Here are Simply Souperlicious we love our veg – as you well know by now! If you can manage to eat seasonally, wherever you are, the food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than anything consumed out of season.
There is a multitude of reasons to eat this way, apart from it being more nutritious and whether you can grow them yourself or not. Certain veg can be grown really easily yourself, but others you would need to buy. If you want to grow your own, the following are vegetables that we know you should have success with:
Now there’s a great choice of flavour and nutrition for you! There are also lots more, too many to list, but a special ‘shout out’ for fennel and celeriac, which are some of my personal favourites.
Of course, there are a wealth of readily available veggies that are equally as nutritious, but more difficult to grow in cold or freezing weather – but don’t forget your indoor and outdoor herbs, I find you can keep your rosemary or thyme still growing outside in the winter, but parsley, basil (soft leaves), do not fare well, so grow them indoors.
Vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots and other root vegetables are always a great way to thicken soups or cook them roasted in the oven with herbs or spices. Roasted veg taste so much better and richer than those that are fried, mashed or pureed, unless you add a ton of seasoning to them. Interestingly, the higher starch content helps them thrive really well in winter and have a tendency to be more nutritious from the protection of growing underground. (I never understood why though..) Funnily enough, they also develop more flavour resting in the dark, for sure.
I have to add, there is nothing more valuable for me than onions (or shallots) for flavouring, but also garlic grows well in the colder months. Anyway, here are our Top 5 of the bunch, rated in terms of flavour and usefulness and of course, nutrition
I can just hear children (and some adults) going YUK! Very audibly! They are just not everyone’s preferred taste, but they are full of essential vitamins and minerals, but more importantly, antioxidants, that help to fight off winter illnesses and more serious diseases. They contain cartenoids, Vitamins E and K, phenolic compounds and more minerals that you just can’t count. If you really cannot stomach them plain boiled, part boil and finish by frying in a little olive oil and add chopped walnuts or mix with onions and leftover mash – this is called ‘bubble and squeak’ and a favourite of the British population.
High in essential vitamins, cartenoids, fibre, folate and potassion as well as various antioxidants will again help fight off winter illnesses and reduce oxidative stress in your body. It is also a brilliant substitute for potatoes if you are going low-carb, or for rice, by putting it through a grater. Cauliflower mac ‘n cheese has become popular in restaurants, even if it does put on the pounds, it’s a great winter dish.
I would probably list this at the top of the pile when it comes to nutrients – it’s probably easier to say what is not in it, as the list of benefits is endless in terms of health. It’s a powerhouse, to say the least, and it contains Vitamins A, C and K, but also potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese and copper! I even use it in salads in the summer for a crunch, but winter is when it really shines in soups and other dishes.
4. Sweet potatoes and/or squash
The versatility of these vegetables is almost unique. There are so many ways to make use of and enjoy them. Mashed, roasted, stuffed in a jacket, pureed and also used as a thickener in soups and stews, you simply cannot go wrong with their usefulness. Part-boiled and put in a pie if you want! Contain a multitude of vitamins, but do beware the carb/starch content if you are diabetic or wanting to lose weight.
A very unique vegetable in it’s own right. Beets are good for the blood and circulation, having one of the very best dietary sources of nitrates. They can also assist in controlling blood pressure levels and fighting inflammation. They are definitely all round good guys with a high content of iron, Vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium, so eat your beets!
Just to summarise, look at your veggies in a different way. Think of using them in not just simply in casseroles or soups:
- Roast them with plenty of olive oil, herbs and seasonings
- Stuff them with whole grains for a good helping of fibre
- Make ‘grain-free’ pizza crusts, if grains aren’t for you
- ‘Rice’ cruciferous veggies (cauli and broccoli)
- Make veggie burgers, omelettes or frittatas/quiche
- Saute greens with shallots, olive oil and garlic, it’a so yummy
- Kale – use raw in smoothies with avocado and berries
- Eat in a winter ‘superfood’ salad for a good dose of antioxidants to ward of illnesses
That’s it for now – an insight of what we at Simply Souperlicious will be doing this winter!