Even though spring is just around the corner, winter still has its grip on most of us. But you can make the most of what’s left of winter by taking advantage of seasonal, cold-weather produce. Using readily available winter greens, root vegetables, and vibrant fruits, you can create unique and fresh-tasting dinner dishes, such as Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash, Winter Greens, Asiago, and Anchovy Pizza, and Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken. It’s time to brave the winter cold, head to the store, and stock up on the season’s freshest fruits and vegetables; you’ll love the unique meals you can make with them!
1. Cannellini and Kale Soup
Simmering thyme, garlic, and bay leaf in water creates a fragrant broth that’s low in calories. Fried garlic chips give Martha Stewart’s Cannellini and Kale Soup via Delish a satisfying crunch, while kale adds deep, earthy flavors and many health benefits. Web MD explains that just one cup of raw kale has nearly 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and many antioxidants.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
- 12 ounces (2 cups) cannellini beans, picked through and soaked overnight
- 6 cups water
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 8 ounces Tuscan kale, stems and center ribs removed, leaves sliced crosswise ½-inch thick
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium Dutch oven or a large pot over medium heat. Cook onions and carrot until just softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 2½ teaspoons salt. Stir in minced garlic, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Drain and rinse cannellini beans. Add to Dutch oven with water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, until beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth, transferring it to a clean pot as you work.
For safety, remove cap from hole in lid, and cover with a dish towel to prevent spattering. Bring soup to a simmer. Stir in kale and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until kale is tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook sliced garlic, stirring often, until crisp and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer garlic to a plate using a slotted spoon. Reserve garlic oil. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Garnish with garlic chips, and drizzle with garlic oil.
2. Sautéed Parsnips with Dates and Spiced Yogurt
Parsnips and dates work together wonderfully in Food & Wine’s side dish. For perfectly browned parsnips, cook them on the stovetop in batches prior to roasting them with the dates. Sautéed Parsnips with Dates and Spiced Yogurt is a healthy vegetarian dish, which yields 10 servings.
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced on the diagonal ½-inch thick
- 1½ cups sliced pitted Medjool dates, about 12
- 5 marjoram sprigs
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground sumac
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large skillet, heat the ¾ cup of olive oil with the garlic and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and reserve for another use. Add half of the parsnips to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and barely tender, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the parsnips to a roasting pan.
Repeat with the remaining parsnips, then scrape the parsnips and any oil into the roasting pan. Add the dates and marjoram sprigs, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 8 minutes, just until the parsnips are tender and the dates are slightly caramelized. Transfer the parsnips and dates to a platter. In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the lemon juice, sumac and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt. Serve the roasted parsnips and dates, passing the spiced yogurt at the table.
3. Farro and Vegetable Winter Casserole
Nutrients abound in this hearty Farro and Vegetable Winter Casserole. For an easy weeknight meal, prepare Bluebird Grain Farms’ recipe via Full Circle ahead of time, and heat it in the oven just before serving. The recipe yields six to eight servings.
- 1 cup Emmer farro
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 cup sweet onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 large bunch of spinach, steamed and chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 6 eggs, whisked with 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, split in half.
- 2 cups grated Gruyere or Fontina cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and oil an 11-by-7 inch baking dish. Rinse farro and place in a sauce pan, with 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 minutes. Drain excess water and set aside to cool. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add potatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes until just tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Move contents into a medium size bowl and stir in ½ cup Parmesan until fully incorporated.
Set aside to cool. Spread the cooked farro on the bottom of the baking dish for the first layer. For the the second layer spread the spinach over the farro. For the third layer, spread the potato mixture over the spinach. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, salt, paprika, and pepper. Pour evenly over the potatoes and stir gently to incorporate the eggs. Top the dish with Parmesan cheese and grated Gruyere. Bake 20 to 30 minutes. Place under the broiler for 3 to 4 minutes for a crisp, golden-brown crust. Serve hot.
4. Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash
Saveur’s Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash is the perfect accompaniment to any dinner entree. Braising the squash not only enhances its flavor, but it also creates an easy-to-make dish that can be on your table in under 45 minutes. The recipe yields six servings.
- 2 tablespons canola oil
- ½-inch piece ginger, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 scallions, minced, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ medium kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-by-4-inch wedges
Directions: Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and scallions, and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add stock, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Add squash and cook, turning once, until softened, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, turning once to evenly glaze, about 15 minutes more.
5. Winter Greens, Asiago, and Anchovy Pizza
Any combination of winter greens, including collard greens, kale, and mustard greens, will taste good in Cooking Light’s sweet-and-salty Winter Greens, Asiago, and Anchovy Pizza, so feel free to use whatever you have in your fridge. With two slices containing 391 calories, 13.1 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and 3.9 grams of fiber, this is a healthy way to satisfy a pizza craving.
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup sliced red onion
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 canned anchovy fillets, minced
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 3 cups chopped turnip greens
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust
- ¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add red onion, and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add 3 tablespoons raisins, garlic, and anchovies; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add spinach and greens; cover and cook for 4 minutes or until spinach and greens wilt.
Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Stir in ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Place crust on a baking sheet. Sprinkle crust evenly with mozzarella; top evenly with spinach mixture. Sprinkle Asiago evenly over spinach mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. Cut pizza into 8 wedges.
6. Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken
Cinnamon and cumin-flavored couscous results in a dinner dish that is sweet and spicy. Oranges give Eating’s Well’s Orange-Tomato Couscous with Chicken vibrant flavors, and they also help boost your immune system during cold-and-flu season. Livestrong explains that oranges are a good source of vitamin C, which can help your immune system fight illnesses and shorten the time you are sick.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1½ pounds), trimmed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cumin, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
- 1 orange, scrubbed, halved and cut into ¼-inch slices
- 1 cup whole-wheat couscous
Directions: Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Season with salt, pepper, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon cumin. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and onion to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes and their juice, chickpeas, broth, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and orange slices; bring to a simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Return the chicken and any collected juice to the pan; cover and cook over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Bring the cooking liquid back to a boil; stir in couscous and place the chicken thighs on top of the mixture. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with the remaining cilantro.