Happy first day of winter! While it’s hard to get things to grow in the winter in Minnesota, there are still a few fruits and vegetables that belong in the pantry/refrigerator to create nourishing meals for our families. I’m giving you a list of my favorite winter fruits and vegetables along with a super simple Kale and Apple Salad, perfect for the first day of winter and your holiday gathering!
I remember the first time I had kale, it wasn’t until I turned 30! But now, I have a lot of it in my frig because I’m just so impressed with its versatility and its nutrition. Filled with vitamins A (for eyes/skin/immunity), C (for wounds/healing) and K (for healthy blood clotting abilities), along with fiber, and eye-protective nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, kale is nourishing in every way. We use it salads (especially good massaged – more on that later) or I can sauté it and put into an omelet, or even toss a few leaves into lasagna. It behaves just like spinach, I encourage you to give it a try.
These little oranges are just meant for winter when the colds and other viruses are going around. Potent carriers of vitamin C and fiber, having these out in the fruit bowl almost guarantees they will end up on the plate and in the stomach. We love their easy peel feature too. Dicing them up and adding them to salads, smoothies or even squeezing out the juice are just a few of the ways you can use these winter jewels.
Another immune-boosting food filled with vitamin A, winter squash is a long-lasting pantry staple. I still have some in my pantry from October! I love the sweet flavor of squash, whether it’s cubed and roasted, halved and roasted, mashed with a little brown sugar and olive oil or pureed into a squash and apple soup, there’s no wrong way to put squash on the table.
While it’s color is winter-white, cauliflower is not lacking in nutrition. Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C, providing 85% of our needs in 1 cup! Cauliflower is deliciously nutty when it’s roasted, but chopped up very small, it can be added to stir-fry like rice and you can even use it in pizza crust for a lower carbohydrate option.
In honor of the Recipe ReDux monthly theme “Grab a Book and Cook” (my kind of recipe theme!), we were challenged with grabbing our nearest cookbook and healthifying the recipe on page 54 or 154 in honor of the 54 months Recipe ReDux has been going. I chose one of my favorite recipe collections – The Gooseberry Patch line of cookbooks (they feature down-to-earth recipes I can relate to!) and I couldn’t help but pick up the Farmer’s Market Favorites as I was thinking about the fruits and vegetables that belong in the winter kitchen. I’m putting my spin on Log Cabin Salad, with ingredients like bacon, iceburg lettuce, pecans, long grain and wild rice, blue cheese, blueberries and poppy seed dressing. Not bad in itself, I just like to boost the nutrients by adding dark greens and a few other ingredients. Instead, I’m going with kale, apples, walnuts (for brain-health during the winter energy drain we all feel with the nights being longer), sharp cheddar cheese and dried cranberries. This salad is budget-friendly and nourishes us to the core. To make it a main dish, try adding a oven-baked chicken breast (to warm up the house!) or some fish, like broiled salmon, to the plate. Delicious!
- 4 cups chopped kale, ribs removed
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 apple, thinly sliced (with peel remaining)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese cubes
- Poppy seed dressing, to taste
- Massage the kale in a large bowl with clean hands with a drizzle of olive oil. (See note below).
- Top kale with apple, cranberries, walnuts and cheese cubes.
- Toss with poppy seed dressing just before serving.
- To massage kale, drizzle olive oil over leaves and massage leaves like you are balling up a piece of paper. Repeat this motion for approximately five minutes or until you reach the desired tenderness (taste to know!).