Many people think of winter as a fresh food wasteland, but there is still delicious produce to enjoy during the first months of the year. Citrus, root vegetables, leeks, and Brussels sprouts are just a few examples of fresh food you can take advantage of this season, so there’s no reason to boycott your farmer’s market. Check out these seven recipes that enlist winter’s in-season produce, and continue eating from the Earth even during the coldest months. Your body will still crave fresh food, and with these delicious dishes, you should have no trouble delivering. Pack away the holiday baking supplies, and make your way to the produce aisle of the grocery store.
1. Potato Leek Soup
Warm up this winter with Potato Leek Soup from Once Upon a Chef. The velvety soup is full of fresh ingredients and tastes luxurious, too. Made from leeks, Yukon potatoes, butter, cream, garlic, and herbs, this soup is something everyone can enjoy. The recipe serves 6.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 leeks, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped into ½-inch pieces
- 7 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, plus more for garnish if desired
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Chives, finely chopped (optional)
See recipe directions at Once Upon a Chef.
2. Kale Apple Smoothie
If you need a detox from the holiday cookies, try this Kale Apple Smoothie from Real Simple. It’s just what your body needs to reset and get back on the healthy eating bandwagon. Better yet, kale is in season in January so you really have no excuse not to pick up the leafy green stuff. Drink this easy smoothie for breakfast a few mornings in a row, and you’ll be back to feeling fit and healthy in no time. It’ll take you only 5 minutes to prepare.
- ¾ cup chopped kale, ribs and thick stems removed
- 1 small stalk celery, chopped
- ½ banana
- ½ cup apple juice
- ½ cup ice
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
See recipe directions at Real Simple.
3. Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Stew
Next up is a healthy stew that your slow cooker will make for you. The Root Vegetable Stew from Chowhound is the perfect supper to enjoy on a cold Sunday night or multiple times throughout the week. The ingredients list is long, but the prep time is short, and after you load your vegetables into the slow cooker with broth, salt, and pepper, your dinner will be ready within 3½ hours. This food formula will make 6 to 8 servings so you can feed hungry visitors or enjoy leftovers all to yourself.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, large dice
- Kosher salt
- 1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch saffron threads
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, large dice
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and large dice
- 1 pound parsnips, peeled and large dice
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 pounds sugar baby pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and large dice
- 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and large dice
- 1 can chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup golden raisins, also known as sultanas
- 1 bunch spinach, trimmed and washed
- 1½ tablespoons cider vinegar, plus more as needed
See recipe directions at Chowhound.
4. Sticky Chicken and Blood Orange Stir Fry
Citrus is Mother Nature’s idea of throwing us a bone in the winter, and it’s up to us to take advantage. Citrus fruits peak after Christmas and they can help you get the vitamins you need during the brutal cold months. Blood oranges especially bloom in the winter, and they can be enjoyed for dinner in dishes such as this Sticky Chicken and Blood Orange Stir Fry featured on BBC Good Food. It’s a dish that you may think only restaurant chefs can perfect, but thanks to this fool-proof recipe, anyone can make the Asian stir fry at home.
- 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 blood orange
- 1 tablespoon clear honey
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 (1-inch) piece root ginger, peeled, then chopped to a pulp or grated
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
- Portion of stir fry rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
- Sprinkling of crushed dried chili flakes
See recipe directions at BBC Good Food.
5. Watercress, Grapefruit, and Walnut Salad
Grapefruit is also at its prime in the winter, and it can star in salads that are perfect for post-holiday detoxes. Try this Watercress, Grapefruit, and Walnut Salad from Martha Stewart, and see what we mean. The light and refreshing dish is perfect as a light lunch or accompaniment to dinner, and it’ll give you a much-needed punch of vitamin C. This salad proves that eating simply and with the seasons is always best.
- 2¼ tablespoons minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pink grapefruit
- 8 ounces watercress, thick stems removed
- ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
See recipe directions at Martha Stewart.
6. 5-Ingredient Pear Pomegranate Salsa
If you’re doing some mid-winter entertaining, serve your guests this easy Pear Pomegranate Salsa from Gimme Some Oven. It requires only 5 ingredients and couldn’t be easier to make. Pears and pomegranates are both in season during the cold months of the year, and they give this sweet and savory salsa a punch of color that makes it both stomach-appeasing and visually appealing. Combine your pears, pomegranate, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice, and you’re good to go. You can enjoy this salsa with any dipping vehicle of your liking.
- 2 fresh pears (any kind), cored and diced
- 1 fresh pomegranate, seeded
- Half a red onion, diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Juice of half a lime
See recipe directions at Gimme Some Oven.
7. Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta
Ending things on a more indulgent note, we’re highlighting this last recipe from Food & Wine for a Butternut Squash Risotto with Pancetta. You can’t forget about butternut squash during the winter, and after one bite of this risotto, that definitely won’t be an option. This risotto is the perfect cold weather comfort food, and with this recipe from Food & Wine, you can make it at home in 45 minutes. Instead of leaving the seemingly sophisticated dish to restaurant chefs, save yourself time and money and impress your guests with the homemade dish.
- ¼ pound thinly sliced pancetta, cut into ¼-inch strips
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (1½-pound) butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1½-by-¼-inch sticks
- 8 sage leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5½ cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2½ cups arborio rice
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
See recipe directions at Food & Wine.