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9 Winter Vegetables You Could Be Eating Right Now--And How to Prepare Them

2/17/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: winter vegetables, vegetarian recipes, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, onions, cabbage, leeks, parsnips, kale, carrots, potatoes

In winter’s depth, we can despair of ever eating fresh vegetables again. With its slide show, 10 Fresh, In-Season Vegetables the East Coast Should be Eating Now, Treehugger reminds us this week that we do have options. (They offered nine rather than 10, but we editors know how easily that can happen.) Winter vegetables, Treehugger states, are “often as sweet, textural, rich and delicious as the veggies you find throughout the rest of the year.” I’m not on the East Coast, but most of these are available in Colorado…and I’ve pulled out my favorite recipes to make use of winter’s bounty.

 mushroom bread pudding 

Mushrooms are the star in this savory bread pudding. Photo by Joe Lavine 

1. White button mushrooms 

My favorite use for these is my partner Pieter Dijkstra’s rich, earthy Mushroom Bread Pudding, which is remarkably easy to make. You can also grow your own mushrooms—often within weeks or even days—with mushroom growing kits.

 brussels sprouts 

Brussels sprouts are hearty enough to serve as a main course. Photo by Joe Lavine 

2. Brussels sprouts 

“The fiber-rich sprouts are packed with vitamin A, potassium and protein, and they’re hardy enough for winter growing,” Treehugger states. I like to serve them as a main course, using Sarah Belk King’s excellent recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples, Dried Cranberries and Sage.

 onion quiche 

Sweet onions paired with bacon make a hearty quiche. Photo by Joe Coca 

3. Onions 

“The layered globes are classic root-cellar fare,” Treehugger reports, “which means you can use them to add savory flavor to dishes all winter.” Gretchen Roberts’s hearty Sweet Onion Quiche is a great way to make use of them.

4. Cabbage 

Treehugger suggests using this versatile cold-weather vegetable raw in salads, braised as a side dish or wilted in soups. I’m dying to try turning it into Japanese-style Pickled Cabbage, following Mother Earth News blogger Winifred Bird.

5. Leeks 

Try these vitamin- and fiber-packed vegetables stewed with wine and figs, a great recipe included in Vicky Mattern’s article Long Live Leeks.


Whip up parsnips instead of potatoes for something different with dinner. Photo by Hamid Attie 

6. Parsnips 

These sweet root vegetables are often harvested in January and store well all winter long. Whipped Parsnips are a cinch to make.


White Bean and Kale Stew can warm up any winter night. Photo by Joe Lavine 

7. Kale 

This leafy green offers more than twice the recommended allowance of vitamin A and more than 130 percent of vitamin C, Treehugger reports. Leslie McGrath’s White Bean and Kale Stew is a satisfying way to eat your greens.

8. Carrots 

Properly stored, carrots keep all winter long. To prepare them, I like Grit blogger Chuck Mallory’s healthy version of Grown-Up Candied Carrots.

 au gratin potatoes 

Cheese and a hint of nutmeg make potatoes irresistible. Photo by Povy Kendal Atchison 

9. Potatoes 

The old stalwarts store well, Treehugger says, and “they’re durable enough to hold you over until the glory days of spring arrive.” Pieter’s simple Au Gratin Potatoes, with just a hint of nutmeg, is one of my staple recipes.

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