It’s easy to get in a slump of stews and soups when the cold weather hits, but we can’t forget all of the delicious produce in its prime right now. I’ve listed some of my favorite winter seasonal produce here to inspire you in your weekend green market shop!
The juiciest and most flavorful citrus is grown throughout the winter. I love brightening up winter dishes with various types of citrus, especially when I’m feeling tired of cooking the typical hearty cold-weather meal. You can incorporate citrus in so many ways – I love mixing the sweet tartness of grapefruits and cara cara oranges with thinly sliced red onions or shallot. Top the salad with a handful of tender herbs and you have a colorful side to any rich winter dish. I also love mixing lemon or lime into thick Greek yogurt and topping soups or stews with it. This is an easy way to cool down a cozy meal with a unique kick.
Celery root is an extremely underrated veggie (in my opinion). It’s definitely a bit of an ugly duckling, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts right!? Celery root is a low calorie, high fiber, versatile vegetable. You want to look out for a firm root that feels heavier than you’d think for its size. Peel away the tough skin with a sharp peeler or kitchen knife and you’re good to go. When cooked, celery root has a milder flavor, which is a cross between celery and parsley. You can eat it raw too, (I like grating it and tossing in a salad) but the flavor is much stronger. I love cubing it up and roasting with other root vegetables for a healthy side. Pro tip: pair celery root with apples and bacon for a sweet and healthy-ish soup – don’t forget to throw some butter in there for good measure.
Commonly overlooked, radicchio is a crunchy and flavorful vegetable that’s at its best throughout the winter. Radicchio is part of the chicory family, alongside escarole and endive. This veggie is low calorie and high in various antioxidants and vitamins. It has a gorgeous red and white color with crunchy, spicy, and slightly bitter leaves. I like eating it raw in a big salad tossed with a milky cheese like goat or ricotta salata. You can also saute or grill radicchio to cut some of the bite. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with sauteeing it with garlic, balsamic, and honey for a quick veg-forward weeknight dinner!
Squash tends to be the basic bitch of winter produce, but I promise there are ways to take your cooking beyond the standard butternut squash soup. Acorn squash is one of my current favorites – you can eat the skin which I think adds a nice textural component. When I’m keeping it simple, I slice the squash into cubes or bigger moon-shaped slices (after scooping the seeds out the middle) and roast it up with my favorite spices. I also love to roast acorn squash whole after cutting off the top and scooping the seeds. I use it as a bowl for chili or soup – eating the soaked squash at the end is the best part! You can also make a flavorful mashed squash (queue BUTTER) in place of potatoes. This is an easy way to replace potatoes with a lighter option.
Another way to lighten up some hefty winter meals is to incorporate pears into winter salads and desserts. Pear season starts at the end of summer and lasts throughout winter so you have plenty of time to include them in your diet! They’re a great snack to satisfy a sweet craving and also getting a good amount of fiber in. I love a big salad with juicy pears, sharp cheese, walnuts, and a mustardy vinaigrette. I also love serving up a tray of roasted pears drenched in maple syrup and whipped cream as an easy and crowd-pleasing dinner party dessert.