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Do you know your winter veggies?

Feb 22, 2016

Mary Eve Winter ProduceCan you fill half your plate with veggies during the cold months without breaking your budget? It’s possible!  All you have to do is choose winter veggies that are in season, like squash and root veggies. These winter veggies have lots of advantages: they’re nutritious, last longer and are affordable.  Here are 5 winter veggies and ideas for cooking with them.

Cabbage

Green cabbage, red cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Brussels Sprouts… regardless of the variety, all cabbage is good for your health. They’ve got lots of nutrients as well as vitamin C. Since you lose some vitamin C in cooking, cabbage is the most nutritious when you eat it raw. Which makes cabbage salad a great option! I would suggest this crunchy cabbage salad which will add colour to your lunches.

Squashes

Pumpkin is a popular squash but do you also know the butternut squash, accord squash, buttercup squash, spaghetti squash and Hubbard squash? These inexpensive and versatile veggies are a great treat. Winter squash are excellent sources of vitamin A, which are great for vision.  When stored in a fresh, dry space, they’ll keep for up to 10 months. You can eat them baked in the oven with a bit of brown sugar, cubed for your stew, sliced in a gratin or pureed in your soup. You can also freeze pureed squash to have it ready to add to muffins, breads and other baking. For a comforting dinner, try Chef Michael Smith’s roast chicken with butternut squash and apples.

Beets

Even though they stain everything they touch, we love this affordable veggie for its sweet taste and beautiful colour.  Beets are a good source of folate and vitamin B which is good for your brain.  They blend well into a smoothie, are delicious grilled or baked in the oven with balsamic vinegar, and add colour and taste to a salad, like this this orange poppy seed dressing with crisp greens and roasted beets.  For something different, try them as chips!

Carrots

An excellent winter veggie, the carrot is a winning choice because it’s very affordable and very nutritious.  Carrots have a very high quantity of carotenoids and antioxidants. To get the most out of its nutrients, you should eat your carrots cooked with a touch of healthy fats, since this helps with the body’s absorption of carotenoids.  Try this carrots and squash ginger soup on a cold day.

Parsnip

Parsnips are similar to carrots but taste sweeter.  With lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, you can eat it just like its orange cousin: raw, chopped up for a salad, roasted in the oven, cooked in a stew, salad or pureed. I would suggest trying this roasted fennel and parsnip soup for something new.

There are a lot of fruits and veggies available this time of year! For more information check out our fruit and vegetable availability guide, you’ll see that eating fruits and veggies in the winder doesn’t have to cost a lot! What’s your favourite winter produce?

Written by Marie-Ève Caplette, Registered Dietitian and Half Your Plate ambassador

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