Well, it’s official: Winter is here! If warming up hearty, home-cooked meals sounds more enticing than venturing out in search of sustenance, then grab a blanket and curl up to read about the best picks of the season. From winter crock pot recipes to soups, salads, pastas, and desserts, we’ve rounded up our favorite winter recipes—and also put together a list of the best produce to enjoy until spring.
What’s In-Season for Winter
- Potatoes: They might be available year-round, but potatoes are in-season during the winter months, ripening primarily in December. Needless to say, many warm and cozy meals rely on a few spuds. While there are many varieties to choose from, select those with the fewest bruises and blemishes. They can be an indication that the potato was poorly handled and may be past its prime. You can also give each potato the “sniff test.” If you smell dirt, don’t be deterred—the smell of soil is a sign of freshness!
- Kale: Kale is most abundant during the colder months, making this leafy green a winter staple. Select dark green, perky kale with smaller leaves for tenderness. Large leaves tend to be coarse and difficult to eat raw. Also remember that the flavor of kale intensifies the longer you store it, so try to enjoy the greens within a day or two of purchase.
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower has been a winter vegetable favorite since 600 B.C. most likely because it can be enjoyed in a variety of recipes from soups to mashes to entrees. Choose compact heads that have more green leaves for protection—they tend to be the freshest.
- Root veggies: Like potatoes, most root veggies are best during the winter months so now is the time to load up on sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and beets. Select vegetables that are firm and hefty without signs of shriveling or sprouting. Root veggies are best stored loosely in a dry, cool place (like your produce drawer).
- Citrus: With cold and flu season at its peak, it’s a good thing citrus fruits are primarily in-season during the winter for a helpful dose of vitamin C. And don’t think you have to settle for just oranges and lemons. There’s a bounty of bright, sour-sweet fruit at its prime, including clementines, grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines, and tangelos.
Winter Appetizer Recipes
There’s no shortage of events and gatherings during the winter months so you’ll definitely want to have a few go-to recipes up your sleeve. Try these winter appetizer recipes for rave reviews.
We love sweet potatoes on their own, but stuff them with sautéed greens, top with sliced avocado, and drizzle with tahini-turmeric dressing, and we’re totally on board.
Oh kale yeah! These spicy-sweet kale chips are baked in sriracha and coconut flakes and only take seven minutes in the oven. Score!
Throwing a dinner party? Wet your guests’ appetites with this elevated take on mixed nuts. Consider this the perfect cocktail companion.
Winter Salad Recipes
With so many heavy meals on the menu when the weather gets cold, it’s nice to lighten things up once in a while. These winter salad recipes capitalize on what’s in-season without leaving you uncomfortably full.
Looking for a low-carb, big-flavor salad? This updated Korean noodle dish uses kelp noodles for a tasty, low-calorie bite.
Who knew tofu could be cozy? Warm up with a steaming bowl of savory soba noodles topped with zesty orange-cayenne tofu.
We bet you never slaw this coming! This easy shaved fennel salad pairs well with just about any protein and is sure to become your new favorite side during the busy week.
If the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing like a delightfully colorful salad to brighten up your day. This one combines kale, sweet potato cubes, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and almonds for a dish that’s almost too pretty to eat.
Winter Lunch Recipes
Resolve to make lunch more interesting with these easy-but-satisfying recipes for the ultimate midday bite.
There’s no dairy required for this comforting vegan soup that swaps chickpeas for heavy cream. The best part? You probably already have most of the ingredients stashed in your pantry.
Take basic miso soup to new heights by infusing the broth with fresh ginger and topping your bowl with fish balls, a popular Asian street food.
What’s not to like about a big bowl of tagliatelle pasta with oven-roasted cauliflower and garlicky pine nut-parmesan sauce? We can’t help but warm up to this meatless fork twirler.
If comfort was a food, it would be polenta. There’s something soothing about the Italian corn porridge, especially when you stir in salty parmesan and top with stewed tomatoes and sautéed kale.
Winter Dinner Recipes
It’s tough to pick our favorite winter dinner recipes, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to our most crave-worthy dishes.
If you’ve already changed into your comfy clothes, the last thing you want to do is make an elaborate meal. Opt for a one-pot dish like this quick pasta with meaty shiitake mushrooms, baby kale, and parmesan over hearty rotini.
Upgrade eggplant to main dish status with a blend of warming spices, including smoky paprika, vibrant turmeric, cardamom, and coriander.
Want to heat things up? Add a Tunisian influence to your roast chicken with the garlicky, hot chili punch of a harissa sauce.
Chicken pot pie is a winter meal staple, but adding pesto to the filling is an unexpected and surprisingly delicious improvement.
Top brown rice with a colorful and rich curry using a variety of seasonal vegetables, like eggplant and haricot verts, mixed with coconut milk, green curry paste, and a blend of exotic spices.
Cold weather is slow-cooker weather, and this melt-in-your mouth pot roast, made with grass-fed bone broth, is just the thing to chase away those winter blues.
Give this traditional savory pie a vegan update by swapping in lentils for ground beef and mashed parsnips for mashed potatoes. The outcome is so good, we promise you won’t miss a thing.
There’s always room for dessert and these sweet, seasonal treats are the perfect finish to your next winter meal.
These donuts might sound indulgent, but don’t let the name deceive you. Not only is the batter gluten-free and vegan, but applesauce adds moist texture and a scoop of protein powder delivers healthy fuel.
We can’t help but fall to pieces when it comes to crumble, and this recipe is a real crowd pleaser. Apples sprinkled with coconut sugar and maple syrup are topped with gluten-free cranberry granola and baked in a cast-iron skillet. Pair with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and this dessert is downright dreamy.
An aromatic blend of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and black pepper make this gluten-free cake truly delectable (not to mention memorable).
Looking for a gluten-free dessert that’s not too sweet and couples well with a cup of tea? This light and airy loaf combines delicate pear with savory tahini for a beautifully balanced treat.