Winter vegetables make healthy and delicious meals

When you think about veggies, your mind might automatically wander back to summer — when you were treated to juicy tomatoes and bowls overflowing with greens. But this time of year presents its own bounty of winter vegetables, such as beets, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash (along with most other hard squashes and root vegetables), which can be transformed in so many warm and nourishing ways.

Once your house comes alive with the smells of these hearty recipes, even your pickiest eater will be asking, “What’s for dinner?” your winter veggies into an amazing stew or soup

There are infinite ways to enjoy winter vegetables in a soup, whether you like them chunky in a stew or blended into a smooth, velvety bisque. You can also choose to combine them with other beans and grains to boost the nutrition of the meal, like in this Red Lentil Butternut Squash Soup concocted by Going Vegan For Health.

Bean and veggie soups freeze unbelievably well, so when you make a large batch, you can save them in serving-size containers that will be ready to pull out for a hassle-free weeknight meal.

Roast your winter veggies

One way to enjoy winter root vegetables and other hard winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts is to simply roast them with spices to make an easy side dish. Follow these tips for the perfect roasted winter vegetables:

  • First, preheat the oven to 425 F. Choose veggies similar in texture so the cooking time is also similar. Try potatoes, butternut squash, beets, carrots, onions and turnips in any combination you like. Remove hard stems or stringy roots from any veggies desired and wash thoroughly. Peel butternut squash and turnips. Cut vegetables into uniform pieces about 1 1/2 inches around.
  • Then, use one tablespoon of your favorite healthy cooking oil to lightly coat the veggies (the oil is not necessary if you want to leave it out). Season everything with salt and pepper — or any other spice combinations you like — and spread them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Make sure the vegetable pieces are not on top of one another, as this will cause them to steam instead of dry-roasting to a nice crisp.
  • Finally, roast the veggies for about 30 to 45 minutes, testing with a knife for doneness. Vegetables are done when they are golden brown, a little crispy on the outside and give completely when stuck with a knife.

Of course, you can eat these veggies immediately, right out of the bowl or as part of your dinner. If you make a large batch, save them in the fridge and add them to any warm Buddha bowl or cold salad you create. You can also serve them over rice or quinoa with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, a tahini sauce or a simple coconut milk curry sauce. If you’re craving Italian flavors, you can even throw the vegetables into a marinara sauce and serve it over pasta.

You may not associate winter with fresh vegetables, but there are plenty of great ways to eat seasonal foods all year long.

Image source: Flickr

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