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
Or brothy soups like White Bean Soup with Bacon, Squash, and Kale.
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.
I also love Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Olives
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?