Winter Vegetable Roundup

Officially, spring is just a little over 2 weeks away! I find it hard to believe since it’s still snowing here in the mid-Atlantic. But even with spring right around the corner, I know it will be awhile before we start to see all of those great spring vegetables that I’m pining for.

For now though, I just need a break from all of the heavy, stewed, creamy foods that constitute winter cooking. So I’m making a list of many of my favorite recipes using the best winter has to offer that aren’t quite so heavy, are totally nourishing, and make me appreciate winter cooking. Since this winter will never end.

030314 Winter Vegetable Collage


Root Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free) by me

Root Veg Soup

Creamy Potato, Leek and Gorgonzola Soup (gluten free) from the Pig and Quill

Carrot, Ginger, and Sweet Potato Soup from A Touch of Zest


Blood Orange and Fennel Salad from Taste, Love, and Nourish

Winter Panzanella Salad with Warm Anchovy Orange Dressing by me

022514 winter panzanella 3


Winter Salad Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms from Savory Simple

Lebanese Beef and Green Beans from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Braised Kale over Parmesan Polenta by me

Kale and polenta 2


Garlic Smashed Potatoes from Damn Delicious

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by me

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts //

030314 Winter Vegetable Collage pinterest

Make ahead and quick meals for a week: turkey squash enchiladas, white chili, bean soup, chimichurri

make ahead and quick meals for the weekIt got COLD this week! Seriously, it’s only early December in the mid-Atlantic. I’m all for wearing a jacket and all, but snow and ice and high’s of 20’s? No thank you, it’s too early!

But, the one good thing about the cold is that it’s officially soup season. Yes! I’m all about drinking my dinner. Soup, people! Get your mind out of the gutter.

At the farmers market, they’re about ready to close up shop for the winter so when I tried to purchase one bunch of cilantro they handed me a 5-lb bag of various herbs and scallions and spinach. Oh darn, whatever shall I do?

Plus, I cleaned out my freezer of Thanksgiving-y stuff so have room for all that’s to come.

On this week’s menu, we went crazy for stick-to-your ribs kind of stuff like soup and warming baked squashy things that used up leftovers and our bounty of herbs. Read on for recipes and plans. [Read more…]

Root Vegetable Soup

1113 Root Vegetable Soup-2 pinterest.jpgHappy Meatless Monday!

With the lull between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I’m looking for healthy, satisfying, nourishing meals that help me detox from all the candy and meat and carbs that we’re inclined to scarf up this time of year.

Enter the humble root vegetable soup.

I like using a mix of root veg since each one contributes a little something different in terms of flavor and nutrients. Oh, who am I kidding? I opened the fridge and thought, what the heck am I going to do with a couple parsnips, a couple of potatoes, and a few sad leftover carrots? Anway, it’s a beautiful thing when the leftovers make something so wholesome and delish! The sweet potatoes bring sweet starchiness and a ton of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins A&C. Parsnips bring fiber, folate, and manganese. Carrots bring carotenes and Vitamin A.

1113 Root Vegetable Soup touched up-1

It is embarressingly–to misquote the Lion King–simple, yet satisfying. A couple of pounds of mixed roots in some water or stock, a handful of seasonings, and a whiz in the blender and voila! a tasty meal that the whole family loves. And no one needs to know that it’s vegan AND gluten free!

Pair with a lovely buttery Chardonnay from California.

Root Vegetable Soup

Yield: 4 servings

I use a mixture of root vegetables here, about a pound each, but you can use whatever you’ve got. All one veg, or mix it up and try something new.

If you want to add some protein, garnish with some toasted nuts or even add some white beans into the soup before you puree it.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 1 pound parsnips, roughly sliced
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional


  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot. Add the onions, celery and a pinch of salt and saute just until tender. Add the garlic and stir briefly. Then add the apple and root vegetables, stirring to coat, and pour in the liquid. Simmer gently until all of the vegetables are tender, approx 30-45 minutes.
  2. Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the soup until it is smooth. At this point you’ll want to check the consistency. If it’s too thin for your liking, turn the heat up and let it cook down a bit. Too thick? Just add some water.
  3. When you’ve got the consistency you like, then add the spices and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  4. Serve, topped with cilantro and a drizzle of really good olive oil.
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And the reviews are in: “Mom, this is the best soup I’ve ever had in my entire life.” Thanks son, and yes you may have another piece of Halloween candy.

1113 Root Vegetable Soup-2

New Years Resolutions, Minestrone

Ok, it’s resolutions time! Yes, I’m a few days late, but a girl’s got to finish her holiday, right? Now that it’s back to work, back to reality, I’m ready to commit. So, my resolutions are……………(drumroll, please)

1. Eat healthier

2. Workout more

3. Spend less money

Wow, original, right?

So here I was on Monday night, armed with my resolutions, trying to figure out what to make for dinner. It’s cold. I want something comforting. And filling. And delicious. Unfortunately lobster mac and cheese isn’t going to help me with those pesky resolutions.

Minestrone! It’s warm and comforting. The whole family loves it. If you’ve never seen a 3-year old chowing down on big chunks of kale, it’s worth it alone to make this. It’s healthy–only 4 Weight Watchers points per bowl. It’s cheap–about 10 bucks for the whole batch, or less than $1 per bowl. And it works out for you. Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad (watch for my next post on Meatloaf).

Weekly Menu: Meals to Prep for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is on Thursday. I bring this up because, if you’re like me, you may not be aware. It snuck up on me. I thought I had an extra week in there somewhere. Recalibrating…

Ok, this week’s menu is all planned around the fact that you are going to eat a big meal on Thursday. If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner and don’t have all of your recipes picked out, or if you’re bringing a side dish and need some inspiration, I’m including a Thanksgiving dinner menu. Either way, the last thing you’re going to want is overwraught, heavy meals all week.

So, on the menu: a slow cooker vegetarian meal with a side of cornbread, leftovers to be used for Thanksgiving stuffing. A make-ahead salad, where you could potentially make other Thanksgiving sides at the same time–mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. And of course, the main event, the bird.

Menu #1

If you’re making cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to make plenty of cornbread to go along with this soup. You’ll want to give it a couple of days to get good and stale before making your stuffing.

Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
Cornbread (make from recipe on box)
Garden Salad

Menu #2

You can get a jump on your Thanksgiving cooking by cooking a bunch of potatoes and pre-make your mashed potatoes. Then on Thanksgiving warm over a double boiler, or bake in a casserole for a new twist on mashed potatoes. You can also steam extra green beans here for the classic green bean casserole

Salad Nicoise

Menu #3Thanksgiving dinner

Brined Roasted Turkey
Cornbread Stuffing with Cranberries and Pecans
Mashed Potatoes
Collard Greens
Steamed Green Beans

Shopping List

10-12 pound turkey
1 ham hock or ham bone
potatoes–3 pounds
collard greens–2 pounds
green bell pepper
Boston lettuce
green beans
solid white tuna in water
1 lb dried black beans
14oz can diced tomatoes
chicken or vegetable stock–2 quarts
Goya Sazon seasoning
kosher salt
whole peppercorns
bay leaves
dried thyme or fresh thyme
chopped pecans
dried cranberries
cornmeal or cornbread mix
brown sugar
assorted olives
dijon mustard
cider vinegar
white wine vinegar
olive oil
whole milk

Weekly Menu: Lentils, Cauliflower (and yes, the kids will love it)

I’m feeling the need to eat a ton of veggies this week, but there’s just not a whole lot in season anymore. Carrots, leeks, and cauliflower can still be found though so I’ve snapped them up. Salmon with Lentils eating

The week starts with Ina Garten’s Lentil Soup–which is amazing. It’s chock full of carrots, leeks, celery and delicious French lentils. The recipe also makes a TON. Way more than we can eat before we get sick of it. So I used some of the leftovers, strain the broth, and serve on the side of grilled salmon for a classic combo that comes together in a couple of minutes. Any remaining soup can be pureed with cooked brown rice for a healthy stage 3 baby meal.

Finally, on Friday’s we love to make pasta as an end of week treat. So I’ll roast up some cauliflower and toss it with rigatoni, capers, and red pepper flakes. Add an interesting Italian white and voila! A week of delicious, and fairly healthy, eating!

Menu #1:Lentil Soup

Ina Garten’s Lentil Soup
Grilled Chicken Sausage
Garden Salad

Menu #2:Salmon with Lentils

Salmon with Lentils
Swiss Chard

Wine: Pinot Noir

Menu #3:Cauliflower Rigatoni

Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower and Capers
Wine: Medium bodied Italian white (like a Soave)

Shopping List

4 6-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
chicken sausage
1 pound French green lentils–Whole Foods sells these in the bulk foods bins
onions–3 large
1 pound swiss chard
olive oil
red wine vinegar
3 quarts chicken stock
kosher salt
black pepper
ground cumin
red pepper flakes
tomato paste
Parmesan cheese
pecorino romano cheese
crusty Italian bread