Healthy Cooking

7 Warming Winter Vegetable Recipes To Nourish Your Body and Soul

Tehrene Firman

Photo: Stocksy/Nataša Mandić
This isn’t your standard New Year’s plan. No restrictive diets, no weekly weigh-ins, no “whole new you” for this new year—because, hey, you’re pretty great already. These four expert-led plans—designed to help you move your body, eat more veggies, get a better night’s sleep, or show yourself some loving care—are all about developing healthy habits that better align with your goals. Get the Program

Cultivating a self-care practice in the new year means nourishing your mind and soul as well as your body. Latham Thomas, a Well+Good Council member and the founder of Mama Glow, says one of the best ways to do that is to fill your body with warming, comforting dinners made with winter vegetables.

“Have you noticed how in the winter, our bodies crave substantial foods like roots, tubers, starches, beans, and legumes? These are all things that grow along the ground or underground, supporting us to get through dark, cold winter months. These fortifying foods help ground us and sustain us through the season,” she says. “I encourage you to expand a relationship with some of these nurturing, therapeutic foods that winter offers. You’ll be rewarded with wonderful flavors and energy to sustain you.”

There are so many vegetables to choose from, too. “Add a hearty winter vegetable like parsnips, beets, sweet potato, or kohlrabi to your grocery cart,” says Thomas. That also includes carrots, butternut squash, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Here are the best winter vegetable recipes to get you started.

Warming winter vegetable recipes for dinner

1. Sweet potato gnocchi

Homemade gnocchi is easier to put together than you think. All you need to make Dan Churchill‘s recipe is a couple sweet potatoes, an egg, and some flour.

Ingredients
Kosher salt
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup oat flour, gluten-free flour, or all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for serving

1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
2. Sprinkle kosher salt onto a large baking sheet. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and put them on the pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until soft. Remove from the oven and let the potatoes cool slightly. When they are cool enough to handle, separate the flesh from the skins, discarding the skins. Return the flesh to the baking sheet to dry out for about 20 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water.
4. Transfer the sweet potato flesh to a medium bowl and add the egg, oat flour, and a pinch kosher salt and pepper. Using a spatula, mix until the ingredients are evenly combined and smooth.
5. Test the dough by using your palms to roll a thumbnail-size piece into a ball. Drop the ball into the boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until it rises to the top. If it falls apart in the water, discard it and add a pinch more oat flour to the dough. Test again using the same process. If the dough stays firmly together, form the gnocchi.
6. On a floured surface, roll the dough into thin logs, then cut the logs crosswide into a thumbnail-size pieces.
7. Working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding, drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until they rise to the top.
8. Drain the gnocchi in a colander and let cool slightly.
9. Divide the gnocchi among two to four bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and serve.

2. Vegetarian Dal

This warm and cozy winter vegetable recipe from chef Palak Patel is loaded with carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, lentils, and other hearty ingredients.

Ingredients
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
2 Tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 cups vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, spinach)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Juice of one half a lemon
4 cups of water
Kosher salt to taste
Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat, add cumin seeds until they sputter in oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes, then add spices, red lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, and water. Season with salt. Cover the lid and simmer on low approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, spinach, and cilantro.

3. One-pot vegan shepherd’s pie

What’s more comforting than shepherd’s pie? This vegan recipe uses brown lentils for a plant-based protein boost. It also includes sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, and other vegetables.

Ingredients for filling
2 cups brown lentils
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, small diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 cup cauliflower
1 cup mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
Paprika, cumin powder, garlic powder
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper cracked, as needed
Kosher salt to taste

Ingredients for mashed potatoes
4 large russet potatoes
1/2 cup Oatly milk
4 Tbsp vegan butter
1 cup vegan parmesan, optional

1. Heat pot over medium heat and add oil with mushrooms, onions, carrots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes until just tender, around 10 minutes. Season with salt, stir in crushed garlic, and cook for another 3 minutes.
2. Add sprigs of thyme and spices with tomato paste and cook until the oil begins to separate. Add vegetable broth.
3. Mix in the lentils and cook for 30 minutes until the liquid evaporates.
4. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Season as needed.
5. Place peeled and cut potatoes into cold water in a saucepan along with salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until potatoes are cooked through. Drain.
6. While the potatoes are warm, add oat milk, butter, and cheese. Season well with salt.
7. Spoon potatoes over meat mixture and score the top with a fork to allow the potatoes to get crispy.
8. Bake for 30 minutes at 375° F until golden brown.

4. Vegetarian cauliflower fried rice

Chef Dale Talde‘s fried rice loads up on vegetables like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, as well as kimchi and nori.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 eggs scrambled
2 cloves of garlic smashed and minced
1 medium onion small diced
2 Tbsp ginger minced
3 Thai chilis, minced
3 cups of cauliflower + broccoli rice mix
4 large shiitake mushrooms small dice
6 pcs Brussels sprouts shaved thin
1/2 cup Kimchi sliced thin
1 nori or seaweed to taste

Sauce ingredients:

1/2 cup tamari
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil

1. Create the sauce by combining the tamari, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small bowl
2. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and set aside
3. Add a neutral oil to a hot, cast iron pan
4. Add the scrambled eggs to the pan, remove, and set aside once they’re cooked
5. Add more oil, then add the garlic, onion, ginger, Thai chilis, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and kimchi to the pan to sear
6. After a minute, add the cauliflower + broccoli rice
7. After the vegetables start to sear, add the scrambled egg and the sauce. Mix until combined.
8. Use your third egg to make a sunny side up egg to top your fried rice
9. Plate the rice and add the egg on top
10. Top the whole dish with seaweed flakes to taste, and enjoy!

5. Vegan beef bourguignon

This vegan beef bourguignon recipe from chef Lukas Volger swaps the meat for beets, one of the most nutritious winter vegetables. The recipes calls for mushrooms, onion, celery, carrots, and spices to create an incredibly flavorful dish.

Ingredients
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (8 grams)
2 medium beets (8 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, quartered, or another variety—cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup dry red wine (ideally one from the Burgundy region)
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon (such as Better than Bouillon) or 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube, dissolved in a few teaspoons of hot water
1/4 cup black or dark green lentils, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
Minced parsley for garnish

1. In a tall measuring cup, cover the porcini mushrooms with about 2 cups boiling water. Let stand until tender, about 10 minutes. Pick out the mushrooms and coarsely chop them. Reserve the soaking liquid.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the beets, 3/4 cups water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, until tender.
3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms, spreading them out in a single layer, and cook, stirring the pan just once or twice, until the mushrooms are tender and seared a bit. Remove from the heat.
4. In a Dutch oven, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, then add the celery, carrot, onion, bay leaves, and 1/4 tsp salt. Note: You can pulse the celery, carrots, and onion together in a food processor until uniformly ground—this saves a bit of prep time, and the finer texture of the vegetables helps thicken the sauce a bit.
5. Cook for about 5 minutes, until beginning to soften. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and fry for about a minute. Then add the flour, stirring to coat, followed by the lentils, porcini mushrooms, wine, bouillon, and 1.5 cups of the reserved porcini liquid. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 18 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
6. Fold in the seared mushrooms and beets (along with any liquid at the bottom of the saucepan). Taste for salt. Simmer for a few minutes to heat thoroughly, then serve hot over rice, polenta, and mashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped parsley.

6. Veggie-packed Bolognese

Tanya Zuckerbrot gave traditional Bolognese a plant-based makeover in this winter vegetable recipe using celery, carrots, mushrooms, and other hearty ingredients.

Ingredients
12 oz shiitake or cremini mushrooms (stem removed)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups riced cauliflower
2 Tbsp tomato paste
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup almond milk
1 lb whole wheat pasta (rigatoni, ziti)
2 oz grated Parmesan plus more for garnish
Fresh basil to garnish

1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat.
3. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and cook until onions are golden brown. Add garlic stirring occasionally until softened.
4. Add red wine and cook until all the alcohol has evaporated.
5. Add cauliflower and cook until softened (approximately 5 minutes).
6. Add tomato paste and cook a until slightly darkened.
7. Add crushed tomato, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.
8. Uncover sauce, add almond milk, and stir to combine.
9. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water stirring occasionally until al dente.
10. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to a pot with sauce and stir to combine.
11. Add Parmesan cheese to pot and stir.
12. Divide pasta among six bowls and top with more parmesan cheese and basil. Serve.

7. One-pan roasted vegetable hash

You can use chef Nyesha Arrington‘s one-pan roasted vegetable hash recipe with whatever winter vegetables you have in your fridge.

Ingredients
2 cups squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 large fresh beet, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup French Lentils, cooked
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp caraway
Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Toss the cut squash and beets with melted coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and season with salt.
3. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until vegetables are golden, about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and cooked lentils, continue to cook about 10 minutes.
5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

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