Sure, there are countless vegetables you can eat at any given moment in time. While eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetable at all, seasonal varieties growing in your region are your absolute best bets. Currently here in Florida, it’s the season for nutrient rich root and cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. Here’s a quick look at how to get your fill of some of my favorite winter picks.
Don’t be intimidated by earthy root vegetables or fooled into thinking they are too much work. With just a little washing and chopping, root vegetables can be enjoyed a number of ways.
Radishes: I’ve recently come to greatly appreciate radishes sliced or chopped and mixed in with salads and stir fry.
Carrots: I’ve never been a fan of chomping cold, raw carrots; however, taking a few extra minutes to spiralize them and mix them with other veggies in the form of a slaw, changes the game for me and allows me to chow down.
Harvest Slaw I crafted for Edible Northeast Florida.
As an alternative to using a spiralizer, you can finely chop raw carrots and sprinkle them on top of your next Pad Thai-like dish for an extra crunch.
Beets: When it comes to beets, it’s hard to beat a sweet and earthy beet salad.
Because some root vegetables can be strong in flavor (for example certain varieties of radishes), I recommend incorporating them into your meals in gradual doses as you develop a taste.
Kale: Simply steam a pot of kale with fresh garlic and dust in nutritional yeast flakes for a delicious side dish.
Spinach: Blend up spinach in your smoothie or toss a bountiful spinach salad with seasonal fruits, plus nuts and seeds.
Mustard Greens & Arugula: Mix mustard greens and arugula into any salad or slaw.
Lettuce: If you find yourself burnt out on leafy green salads or steamed greens, try rolling up some lettuce wraps.
If I had to pick a favorite grouping of vegetables, it would be those of the cruciferous variety.
Broccoli: Perhaps it’s because my mom introduced me to broccoli at a young age, as an adult I’ve been known to eat an overflowing bowl of steamed green broccoli florets and stalks for a snack.
Cauliflower: My love of broccoli is almost matched by my liking of cauliflower—specifically the divine blend of textures and flavors when cauliflower is simply cut, baked, then coated in a sweet and spicy peanut butter and Sriracha mixture.
Cabbage: There’s something to be said for the simplicity of purple cabbage steamed with apple cider vinegar, or chopping up cabbage to mix in with your tofu scramble.
Brussels Sprouts: Before you turn your nose up, try slicing sprouts in half and cooking stovetop with a mixture of coconut oil, chopped garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and fresh, chopped rosemary.
If you’re looking for a way to get your fill of a number of seasonal veggies in one hearty bowl, throw them in a soup! Seriously, you can’t go wrong. I recommend starting with chopped garlic, onion, and coconut oil as a base; adding coconut milk or water (depending on how creamy you want your soup); then gradually stirring in chopped veggies. First add in your root veggies, and finish with your greens and herbs in the final minutes. In an hour or less you can have a soup to serve up for the entire week!
Coconut Curry Corn Chowder I crafted specially for Edible Northeast Florida Magazine.
The quickest way to figure out what is growing in your region right now is to use the Internet to hunt down a “what’s in season” list from your state department of agriculture. To get your hands on the best produce your region has to offer, make a point to shop at farmers markets in your area.