There's no need to leave winter vegetables on the grocery store shelf or your refrigerator shelf when you have a few good recipes at your disposal to help you learn how to cook with them. We've picked several popular winter veggies, along with some you may have never used before, to help increase your winter vegetable repertoire.
We've included several recipes for most of the vegetables so that you have more choices and can master them in different ways. So, don't be shy about working through them one at a time so that you can learn exactly how the veggies work in various dishes. Once you've mastered them, you'll feel more confident incorporating them into recipes of your own making. Armed with this list and these cooking techniques, you'll be more prepared next time you're in the produce section or the farmer's market in the winter, wondering what you can make from the vegetables you see there.
Grilled Bok Choy
If you're at a loss for what veggie to put on the grill in winter, bok choy is a good choice. Since bok choy is common in Asian dishes, our recipe for grilled bok choy plays on those flavors, with sesame oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes rounding out the flavor profile. Since they're so delicate, you'll only need to grill them for about six minutes, so it's something you can add at the last minute. Grilled bok choy makes a great side for teriyaki chicken and rice.
Recipe: Grilled Bok Choy
Chicken Chop Suey
Bok choy plays a role in several Chinese dishes like chicken chop suey. Chop Suey was actually created in the U.S. and continues to be a well-known dish in Chinese restaurants here. This recipe requires a few Chinese sauces like light and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, and Chinese cooking wine (like Shaoxing wine), which you can find at an Asian market. It also includes mushrooms and bean sprouts. This dish is excellent served over Chinese noodles or sticky rice.
Recipe: Chicken Chop Suey
Air Fryer Kale Chips
If you haven't tried kale chips yet, you'll want to try them in the air fryer to see what all the fuss is about. They only take about 10 minutes to make (depending on your air fryer) and require nothing but olive oil, salt, and pepper. These are especially fun for snacking, and you'll probably just eat them right off the air fryer pan without them getting very far. Although, some people go as far as to turn them into a salad with a few nuts and their favorite salad dressing.
Recipe: Air Fryer Kale Chips
Cheesy Kale Chips
Another way to add more nutritious kale to your diet is with cheese kale chips. These go into the oven rather than the air fryer since they're covered with lots of cheese and spices you don't want flying around the air fryer. Olive oil helps keep the Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, steak spice, and salt on these kale chips as they bake. They're crisp and delicious, so you can eat them on their own or dip them just like chips in your favorite chip dip.
Recipe: Cheesy Kale Chips
White Bean And Kale Soup
One of the secrets of kale is that you can add it to nearly any soup for the last three to five minutes to make it more nutritious, but it doesn't add a strong flavor to the soup. One soup that lends itself to kale really well is white bean soup. The addition of kale to a soup filled with carrots, celery, potatoes, and white beans is pretty perfect. This soup already has onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning, but you can give it more Italian flare by adding fresh herbs like basil when serving.
Recipe: White Bean And Kale Soup
Sheet-Pan Chicken And Kale
Something a lot of people don't realize is that kale works wonderfully with sheet pan meals. Since kale cooks faster than other ingredients, you'll add it in the last five to 10 minutes for bonus kale chips with your meal. One way we suggest trying it is with chicken thighs, baby potatoes, and bell peppers. Just season it with garlic and your favorite Italian herbs. With everything for your meal on the sheet pan, you don't need anything else unless you want a squeeze of lemon and a little fresh parsley on top.
Recipe: Sheet-Pan Chicken And Kale
5-Ingredient Kale And White Bean Gnocchi Bake
If you're looking for a baked comfort dish that features kale, look no further than kale and white bean gnocchi. You'll start by boiling the kale and gnocchi together before putting them in the oven to bake for 15 minutes with cannellini beans and marinara sauce. Of course, no Italian baked dish is complete without melted mozzarella cheese on top. If you prefer it with meat, it's excellent with Italian sausage or hamburger meat. Sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese on top, and it's good to go.
As much as most of us like broccoli, we tend to falter when it comes to knowing how to make it in different ways. One of the best ways to enjoy it is roasted. All those delicious crispy florets will likely tempt you to eat them before they get to your plate. All you need is olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice to turn them into a delightful side in your oven. They're also excellent with fresh Parmesan baked on top during the last few minutes. This side goes with any protein or carby side.
Recipe: Roasted Broccoli
Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli
If you haven't figured it out already, your air fryer can do some pretty amazing things to veggies. One that you'll definitely want to try is air fryer broccoli. You can get broccoli florets beautifully crisp in a regular onion, but the texture of ones cooked in the air fryer is even better. Like with the oven version, you only need olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. You'll be doing these at a low and slow roast so that they don't burn, so they will take 25 minutes. Then, you'll be ready to serve these as a side with any meal or even throw them into a salad.
Recipe: Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli
If there's one dish that reminds us of home, it's broccoli casserole. We've seen this dish convert many people who didn't think they liked broccoli. The casserole is full of creamy ingredients like cheddar cheese and cream of mushroom soup. While not in the traditional recipe, you can also add yellow mustard to intensify the flavors. Don't skip the buttery Ritz cracker crust because it's essential to the overall flavor and textural experience of this dish. It can make even a simple meal of chicken and corn into a comfort meal.
Recipe: Broccoli Casserole
Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Broccoli Cheddar Soup is the most popular soup at Panera because it's both comforting and delicious. There's something about the pairing of broccoli and cheese that just makes mouths happy. Luckily, this is an easy soup to master at home with just a few veggies like onions, broccoli, and carrots. Since it's one part blended soup and one part chunky soup, you'll need a blender or food processor ready. We love this soup with a side of crusty bread, but that's really all you need to make it into a meal.
Broccoli And Mushroom Stir-Fry
Broccoli is an excellent team player in stir-fry. Add it to your wok or frying pan with other veggies, like bell pepper and mushrooms, for a simple stir fry. The secret to success is to get the flavors right. We suggest rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to make this dish sing. Sprinkle it with a few toasted sesame seeds and serve it over your favorite type of rice or noodles. If you're looking for more protein, try adding cashews to this vegetarian dish.
Recipe: Broccoli And Mushroom Stir-Fry
5-Ingredient Broccoli Mac And Cheese
Mac and cheese is a tasty dish by itself, but you can turn it into a complete meal with the addition of broccoli and shredded chicken. The beauty of this dish is that besides the macaroni pasta, chicken, and broccoli, the only other ingredients are milk and cheese. Plus, it only takes 15 minutes to bake. However, you're welcome to season it however you like. Garlic is nice, but one of our favorite seasonings for mac and cheese is curry powder.
20-Minute Beef And Broccoli Lo Mein
Yet another Chinese dish that works well with broccoli is lo mein. This noodle dish comes together with just 10 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking, combining steak, your favorite noodles, broccoli, and carrots. Ginger, garlic, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes make this dish both sweet and spicy. Since it has meat, veggies, and carbs, it's a complete meal. However, lo mein is an excellent dish to enjoy with your favorite garnishes, so add some sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions, or your favorite chili sauce to make it your own.
Broccoli And Chicken Stir-Fry
While we've mentioned a broccoli and mushroom stir-fry, we can't leave you without a version of the dish that contains meat, too. The main ingredients for this stir-fry are chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, and cashews. This dish sports a sweet and umami sauce of rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and honey. Broccoli and chicken stir-fry is a real taste-bud pleaser with plenty of protein, and it makes a full meal served over rice or noodles.
Recipe: Broccoli And Chicken Stir-Fry
Homemade Carrot Bacon
You've likely had carrots many ways during winter, but we want to challenge you to try crisp and smokey carrot bacon. This recipe is a great one for vegetarians and vegans missing the flavor and texture of real bacon, but it's also a tasty treat for carnivores as well. Thinly sliced carrot bacon soaks in a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, tomato paste, liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and other seasonings before crisping in the oven. You can eat them as a snack or even try them as a breakfast bacon substitute.
Recipe: Homemade Carrot Bacon
Basic Roasted Carrots
One delicious way to enjoy carrots is roasted. This simple dish calls for no more than olive oil, salt, black pepper, and parsley. However, sometimes the simplest dishes are the most impressive. You'll want to make this dish when you have 50 minutes at your disposal. So, it works nicely as a side dish when you're already roasting meat in the oven. Another way you might like these carrots is to try dipping them in your favorite hummus.
Recipe: Basic Roasted Carrots
Honey Glazed Carrots
Carrots become sweet with cooking, so one way to make them is to roast them with honey to play off that sweet flavor. Not only will you roast them with a drizzling of honey, but you'll also drizzle them with more honey when they come out of the oven. The only other ingredients you'll need for this dish are salt, pepper, and parsley. Honey-glazed carrots pair with nearly any meal and are an easy side dish you can make to bring to your next food-related get-together.
Recipe: Honey Glazed Carrots
Easy Maple Roasted Carrots
Honey isn't the only sweet liquid that pairs well with roasted carrots. We'd be remiss for not mentioning how great they taste with real maple syrup. Since these roast at a lower temperature than usual, you can use melted butter instead of olive oil, making them taste even better after they've caramelized. Parsley makes an excellent garnish for these carrots. They're worthy of serving for holiday meals but are also a great any-time dish you can enjoy throughout the colder months.
Recipe: Easy Maple Roasted Carrots
Chunky Potato Leek Soup
Potato leek soup (vichyssoise) is a classic French soup that was Julia Child's favorite. This is one of her simpler recipes, only requiring five minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking. So, it's a good gateway recipe to French cuisine. All you'll need to make this simple soup is olive oil, an onion, garlic, broth, heavy cream, salt, and pepper. To take it to the next level, try topping it with sour cream and chopped chives. It's also an excellent soup to enjoy with French bread.
Recipe: Chunky Potato Leek Soup
Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
Potato leek soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods. However, it doesn't need to be a complicated production when you can make it in the Instant Pot rather than tending to it on the stovetop. Other than potatoes and leeks, all you need is butter, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, broth, and heavy cream. It only takes 15 minutes in the Instant Pot before it's ready to blend together to serve with your favorite crusty bread.
Recipe: Instant Pot Potato Leek Soup
Radicchio and fennel are gorgeous winter veggies that tend to puzzle many of us when it comes to how to use them. An excellent way to enjoy them together is in a hearty Italian salad called Panzanella. It also contains torn pieces of crusty bread, orange slices, and a delicious Dijon mustard vinaigrette. You can add other veggies to go along with the fennel and radicchio, like tomatoes and cucumbers. If you have access to fresh Italian herbs like basil, they make a nice finishing touch.
Crispy Flaky Scallion Pancakes
Scallion pancakes (cong you bing) are a delicious dish you can enjoy any meal of the day or as a snack. Versions of this delicious savory pan-fried bread are popular in several Asian countries but likely originated in China. While the prep time of nearly two hours may sound daunting, they're worth the effort. The good news is that these flaky pancakes are fun to make because you make them by flattening coils of dough. A sweet and spicy dipping sauce makes the perfect accompaniment to this dish.
Recipe: Crispy Flaky Scallion Pancakes
Spinach is one of those vegetables that some people only like when they experience it cooked properly. Garlic sautéed spinach is one of those dishes that can help you learn to enjoy this vegetable in its cooked format. It's fairly simple, just requiring you to sautée spinach and garlic in olive oil and then season it with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. It only takes five minutes to make, but the results are delicious. We also like this dish sautéed with currants and pine nuts for added flavor and texture.
Recipe: Garlic-Sautéed Spinach
Warm Spinach Salad
One way to eat more salads during the winter is to find warm ones to try. This warm spinach salad contains warm spinach, boiled eggs, and bacon. Even the bacon dressing is warm. In fact, the only cold ingredient in this salad is blue cheese crumbles. All those eggs and bacon make it a fairly filling salad. However, you could always add croutons if you're craving carbs. Interestingly, the inclusion of bacon and eggs makes this salad work for any meal.
Recipe: Warm Spinach Salad
Lentil And Spinach Salad
Lentil and spinach salad can either be a cold salad or a mix of hot and cold, depending on whether or not your lentils are hot. This dish is also a good place to use leftover lentils, so if your lentils are spicy (like from leftover Indian food), it can add extra flavor layers. With your lentils ready to go, you can whip up this dish in just five minutes with spinach, red onion, black olives, fried onions, and feta cheese. It also gets an oregano vinaigrette. For more protein, try adding grilled chicken.
Recipe: Lentil And Spinach Salad
Classic Spinach Quiche
If you're looking for an excellent place to hide a lot of spinach, it's in a quiche. If you start with a pre-made pie crust, this quiche is ridiculously easy. All you have to do is pre-bake the crust and pour in a mixture of gruyere cheese, fresh spinach, eggs, and milk to bake. That's literally all there is to it. A spinach quiche can make up your entire breakfast or brunch, or you could pair it with a side of crisp bacon.
Recipe: Classic Spinach Quiche
Cold Spinach Artichoke Dip
The first place many people experience spinach and realize it's not so bad after all is in a spinach artichoke dip. This dip is ridiculously easy to make. Simply stir artichokes and spinach into a mixture of softened cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and sour cream. Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder, and you're done. There's no cooking necessary. You can serve this delicious dip as an appetizer or even as a complete meal with pita chips, tortilla chips, or crusty bread.
Recipe: Cold Spinach Artichoke Dip
Sautéed Swiss Chard
A lot of people have never tried Swiss chard because they don't know what it tastes like or what to do with it. Since it's similar to spinach, you can cook with it in ways similar to spinach. The easiest way to try out this green is to sautée it in olive oil with garlic, salt, and pepper. If you like a little heat, you can also use red pepper flakes. If you want to experiment with the flavor a little more, try squeezing a little lemon juice on it. Since it tastes good with added acidity, you can also try adding tomatoes and sprinkling it with fresh parsley.
Recipe: Sautéed Swiss Chard
Basic Creamed Swiss Chard
Another way to enjoy Swiss chard is with cream in a dish that mimics creamed spinach. You'll start out making this dish similar to how you make the sautéed version, sautéeing the Swiss Chard in olive oil with garlic. Then, you'll turn it down to simmer for about five minutes with cream, salt, and pepper. Creamed Swiss chard is a great green side dish with nearly anything you make, from chicken dishes to pasta.
Recipe: Basic Creamed Swiss Chard
Savory Mashed Butternut Squash
When most people think of butternut squash, they envision roasting halves in the oven. But then what? This dish takes butternut squash beyond the oven and mixes it with garlic, butter, heavy cream, salt, and pepper to make a savory mashed dish that looks a lot like mashed sweet potatoes. If you want to sweeten and spice it up, you can always add a little brown sugar and cinnamon to the mix. This dish is especially good with roast meats and a side of greens. It's also great to whip out for holiday meals.
Recipe: Savory Mashed Butternut Squash
Savory Butternut Squash Soup
Another great way to enjoy butternut squash is to make it into a comforting soup. You'll have to do a little extra work for this one since it requires peeling the squash before boiling it. However, that's the biggest bulk of the work you'll have to do for this recipe. It boils together with garlic, broth, heavy cream, and salt before you blend everything together. Swirl in some extra heavy cream at the end and top it with fresh parsley. If you're in the mood, you could even add smoked paprika instead of regular paprika.
Recipe: Savory Butternut Squash Soup
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
If you're looking for a cozy dish that features butternut squash, look no further than butternut squash risotto. While risotto can be daunting, making it in your Instant Pot makes it even easier. It's a savory dish with flavors like fresh sage, white pepper, and nutmeg that belong in cold-weather dishes. Garlic, shallots, and Parmesan cheese help balance out the sweetness of the squash with umami notes. Pair it with a glass of the wine you used to make and a meat dish to make it a full meal.
Fried cabbage is one way of enjoying cabbage that makes it less pungent and provides it with a lighter flavor than stewing. It only takes about 10 minutes to fry thin strips of cabbage in butter. You'll add salt, chili flakes, crumbled bacon, and fresh parsley during the last minute of frying. For a more flavorful dish that tastes like something your grandma might have made, try frying the cabbage in your leftover bacon grease rather than in butter. This dish makes a tasty side for your favorite meat, especially when paired with mashed potatoes.
Recipe: Fried Cabbage
Cabbage rolls combine so many flavors that work perfectly together. They do require about 40 minutes of prep since you have to make a savory and spicy tomato sauce as well as stuff each roll with ground beef and pork, spices, onions, and egg before popping it into the oven. Even then, you'll be waiting another hour for it to bake. Once they're done, you can eat them alone or serve them with sides like rice and green beans.
Recipe: Cabbage Rolls
Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
While unstuffed cabbage rolls sound simpler than traditional ones, these actually take longer, with 45 minutes of prep and two hours of cooking. The good news is that you don't have to roll raw meat into cabbage rolls with this version. You just have to spend extra time making the meat filling, sauce, and rice. Since it contains rice, it's more of a complete meal. Plus, it has sour cream and two types of cheese for added flavor. If you don't like Gruyere and mozzarella, you could substitute others like Jack cheese and Swiss.
Recipe: Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole
Quick And Easy Cabbage Steak
Cabbage steaks are one of those dishes that look too simple to be wow-worthy. However, you'll make cabbage steaks again and again because you'll love how the edges crisp and because it's so simple. These don't always make it to the plate before being devoured straight off the pan. All you need to create them is olive oil, salt, powder, and garlic powder. We also like to chiffonade these into ribbons rather than cut them into steaks so that there's more exposed surface area to crisp. Serve them with rice and ham for an excellent meal.
Recipe: Quick And Easy Cabbage Steak
Simple Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
We didn't want to leave you without the slow cooker version of eggrolls. When you let them cook low and slow for four hours, the results are amazing. Luckily, there's only a 20-minute prep time required with these. You'll need to add a mixture of uncooked rice and uncooked meat with spices into the cabbage rolls before adding them and all the ingredients for the sauce straight into the slow cooker. Since it includes rice, it's a complete meal, but you could always sprinkle fresh parsley on top when it's done.
Recipe: Simple Slow Cooker Cabbage Rolls
Air Fryer Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Your air fryer is also your friend when it comes to making Brussels sprouts. You'll love the crisp edges the air fryer can accomplish. Pair that with fresh Parmesan, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and bread crumbs, and you'll have a vegetable side dish you'll want to make again and again. It only takes 10 minutes to get them perfect in the air fryer, so what are you waiting for? Plan to make these as a side for dishes like salmon or even as the star veggie in a Buddha bowl.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Some people find Brussels sprouts to be a little too strong in flavor. They're a bit more mellow when roasted. However, maple syrup may be just what you need to take Brussels sprouts from being just an okay vegetable to a vegetable that you look forward to eating. It takes 28 minutes to roast these. You'll start out just with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then, you'll add a drizzling of maple syrup during the last three to five minutes to ensure it doesn't burn. These taste amazing with your favorite grilled meats or alongside pasta.
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Panfried Brussels Sprouts
Panfried Brussels sprouts are a real treat, too. Since they sautée in olive oil with garlic and onions, they have a more complex flavor than when you cook them alone. Plus, you'll add garlic powder, salt, and pepper at the end to intensify the garlic note. It takes about 20 minutes to panfry Brussels sprout halves. However, we've made them even faster by chiffonading the Brussels sprouts into ribbons. The result is a good side dish to enjoy with anything from ham to pasta.
Recipe: Panfried Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad
You can combine two winter veggies in one dish when you make roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato salad. This salad is a special treat that's easier to make than you'd think. You'll start out roasting the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes together. You can either cool them or use them while they're still warm. The rest of the salad contains sliced almonds, feta cheese, and a lemon Dijon mustard vinaigrette. This salad is excellent alone or as an accompaniment to roasted chicken or even steak.
Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprout Salad
Simple Roasted Beets
While slicing beets to roast results in an excellent winter veggie side dish, there's an even easier alternative. We were excited to find that you can roast whole beets wrapped in foil like a potato. After they roast for 40 to 60 minutes (depending on how big they are), their skins come off easily with just your fingers. What could be easier? Once the skins are off, they're ready to slice up to add to a salad, Buddha bowl, or side dish.
Recipe: Simple Roasted Beets
Easy Pickled Beets
If you're looking for a pickled beets recipe that's both easy and doesn't include sugar, you're going to love these. The beets boil in their skins for 30 to 50 minutes, and you don't even have to peel them when they're done. Simply slice them and toss them in olive oil, a sweet vinegar like ume plum vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. That's all there is to it. Perhaps sprinkle some parsley on top, and they're done. These work great as a holiday meal side or as a side for your favorite grilled foods.
Recipe: Easy Pickled Beets
Easy Sautéed Beet Greens
If you've been throwing away the tops of your beets, stop. You can cook these nutritious tops just like other greens. Just sautée them in olive oil with minced garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and they're just as good as sautéed spinach or other greens. Once you serve these greens alongside the beetroots you cooked some other way, you will wonder why you've been tossing them into the compost heap all these years.
Recipe: Easy Sautéed Beet Greens
Parsnip And Potato Mash
There are a lot of ways to upgrade mashed potatoes, but you've likely never thought to add parsnips to them. The sweet and almost spicy flavor of parsnips adds interest to a dish you've likely eaten hundreds of times. This dish requires boiling a half-and-half mix of potatoes and parsnips together. Then, you'll blend them together with milk and butter as usual. Topped with chives or even cheese, these mashed parsnips and potatoes make an excellent side dish for nearly any meal.
Recipe: Parsnip And Potato Mash
If you find yourself with smoked turkey leftovers, you might give collard greens a try. It takes nearly two hours to cook these, and the smell will permeate your house. However, they were one of Elvis Presley's favorite foods, so they're worth a try. You'll want to cook your greens with smoked turkey, onion, garlic, broth, and a little sugar to cut the bitterness. Don't forget to make a pan of cornbread to sop up the pot liquor as you enjoy this classic Southern green.
Recipe: Collard Greens
Pretty much any winter root vegetable is an excellent candidate for roasting. The process brings out their natural sweetness. If you've found yourself with peppery kohlrabi and don't know what to do with it, we suggest you peel it, chop it, and put it in the oven with olive oil and garlic for 25 minutes. Once it's done, add a sprinkling of lemon juice and Parmesan cheese on top for a cold-weather treat. Serve it as you would any roasted veggie. It's great paired with everything from roasted meat and a salad to pasta.
Recipe: Roasted Kohlrabi
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