Winter Veggies!!! Health Benefits and My Fav Way To Prepare!

BFFs!  There are SO many yummy veggies that are in season during the colder months.  Here are some of my favs and some ideas on how to cook and serve them.

Endive: Endive is so versatile!! You can use it raw as a “cracker” and top it with dips, cheeses, fruits, or meets, or you can cook it in delicious sauces on the stove, or roast it.  There are so many yummy things you can do with Endive.  Endive is enriched with good amount Vitamin A and ß-carotene. Both these compounds are known to have antioxidant properties.  Further, it contains good amounts of many essential B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (B3).  All of which are needed for a healthy metabolism.

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Brussels Sprouts have been given a bad rep for some reason, but they are deliciousThey are absolutely delicious.  You can bake/roast them with a little olive oil and salt, pepper and  balsamic to create a warm, cozy delicious side dish or you can thinly slice them and create a salad, or my FAVORITE: sauté them in garlic and lots of lime juice.  Brussels sprouts are very high in fiber.  They also have Vitamins C, E, and A, as well as the mineral manganese. This fiber/antioxidant treat is a must!

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Collard Greens: These wilt down a bit when cooked and are delicious!! There are so many health benefits to these greens.  They are considered a “super food.”  Collard green’s leaves contain a very good amount of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber that helps control LDL cholesterol levels and offer protection against hemorrhoids, constipation as well as colon cancer diseases.  They are VERY low in calories.  As an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), and manganese, and a good source of vitamin E, collard greens provide us with 4 core conventional antioxidants!!! Collards are also an excellent source of vitamin K and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Here are my fav ways to cook collards:

  • Sautéed Collards1: Collards are SO easy to cook!  Make sure you remove the leaf from the heavy stem… If the stem isn’t too thick you can add it to the skillet.  Sautee collards with ginger, and a little lime with some tomato paste!
  • Sauteed Collards2: I also love collards on their own with a little salt and pepper… if you want to really amp up the flavor add some rice vinegar.

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Kale: Kale is a superstar in the arena of carotenoids and flavonoids, two powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress.  With the addition of high doses of well-known antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, kale is certainly a smart choice in the battle against cellular oxidation.  Kale provides a whopping dose of vitamin K (providing 1327% of the RDA in one cup), which is necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, a protein that strengthens the composition of our bones. Here are my fav ways to eat kale:

  • Kale chips: Place a thin layer of kale in the oven on a baking sheet , drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Bake 15min or until kale is crispy when you shake the pan.
  • Salads: Kale is AMAZING in salads!  If you cut the kale into thin strips and drizzle with an acid like lemon juice the leaves wilt a bit and are not as tough.
  • Saute: Kale is amazing sautéed as well!  You can cook it with ginger, lime juice, whatever flavors you love… the sky is the limit.

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Sweet Potatoes: Abundant in vitamins C and A.  Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and manganese they contain.  I love a good baked sweet potato!  You can also put them in the microwave for about 10mins and they will get as soft as a baked potato.  This veggie also tastes great when sliced into wedges or fries and baked, or when made into noodles with a veggie spiralizer.

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Winter Squash: Squash is so tasty!  It is sweet and has a real depth of flavor that really warms you up in the cold winter months.  I usually just peel, slice and roast my squash in the oven.  Just place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and when it is soft enough to be easily pierced with a fork it is done… SO delish and easy.  You can put the bite-sized pieces in a salad, or mix with quinoa.  There are many different types of squash… they all have their own unique flavors.  My fav are butternut and acorn.  Spaghetti squash is cool because after cooking (don’t dice this, cook it halved) you can take a fork and scrape out “noodles” for a healthy spaghetti alternative.

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Leeks: If you aren’t familiar with leeks, they are really good!  They look almost like a thick green onion, and they have an onion flavor that adds great flavor to soups and other dishes.  Leeks are very high in vitamin A, which supports healthy cell development.  Leeks are also high in vitamin K which is essential for bone health.  I always saute them and use them as a base of a soup or dish.

Cauliflower:  Cauliflower contains a high amount of antioxidants, which are essential for the body’s overall health and help to prevent heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Antioxidants are also essential in destroying free radicals that accelerate the signs of aging.  This veggie is also a great source of essential B vitamins.  This veggie is a staple in my house!  I love to eat it steamed or boiled and blended for side with the flavor and texture of mashed potatoes.  Cauliflower ‘mashed potatoes’ are a guilt-free and delicious way to cut calories and add veggies to any meal.  Just bowl the cauliflower in water for about 6min or until soft, or steam… place in a bowl and puree with an emersion  blender.  You can add salt and pepper, and a little milk if you want it to be creamier.  Cauliflower can also be grated and cooked as “rice”.  I will substitute this veggie for rice and potatoes, you can really cut calories and carbs this way.  When cooking the cauliflower “rice” I saute it! You can add peas or other veggies for a fried rice type meal.abfcal

 

Celeriac/Celery Root: It is a very good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium besides containing vitamins B1, B2 and E. It Helps you lose weight by activating your metabolism.Celeriac is at its best in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring (except in cold climates, where you’ll find it during the summer and early fall).  If you have never had this, try it!  It looks a little intimidating, like a giant root… but once cooked, It makes a delish “mashed potato” like side as well.  It does have a slight celery flavor to it, but has depth that makes it delish!  You can roast this in the oven as well… after it is cleaned and sliced.

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