Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

Enjoy Warm and Tasty Winter Vegetables

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

Brussels sproutsAlthough 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.

preparing broccoli to eatWhen 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.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Chipotle Black Bean and Corn SaladThe 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

KaleKale 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

Belgian EndiveThe 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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Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

(close up) Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladAutumn gives way to cold days and nights. Just about all colors in nature have faded and plant life has gone dormant. But colors of nature are always at work, and they can be found in the foods we consume through the winter months.

Like Belgian endive, which peaks in late November and is generally available through early spring. Also available year round, are Brussels sprouts, which normally peak in the fall to early winter.

Through the winter we can obtain artichoke, bok choy, snow peas, and water cress. Of course most of that produce is green in color.

If you want to see color then feast your eyes on the red beets  as well as green and red apples, including green and red pears.

Fall winter produceThere is also oranges, blood oranges with its sweet red colored flesh, red pomegranates, and yellowish parsnips.

Not to forget cream skinned butternut squash with a deep orange hue colored flesh, and that brings us to our feature recipe: Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad.

Here at Splendid recipes and More we keep the health conscience in mind who not only wish to eat healthy, but also wish to know the nutrient value of the food they consume.

Butternut squash has folate which helps to build a strong heart and prevent a heart attack. The function of folate is to work against compounds that compromise the structure of the blood vessels. A correlation between consuming foods that contain folate and reduced incidences of colon cancer.

Researchers have found that a vitamin A deficiency, caused by A carcinogen in cigarette smoke, contributes to a vitamin-A deficiency, which leads to the debilitating disease of emphysema. Any winter squash including butternut squash, are rich in vitamin-A, which research suggests  could protect against emphysema.

It would be ideal to stop smoking, a diet rich in vitamin A and beta-cryptoxanthin may protect lung health if a person choose not to quit or is daily exposed to cigarette smoke.

Now for the recipe, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. chicken breast, fat trimmed

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, sliced 2 to 3 inches long by ½ inch wide

8 cups baby spinach, washed

2/3 cup fresh goat cheese

½ cup pecan pieces

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Himalayan salt

Black pepper

Garlic powder

Carrot and Ginger Dressing

seasoned roasted chicken breast - Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad

Arrange chicken breasts onto a glass baking dish, and sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder according to taste. Place into a 350 degree oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn breast over and reapply salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and roast another 10 minutes. Check internal temperature of meat, if it is at least 160 degrees remove meat and set aside.

roasted butternut squash -  Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladPrepare butternut squash and place into a large bowl, but only after spooning in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven on 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes or just until squash is baked but not soft. Remove from oven and set aside.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash with Spinach and Goat Cheese SaladUsing four dinner plates, plate each with 2 cups of spinach.

Top with sliced chicken breast (about 4 to 5 slices) and 5 to 6 slices of roasted squash.

Top with pecans, and cheese, then pour on the Carrot and Ginger dressing (purchased at Whole foods Market). Serve and enjoy!

Salad can be eaten warm or cold, and served with fresh sourdough bread and real butter.

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