Cookbooks for winter vegetable inspiration

CSA share veggie prep

I live in a place with short summers – which is fine by me, since I’m not a summer person. But the one drawback is the short season for summer vegetables. I subscribe to a CSA for as much of the year as possible, and by the end of October, my boxes contain a deluge of winter vegetables – roots, squashes, and hardy greens. That about sums up what’s in season here until some time in May. Of course the grocery store still stocks everything, but I try to stick with locally seasonal vegetables as much as possible. (Also, winter grocery store tomatoes? Ick.)

There’s no shortage of recipes for common winter vegetables – carrots, potatoes, spinach, kale. But when my fridge is stocked with more beets, parsnips, and turnips, sometimes inspiration runs low. I’ve been turning to cookbooks for recipe inspiration more often recently. The ones below are my favorite for recipes starring winter vegetables – both common and less so.

Dishing Up the Dirt: Simple Recipes for Cooking Through the Seasons, Andrea Bemis

Andrea writes a blog of the same name, where she shares recipes based the on the vegetables she and her husband harvest at their small farm in Oregon. No surprise, then, that the Autumn and Winter chapters are full of inspiration for all sorts of winter vegetables. We’ve loved the pizza recipes in both chapters, as well as the Beet and Carrot Lentil Salad and the Butternut Squash Kale Salad with Maple-Bourbon Dressing. The Honey-Cardamom Latte is also delicious (but vegetable-free). While this isn’t a vegetarian cookbook, only a handful of recipes center on meat. Most of the recipes are either vegetarian or easily adapted to be so.

Good Veg: Ebullient Vegetables, Global FlavorsAlice Hart

I received both this book and the one above as Christmas presents. While Dishing Up the Dirt is full of simple, mostly quick recipes, Good Veg runs the gamut from simple to elaborate. We’ve made a number of fuss-free weeknight dinners from this book, including several soups and the Crisp Tofu Stir Fry with Black Beans. There’s probably an equal number of elaborate recipes better saved for leisurely weekend cooking. I appreciate that the author includes unique recipes starring less-popular winter vegetables, like Parsnip-Millet Pancakes and Caramelized Fennel Tagliatelle. And on the non-veg side, we’ve enjoyed the Seeded Breakfast Loaf and Teff, Banana, and Maple Loaf.

Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, Moosewood Collective

I didn’t know when I picked this up at a Half Price Books that Moosewood cookbooks are considered vegetarian classics – but it definitely lived up to that designation. With recipes inspired by dozens of cuisines from around the world, there’s no shortage of inspiration here. This book is massive – over 700 pages! – so I’ve barely scratched the surface, but every recipe I’ve tried has been something I would make again. The Turkish lentil and spinach soup is one of my favorites. Sundays was published in 1990, so it’s noticeably sparse on currently trendy ingredients – a single kale recipe, no quinoa in sight – but makes up for it with plenty of recipes for decidedly untrendy vegetables, like turnips.

Vibrant India: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn, Chitra Agrawal

I did a full review of this cookbook here. Though you might not think to look towards South Indian cuisine for winter cooking inspiration, there are plenty of recipes with roots, squashes, and greens. The soups and stews section is a good place to start. And if you’re worried about spice levels, never fear – nothing here will set your mouth on fire. I made the Spicy and Sour Tomato Lentil Soup for my whole family over the holidays, and even the most spice-sensitive enjoyed it.

Run Fast, Eat Slow, Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan

Does the internet really need another review of this book? Instead, here are a few of my favorite RFES recipes for winter vegetables: Root Lovers’ Winter Salad, Curry Lentil Soup, Carrot-Ginger Soup, and Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Brown Butter.



What’s your favorite winter vegetable? Favorite recipe or way to cook it?

Linking up with Friday Five 

13 Comment

  1. I do try to eat somewhat seasonally, but I runfess I eat asparagus year round cause I love it so much. And then there are salads . . . it’s hard!

    I’m not sure I really have a fav winter veggie, come to think of it. I mean, I love cauliflower & broccoli & brussel sprouts, but I tend to do asparagus, bell peppers (definitely not seasonal) and asparagus. A lot!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      We eat a lot of kale salads during the winter…but I confess I do sometimes buy the mixed salad greens. And the occasional bell pepper.

  2. I feel like eating more veggies in the winter is so much harder than summer, because summer always has plenty of fresh veggies available.

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      The summer variety definitely helps.

  3. I had the original Moosewood cookbook about 20 years ago!
    Deborah Brooks recently posted…Healthy Vegetarian Recipes To Keep You Cozy And Warm All WinterMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Their newest one came out just recently! I think I’m going to check for it at the library.

  4. Farrah says: Reply

    You know I love and adore cookbooks! 😛 I’ve never gotten all that adventurous with winter veggies, so these would be awesome to check out! (Yay for Half Price Books! <3)!

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I can’t decide if it’s good or bad that there’s no HPB near here….it’s a dangerous place for me!

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  7. I need to check these books out because summer is coming to an end in Australia and winter vegetables are like the only thing I look forward to, haha!

    Oddly enough, parsnips are one of my winter faves. Such an underrated vegetable!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…February Styling: My Easy Valentine’s Day Themed Home DecorMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      I love parsnips! I’d never even had them until a couple years ago. Definitely underrated.

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