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Cooking Winter Vegetables

Cooking Winter Vegetables


In the summertime daily farmers markets and roadside stands make it easier to eat locally and eat fresher. However, come wintertime, in many places around the country the options become much more limited. That doesn't mean that you have to just eat potatoes but it does make coming up with good original recipes a bit more difficult.

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most versatile items on the list because you can do just about anything with them. You can mash them, puree them into soup, or roast them for a side or as a whole meal. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, fiber and potassium as well as lutein and zeaxanthin which are found to promote eye health. You can whip them up with some apple cider for Apple Cider Sweet Potatoes or cut them up for Sweet Potato Chili Fries. Baked potatoes are also a favorite of ours during the gloomy months. Top it off with some carrot, squash, zucchini and Sweet Chili Powder for this Baked Potato with Spicy Toppings recipe.

Squash

When browsing your local grocery store produce section or if you're lucky enough to find a farmers market don't pass on the squash. Like the potatoes, you can use squash in a bunch of different ways. There is the classic Butternut Squash and Apple Soup which is not only good for you, but will fill you up with that nice warmth on days when the weather is nasty. If you want to mix it up a little more you can get a spaghetti squash and make Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti which is a staple of diets that try to eliminate processed grains such as the Paleo diet.

Radishes

Another great veggie that grows in the ground! In addition to using radishes as part of of Mexican dishes like Pork Burritos you can make a nice side of radishes to go with anything. Simply slice them into coins, toss with salt and olive oil, and bake on a sheet pan at 435 degrees for 30-45 minutes until lightly brown and tender. By cooking them you tame a bit of the pungency found in the raw state.

Kale

As one of the "trendy" foods of the last 5 years or so, kale has become much easier to find. The simplest way to eat kale is making kale chips. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning salt then bake at 350 degrees until the edges are brown but not burnt (about 10-15 minutes). Kale chips make a tasty, healthy snack you can take with you on the go or as a substitute for greasy potato chips. If you have a bunch of left over kale you can always add it as an ingredient in something like a Peruvian Beef Stew as well.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a vegetable that I often thought had little use outside of a side dish or as a something you dip into ranch dressing. However, a Hearty Cauliflower Soup can be just the thing you need to warm up on a cold day. Skip the canned soup aisle and get yourself some cauliflower and chicken (or veggie) stock and you almost have a soup! To mix it up even more you can use cauliflower in your pizza crust as well. Our Cauliflower Pizza Crust is a great way to have your veggies and to eliminate gluten. The crust actually held up surprisingly well under the weight of all the pizza toppings, too.

Broccoli

Sticking with the pizza theme why not make a Chicken Broccoli Pesto Pizza using the Cauliflower Pizza Crust? We used pita pockets, but the recipe would be just as good on the cauliflower crust. The broccoli adds nutrients as well as a really nice crispness to a pretty traditional dish. If a totally veggie pizza is a little too adventurous for you, broccoli also makes a great ingredient in stir fries like our Chicken 5 Spice Chicken Stir Fry.

Avocado

In addition to being one of my favorite stand-alone afternoon snacks, avocados make a perfect addition to Mexican cooking. I like to cut an avocado in half and sprinkle it with a little of our Himalayan Pink Salt for a very nutritious afternoon snack at work. Just like potatoes they are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin which work as antioxidants helping prevent eye disease. Finding and using the perfect avocados can take a bit of luck and practice but if the avocados start to get a little mushy they are prefect for guacamole. I like to take 1 or 2 avocados along with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a jalepeno and mush them all up in a bowl. My secret ingredient (shh don't tell) is just a dash of orange juice to give it a touch of citrus and to really bring out the flavor of the cilantro. Then just enjoy with your favorite chips or Mexican dish!

This is just a start to the things that you can do with winter vegetables. Everything can basically be cut and drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and popped into the oven for sides, but hopefully these recipes give you an idea on the other sorts of things that you can do to warm up when the weather outside is frightful. Check with your local farmers for when and where they will be selling their produce, because farming is a 365 day job so help support them by buying their winter veggies too. Stay warm out there!

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Coarse Himalayan Pink Salt

Coarse Himalayan Pink Salt

Starting at: $5.42

Sweet Chili Powder

Sweet Chili Powder

Starting at: $6.07

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