When it comes to seasonal vegetable recipes, people tend to think about spring and summer and the bounty those seasons bring. It’s true that the colder months offer a more particular range of produce—roots, cabbages, greens, and more—but it’s easy to eat delicious in-season vegetables in the cold-weather months as well. When we spy kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, turnips, beets, winter radishes, and more at the farmers’ market, our wheels start turning about the many ways to utilize fall and winter vegetables in sides, mains, soups and stews, and even desserts.
Kale grows starting in mid-summer, but it reaches its peak during the winter. How to cook with kale can be answered with all sorts of dishes, from pasta with crispy sausage bits to white bean soup with a smoked ham hock. Tender baby kale is delicious raw—try it in a simple salad with toasted pine nuts, parmigiano, and a lemon vinaigrette.
Sweet winter carrots are an under-appreciated ingredient. For new carrot recipes, try roasting carrots and turnips together in olive oil then dressing with toasted cumin seeds or coriander, mint, and a lime juice vinaigrette. For more idea of what to pair with carrots, think maple syrup, a buttery glaze for braising or sauteeing, or loads of fresh herbs like Italian parsley and dill. And don’t toss the carrot tops—they make a wonderful pesto to serve on pasta, atop crostini, alongside a vegetable platter, or with roasted carrots and burrata.
The mellow flavor of some cold-weather vegetables works well in a variety of preparations. For cauliflower recipes or potato recipes, turn to ideas like hearty lamb stew with harissa or delicate but filling goat cheese soufflés. Roasting either vegetable will give it a deep, caramelized flavor flavor— toss it with warm vinaigrette or serve sprinkled with capers, toasted nuts or bread crumbs, and a drizzle of mustard brown butter.
We could go on. But instead, check out some of our absolute best vegetable recipes for winter.
Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta
Piles of colorful carrot ribbons—which skew more savory than sweet, thanks to a lemony coriander-flecked dressing—come out of the oven glistening and retaining some of their bite. The keys to the couldn’t-be-flakier crust beneath: keeping the ingredients as cold as possible, and not overhandling the dough. Leftovers of the tart can be refrigerated and recrisped in the oven the next day. Get the recipe for Shaved Carrot Tart with Ricotta »
Endive and Walnut Salad
With winter looming, this salad with endive, comte and walnuts is a great choice for cold weather. The recipe, adapted from Susan Herrmann Loomis’s The French Farmhouse Cookbook, is from a cook in the town of Vinay, where walnuts are produced. The crisp and bright salad is made heartier by the addition of nuts and cheese. Get the recipe for Endive and Walnut Salad »
Combine chopped red, purple, and russet potatoes with sliced onions, herbs de provence, coarse sea salt and olive oil in a tightly sealed tinfoil packet and place on grill for thirty minutes, shaking the tinfoil packet occasionally to evenly cook. Get the recipe for Potatoes Roasted with Saffron »
Sweet Potato Fries
The pale yellow, thin-skinned sweet potato and the moister, orange-fleshed American “yam” (which is not really a yam, but another kind of sweet potato) both work well for these alternatives to conventional french fries.
Fermented Squash and Sesame Dip
“This is a nod to tahini dip, done in a way where you also get sweet and sour flavors from fresh and fermented vegetables,” Burns says. “The sesame helps emulsify, and lemon juice, garlic, and spices lend a little acid and heat.” If you have another fermented vegetable on hand, you can substitute all fresh squash and use the lacto-brine from that vegetable in place of or in addition to the lemon juice. Get the recipe for Fermented Squash and Sesame Dip »
Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash
Braising—with a healthy dose of soy—is one of our favorite ways to bring out the texture and flavor of winter squash.
Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze
It’s rare that we encounter spaghetti squash not shredded into its eponymous noodle-like threads. But kept intact, it reveals a beautifully yielding texture and a savory, subtle flavor that’s perfectly offset by a rich walnut-miso glaze.
Braising carrots slowly in butter, rather than steaming or boiling them, brings out their natural sweetness. Maple syrup adds a delicate glaze and a rich flavor.
Cast-Iron Squash Pudding
This luscious, cakelike pudding, made with milk-poached butternut squash batter and crowned with caramel-drenched delicata, rides the line perfectly between side dish and dessert, “kind of like yams with marshmallows,” says Joe Beef’s Red Morin, who serves it with caramel sauce or sweetened whipped cream. For an easy caramel sauce and squash topping (pictured right), double or triple the quantities of delicata and granulated sugar, and repeat step 4 as needed. Or if you want to amp up the savory nature of the dish, nix the caramel and offer grated cheddar at the table. Get the recipe for Cast-Iron Squash Pudding »