here for a recipe using leeks: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken – includes a video
Turnips are a a round, light-colored root related to the mustard family. Though the vegetable is grown for its eatable root, the top green parts are also enjoyed in salads. Turnip greens are a common side dish in southeastern U.S. cooking, primarily during late fall and winter months.
Smaller leaves are preferred when boiling them in water, as the larger the leaf the stronger the flavor. However, if you find yourself cooking with larger turnip greens, any bitter taste can be reduced by pouring off the water from initial boiling and replacing it with fresh water.
The natural sweetness of Parsnips comes alive when they’re roasted and caramelized. The addition of fresh rosemary, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar makes a sweet, aromatic glaze. Roasted parsnips make a great side dish for pork tenderloin.
Link here for a recipe using parsnips : Roasted Root Vegetables with Brussels sprouts and Bacon
The genuine Belgian endive is deeply rooted in its country of origin – Belgian, were it was discovered in 1830. This compact white colored small cylindrical shaped leaf vegetable with light green tips is a tangy, but tender and delicious vegetable.
Some cooks add the leafy vegetable to soups, while others use it in salads.
Link here for more about endives discovery and for a recipe: Endive and Fruit Salad with Chicken – includes a video
Other winter vegetables that can still be found in your local market are…
Buttercup Squash – Collard Greens – Delicata Squash – Sweet Dumpling Squash – Winter Squash
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