Sunday, January 21, 2018

19 Favorite Recipes with Winter Vegetables

It seems like sweet and tender spring and summer vegetables are easy to sell. They’re fresh and bright and everyone can feel good about eating seasonally when tomatoes and beans and asparagus and zucchini are abundant in local markets. The gnarly and thick-skinned cousins of those warm-weather darlings don’t always get so much love, though, and that’s a darn shame. Especially since there’s a good chance that our ancestors survived a winter somewhere back in history thanks to long-stored winter vegetables.

This year, I subscribed to a CSA winter share, something I had not done in several years, and I’m finding myself with more winter vegetables than I can easily remember what to do with. A perusal of The Messy Apron Archives, however, helps bring back good memories of the fun and fabulous ways I’ve been loving winter vegetables.

Here is a list of 18 favorite Archive recipes that celebrate everything from winter squash to all kinds of roots and tubers, plus some members of the cabbage family. Chopped, shredded, or pureed winter vegetables are surprisingly versatile and I’ve presented a variety of recipes styles here. There are salads, soups, roasted dishes, dishes with pasta and noodles, stir fries and curries, and a few other flavorful offerings. I hope you find something you absolutely love!

Winter vegetables can make great salads, whether they are utilized raw as in this Creamy Parsnip Slaw with Peppers and Olives or roasted and cooled as in Wheat Berry and Squash Salad with Seeds and Sage

Long simmering soups built to warm us on cold days are natural places for winter vegetables, whether they be creamy soups like Creamy White Onion Soup


Probably the greatest percentage of the winter veggies I acquire end up in a roasting pan at a high temperature in the oven. Roasted Vegetables and Roasted Vegetables with Sausage (which I have been making with chickpeas in place of the sausage) are go-to meal items in my kitchen just about every week throughout the winter.

Winter vegetables play well with pasta, too, like in Macaroni and Cheese with Sweet Potatoes and Green Onions, Pasta with Shredded Winter Vegetables, and this Tomato Sauce with Root Vegetables, which is as versatile as any other favorite pasta sauce.

A stir-fry or curry may take a little longer to cook when loaded with winter vegetables, but their flavors are worth waiting for. Winter vegetables love spice, so they are delicious in dishes like Spicy Cabbage and Noodle Stir Fry,

Shredded roots and squashes are great enveloped in crust to make pies like Winter Vegetable Galettes with Cheddar, Mustard, and Caramelized Onions

And they’re good in Beet and Carrot Burgers

And, finally, pureed winter vegetables may be great on their own as a mashed potato-like side dish, but they’re fabulous in things like Parsnip Soufflé (which could probably be made with other vegetable purees) and Winter Squash Risotto. (Don’t feel like messing with a squash? Try this recipe with canned pumpkin!)

Yes, seasonal vegetable love is easy in the middle of summer, but I’ve really learned to enjoy the roots and fruits that can last through the cold months. Whether they’re sweet, bitter, bland, or sharp, all kinds of winter vegetables nourish us well through the cold and dark. Give them a chance, won’t you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Archive Recipe: Beet and Carrot Burgers

Until just the other day, I hadn’t made these weird little veggie burgers in years. I love them, so I missed them, but I really felt no special compunction to make them for all that. You see, and I know I’ve told you this before, I hate the taste of beets. I always have. There’s some kind of alchemy going on in this recipe, though, that renders beets not only edible, but delicious. Even crave-able.

I would never go out and buy beets to make this recipe, but I took on a winter CSA subscription this year, and my home is now equipped with beets-a-plenty. This has always been my favorite way to use up those bountiful roots, so as soon as I had the time, I made them. They are absolutely as wonderful as I remembered! I’m so happy!

There are a lot of ingredients in these humble-looking veggie patties, but no tricky procedures to follow. I just start with the food processor, which I highly recommend if you have access to one. For me it makes any recipe with this much shredded vegetables not only easier, but just plain possible. All of the ingredients get piled into a great big bowl, mixed together, portioned out on a baking pan, and baked.

I used the Chioggia variety of beets to make the batch of burgers I photographed here. They are not so bloody red, being a pretty red and white candy stripe instead. As a result, my veggie burgers were paler in color than would be accomplished with another variety of beet. 

I like to serve these burgers on toasted English muffins with dill pickles or dill relish and mayonnaise. They’re good with ketchup and mustard on a hamburger bun, too, or they’re fine nestled into a pita pocket. I think there are other root vegetables that might be able to take the place of shredded beets here, but, I’m kind of growing sympathetic toward these earthy, old-fashioned, knobs of plant flesh. Will I ever come to love them? You know, at this moment, I’m more hopeful of that than I’ve ever been.

Beet and Carrot Burgers
adapted from Farmer John’s Cookbook

2 cups peeled, grated beets
2 cups grated carrots
½ cup grated onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked rice, preferably brown rice
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup flour
2 Tbs soy sauce or tamari
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all of the ingredients in a very large bowl.  Mix until completely combined.

2.  Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions.  Form each portion into a patty and place on baking pans that have been well-greased or lined with a silicone baking mat. The patties will not seem to hold together well at first, but they will solidify more as they bake.

3. Bake the patties at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, or until they are well set and beginning to brown on the edges.

4.  Serve immediately on an English muffin, on a bun or in a pita (or on a plate), or cool on pans and freeze.

To freeze the burgers, place them in a single layer on a plate or pan on wax paper or parchment paper.  Freeze until firm.  Remove from the pan and store flat in a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container, separating layers with wax paper or parchment paper.

Makes 12 veggie burgers.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal

I appear to be developing a baked oatmeal repertoire. There are just so many ways to vary this warm and satisfying breakfast, and I have yet to meet one that wasn’t delicious. This peanut butter and chocolate chip version, however, may just be my favorite so far.

Really, though, what’s not to love about the combination of peanut butter, chocolate, and oatmeal (excluding allergic reactions, when applicable of course). I love it in cookies, but can’t quite justify eating cookies for breakfast, at least not every day. And so I go to this baked oatmeal dish, which is sweet and rich, and perhaps not as distant from cookies as breakfast ought to be.

It really is mostly oatmeal, which really is breakfast, and if you want, you may be able to reduce the sugar to your personal taste. I also think you could substitute other nut or seed butters for the peanut butter. Fruit purees and fruit butters might go in well, too, but I would start with this Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal recipe if you want to go that route. I like a small amount of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you could put in more chocolate, leave it out, or replace it with dried fruit or nuts.

I know that refrigerated overnight oatmeal dishes are quite trendy, and I am curious to try them as well. While it stays this cold outside (below 0º Fahrenheit most mornings), and I keep getting weekends off from My Day Job (!!!!), I’m going to continue to warm up with some form of baked oatmeal instead. Actually, the warmth is extended by the fact that these dishes keep well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be reheated on mornings when time is more precious as well. All the more reason to try as many of them as I can!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal

1 ½ cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¼ cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray or grease it as desired. Set aside.

2. In a medium size bowl, combine the oats, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another medium-size bowl, lightly beat the egg with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the melted butter. Whisk in the peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugars, milk and vanilla and stir until smooth.

4. Pour the egg mixture into the oat mixture and stir together until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared baking dish and smooth out to make it even.

5. Bake at 350 F for 35-38 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center appears set and dry. Cool at least 5 minutes. Cut into squares or scoop to serve.

Makes about 9 servings. Leftovers can be covered and refrigerated. Reheat in the microwave.