Resolved to incorporate more vegetables into your diet this year? Start off your resolution with seasonal options you might not be eating yet:
I personally have a hard time with beets. Their color is gorgeous, but their flavor unusual. They’re highly worth eating, however; beets are packed with vitamins, are supposed to clean the liver, and may even act as an aphrodisiac. Plus, they’re a hardy vegetable that can keep for long winter months. If you like beets, there are many ways to eat them, including boiled, steamed, in mash (called “red-flannel hash”), and simmered in butter. If you’re less enthusiastic, try juicing them in a blend—the sweet flavor lends itself to juice—or in carrot and beet soup, the only beet recipe I’ve ever exclaimed over
You could spend all winter just trying different kinds of squash. There’s acorn squash, butternut squash, winter squash, pumpkin…and that’s just an abbreviated list. Squash in general carries a lot of carotene, which your body absorbs as Vitamin A, and has been linked to decreases in cancer and lung disease. Try it in soup, roasted in halves, or in a mash. Bonus: squash looks great on your countertop waiting to be cooked.
If you’re sensing a root vegetable theme here, it’s because root vegetables are winter vegetables. Sweet potatoes are an excellent substitution or addition for potatoes. Their vibrant color gives away their high vitamin density; they’re also packing good stuff like iron, magnesium, and potassium. Plus, they’re more interesting than your average potato! You can mash them with garlic and either butter or olive oil; bake them as you would a baked potato, complete with toppings; add cold, cooked chunks to salad; grill them with onions; slice and bake them into fries; the list is endless.
Brussels sprouts offer an excellent way to introduce green into your meal, at a time of year when lettuce is less available locally. They’re high in fiber, which is good for your digestion and will keep you fuller, longer. The little sprouts also transport tons of Vitamin K, important for bones and as an anti-inflammatory. My favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts is in a pan, halved, flat side down in butter. But they’re also delicious grilled, and can be excellent boiled if you add appropriate spices.
Want to know more about vegetables available by season? Check out this seasonal produce chart. And remember! “In-season” depends entirely on your region, so check with your local farmers to do some online research. Tell us about your favorite recipes, here or on Facebook!