Warm Up Your Menus with the Hearty and Healthy Tastes of the Season
January 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
Including freshly picked, local produce in your favorite dishes is easy during the spring and summer months. But it’s actually just as easy to enjoy the delicious tastes, and health benefits, of some of the most flavorful fresh fruits and vegetables during the winter months, as well. The key? Knowing what’s in season, what to buy (and when)—and how to best use the many winter vegetables out there just ripe for the picking.
There are many options for fresh winter vegetables here in the Lowcountry, with each one boasting distinctive earthy flavors and packing in vitamins and minerals. Whether roasting them, braising them, sautéing them or making them the star of a soufflé or salad, here are just a few of our favorite winter veggies:
Kale: Although it can be found year-round, kale (part of the cabbage family) thrives in cold weather. One of the healthiest vegetables, cold-hardy kale is exceptionally nutrient dense—packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Brussels Sprouts: This mild-tasting cold-weather favorite holds up well in freezing temperatures – making it a great addition to many popular winter dishes (or by itself as a favorite side dish.) Brussels sprouts are an excellent source vitamins A, B, C and K, as well as the minerals manganese and potassium—in addition to being a great source of fiber.
Carrots and Broccoli. While both of these can be enjoyed year-round, colder temperatures make these nutrient-dense vegetables even more flavorful—and are the perfect addition to winter stews and other cold-weather recipes.
The following recipes are some of our favorite ways to incorporate winter veggies in a delicious, and healthy, appetizer, soup, salad, side dish and main course. So bring on winter … and bring healthy, fresh-picked seasonal vegetables to your favorite meals all year long!
Winter Green Soup
Serves 4 to 6 | Pictured above, bottom right
3 Tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves fresh Garlic, finely chopped
2 tsps Sea salt, or to taste
2 tsps Thyme, dried or fresh
4 tsps Basil, dried or fresh
5 1/2 cups Vegetable stock
Black pepper, to taste
Cayenne, small pinch
2 cups fresh Broccoli florets, roughly chopped
3 cups fresh Cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
1 small bunch Flat parsley, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh Kale; trimmed and chopped, spine removed
2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed, sliced small
Dollop of sour cream and/or chopped cashews, for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in a 4-quart or larger saucepan or stock pot set at medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in kale, salt, thyme and basil; cook for 4-7 minutes, until kale softens. Add Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Let cook and sizzle for about a minute, adding more olive oil, if needed. Add vegetable stock, until all vegetables are almost completely covered. Set temperature to a higher heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cover pan. Continue to cook and stir, maintaining a simmer, until vegetables are tender, around 15-20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, toss in parsley and keep covered about 5 more minutes. Emulsify the soup, blending well, with an immersion blender or food processor. If using immersion blender, be careful, the soup will be hot. If using food processor, transfer 2-4 cups at a time and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup back to pan, taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Pasta with Leeks, Bacon and Shallots
Serves 4 | Pictured above, top right
2 Shallots, sliced thin
12 oz Rigatoni or Penne pasta
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
4 slices Bacon, cut into small pieces
Black pepper, to taste
Red Pepper, a pinch
Parsley, chopped, for garnish
Nutmeg, a pinch
1 bunch Leeks, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced and rinsed
¾ cup Heavy cream
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water; drain and add a bit of olive oil and toss; set aside. In a large pan over medium heat, cook bacon pieces until crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Place bacon on paper towel to drain. Add garlic, shallots and leeks to pan and sauté, adding salt and pepper. Stir occasionally until leeks are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add heavy cream and cook until thick, about 2-3 minutes, adding Parmesan and nutmeg, stir. Add pasta, bacon and pepper to taste. If a thinner sauce is desired, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water to thin. Garnish with Parmesan and chopped parsley, serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash,
Cranberries & Toasted Pecans
Pictured above left
1 lb. Butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾-inch chunks
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and sliced lengthwise in half
½ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
¼ cup Maple syrup
3 Tbsps Balsamic vinegar
2 tsps Ground cinnamon
½ cup Craisins, plus more for garnish
½ cup Pecan pieces, plus more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place butternut squash chunks and halved Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and toss well to coat. (Placing the Brussel sprouts cut-side down allows for a more even caramelization.) Roast 20-30 minutes, tossing gently 1 or 2 times during roasting time to ensure even caramelization. While the vegetables are cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and cinnamon. During the last five minutes of cooking, sprinkle Craisins and pecans on top of vegetables, so they all cook together. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool, about 5-10 minutes. Gently place roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with maple/balsamic dressing and toss until veggies are lightly dressed. Sprinkle more cranberries and pecans on top. Serve warm or cold.
Italian Jerusalem Artichokes
4 large, Jerusalem artichokes
1 Lemon, halved
1¾ cups Dried bread crumbs
½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp Black pepper
8 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
4 Tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
Cut off artichoke stems, creating flat bottom. Cut top thirds off artichokes. Pull off tough outermost leaves. Trim tips of leaves with kitchen shears. Rub cut parts with lemon halves. Open artichoke leaves with your thumbs to make room for stuffing; set aside. Heat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, both cheeses, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic. Working with one artichoke at a time over bowl, sprinkle one-quarter of bread crumb mixture over artichoke and work it in between leaves. Transfer stuffed artichoke to a baking dish and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil. Pour in boiling water to a depth of 1". Cover the artichokes with foil. Bake until a knife easily slides into the base of an artichoke, about 45 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle tops with remaining cheese, and switch oven to broil. Broil until tops of artichokes are golden brown, about 3 minutes. If desired, drizzle more olive oil after baked.
Popular Winter Vegetables (* are the top ten healthiest!)
Winter squash – acorn, butternut, spaghetti, kabocha, etc.
Wintertime Beet Salad
with Goat Cheese, Avocado, Walnut and Apple
4 oz Goat cheese
2 Tbsps Extra-virgin olive oil
2 Avocados, cut into slices
1/2 cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
Sesame seeds, for garnish
2 Fuji Apples, diced into cubes, peeled if desired
1 bunch med. Beets (red, golden or both) about 3-4
Local Honey Dijon Dressing:
2 Tbsps local Honey
2 Tbsps Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbsps Red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Black pepper
6 Tbsps Vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
Preheat oven to 425°F. Wipe beets clean, trim stems to one-inch. Place on a large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil, then wrap foil around them to form a tight packet. Roast directly on rack in middle of oven until tender, about 1 hour. Test for doneness by piercing the largest beet with a knife. If it enters easily, it's done. Unwrap beets and let sit until cool enough to handle. Use your hands (or a paring knife) to peel skin, then cut into ½-inch cubes. Set aside. Prepare avocado slices and apple cubes; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together constantly honey, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, slowly add oil in a steady stream. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Place greens in a large bowl, drizzle on dressing and toss to combine. Divide greens onto plates, adding beets, goat cheese, avocado, walnuts and apples. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve immediately.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.