Summer gets a lot of hype for its bounty of produce, but there’s something special, hopeful even, about cooking with winter vegetables. In the speedy recipes below, chard, cabbage, brussels sprouts, tubers and plenty of squash shine their brightest — so much so, that you might not feel as eager for the arrival of spring as you once did.
Tamarind and lemongrass awaken the senses — and this cozy yet vibrant soup of root vegetables, greens and tofu. Yewande Komolafe uses radishes, sweet potato and spinach here, but a heartier winter green like kale or chard would work well, too.
Raw cabbage adds contrasting textures to Eric Kim’s otherwise pillowy, cheesy dish of saucy, stir-fried Korean rice cakes. Once the cabbage is showered over top, the dish is covered to steam it ever so slightly, so the shredded ribbons still maintain plenty of crunch.
Recipe: Cheesy Cabbage Tteokbokki
Kale and delicata squash may be seasonal superstars, but the real draw of this Ali Slagle salad has to be the dressing. Almond butter stands in for olive oil, contributing not only fat but also lots of savory nuttiness. Once whisked into the vinaigrette, the nut butter is practically unrecognizable. Your friends or family will wonder aloud, between forkfuls of salad, what that delicious secret ingredient is.
Recipe: Kale and Squash Salad With Almond-Butter Vinaigrette
Arguably the most beloved winter squash, butternut squash brings an earthy sweetness to any dish it graces. In this nontraditional but just as inviting take on congee, Hetty McKinnon uses store-bought chile oil to balance the natural sugars of the squash. It’s easy, vegan and requires very few ingredients, to boot.
Melissa Clark puts an unexpected — but welcome! — seasonal twist on the classic Caesar in this recipe. Brussels sprouts replace the more standard romaine in two ways: First, half of the sprouts are roasted until crisp and browned, and then the remaining sprouts are thinly sliced. The combination of slightly caramelized bits and slaw-style shreds showcases all this vegetable has to offer.
Recipe: Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad
This pasta dish from Alexa Weibel may look energetic and green, but it is quite rich. Grated Parmesan and nutritional yeast-spiked bread crumbs impart cheesiness, so you won’t want to skip the final garnish of herbs and citrus. “What a perfect midwinter pasta,” wrote one New York Times Cooking commenter. “Winter ingredients, but the tarragon and lemon taste like spring.”
Recipe: Creamy Swiss Chard Pasta With Leeks, Tarragon and Lemon Zest
Deeply roasting cabbage to add to soup, rather than sautéing it down alongside other vegetables, lends unexpected textures and flavors to this satisfying meal. Ali Slagle pairs the thickly sliced and charred cabbage with simmered green or brown lentils for plenty of heft and protein.
Recipe: Charred Cabbage and Lentil Soup
Hetty McKinnon employs two robust, versatile condiments — hoisin and tahini — when dressing simply roasted brussels sprouts and tofu to great effect in this recipe. And don’t stop there. The sauce would taste great over charred broccoli or tossed with noodles. “You’re going to want to put it on everything!” wrote one New York Times Cooking commenter.
Recipe: Sheet-Pan Tofu and Brussels Sprouts With Hoisin-Tahini Sauce
Don’t bat an eyelash if you don’t have broth hanging out in your fridge or pantry. You can still make this simple, silky soup from David Tanis without it. Just use water! It is far more important to focus on cooking the vegetables slowly to concentrate their flavor than to rely on a vegetable broth to do the work for you.
If you love creamed spinach, allow us to direct you to this cheesy creamed kale pizza. Ali Slagle seasons heavy cream with nutmeg, garlic and Parmesan for those familiar steakhouse flavors, but opts for curly kale, which holds up in the hot oven and crisps nicely at the edges.
Recipe: Creamed Kale Pizza
With one pot, 40 minutes and an assortment of starchy root vegetables, you can have this Kay Chun recipe inspired by kalbi jjim on the table for dinner. Braising the carrots, potatoes, squash, radishes and mushrooms in the oven, rather than on the stovetop, cooks them more gently, allowing the heat to be evenly distributed and requiring very little effort on your part.
Recipe: Soy-Braised Vegetable Jjim (Korean Vegetable Stew)
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