Winter has it’s perks – snow, Christmas markets and cozy woolen jumpers – but it also means less daylight, less fresh fruit and vegetables and a need for hearty but healthy meals.
It’s tricky to find the balance sometimes. While in summer a light salad seems a perfect lunch, in winter you tend to want something warm and rich. And on top of that, you need to try and include extra vitamins in some of your food to make up for the fresh fruit you may be missing out on now that you can’t just get berries in the garden or a fresh apple.
We picked five recipes which you will LOVE and which will make you look forward to winter.
Do you have a favourite winter recipe you would like to share? Comment below!
To start with, here is a great recipe for a salad you can easily take to work (practical) which avoids summery tomatoes (seasonal) and instead uses carrots (available throughout winter). And it is super easy.
Ribbon carrot salad
Pick your carrots – as many as you think you will eat, and peel them. Not just the outside, but peel the entire carrot lengthwise into ribbons. Now chop some coriandar to add some spice and sprinkle with sesame seeds for texture. That’s the salad part done. (Obviously season with salt and pepper. For the vinegrette, mix three tablespoons of vinegar (white or rice) with one tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and a spoon of honey. You can add garlic, though for a lunch it’s sometimes better to leave it out.
Lentil one pot
Winter calls for a good stew or chunky soup. This is a bit of both and it’s completely custamisable. You can let it simmer in a slow cooker or like a normal soup and it is packed with some wonderful things.
Being a one pot, all you need to do it put all the ingredients in, in order of cooking time, leaving the shortest cooking time for last.
Start with lentils of course. I go for brown or green, or mix two kinds, but any lentils in your cupboard will do. Then add what you like. My favourites as butternut squash or sweet potato, carrots, potatos, very thinly chopped celery, and sometimes chickpeas. Put all this in a saucepan (or slow cooker) with broth (vegetable for a veggie version, beef if you want a meaty version), herbes to provence and some onions and garlic. Let it cook and give it time. Then at the end, add lemon juice for a kick and pick your vitamin C! I always add parsley on the plate, but you can add kale or spinach towards the end of the cooking time. And finally, add a bit of parmesan to make it creamy. If you take it to work, add the parmesan before reheating!
Spicy peanut stew
A while ago I discovered an African Inspired Peanut Stew on a website called thegirlonbloor. I fell in love with the recipe and adapted it a little. Now I make a big batch in autumn with extra spice, freeze it in portions and get them out when I am stressed or need a spicy kick.
The trick is to add some Cayenne. If you have just a little of it, it clears a stuffy nose and is great for an immune system boost.
Since I freeze it, I make a big batch, so the ingredients are for about 6 portions.
Simple cut and dice two yellow onions, two sweet potatotes, 1 red pepper and a quarter of a cup of peanuts. Cook all this with a spoonfull of coconut oil, a bit of garlic, curry power, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, two cups of vegetable broth, 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter and a can of tomatoes.
Once cooked, add a can of chickpeas, 2 cups of chopped spinach, coriander (though I add some fresh on top at the last minute as well).
Then eat with rice or with bread to dip, or even couscous. It is deliscious and will help your immune system.
Butternut Squash soup
Butternut squash makes for the ultimate winter soup. It’s creamy and tasty and very filling.
Nigel Slater has one of the best and easiest recipes.
Obviously the simple solution is just to peel and chop the squash, heat oil in a pan and roast the squash, then blend with a bit of cream.
But if you want to try to use the skin as well, Nigel Slater has a solution I quite like. You keep the long strips of the skin and place them on a roasting tray with a bit of olice oil, rosemary and coo in the over for 20 minutes on low heat, then serve with the soup.
Nothing says comfort food more than a warm dessert on a cold winter afternoon.
And bakes apples are amazing for this. Lakeland even had a microwave apple cooker for a while and you may be able to find a version of it online. It makes it quick and easy to bake apples and you can experiment as much as you like!
Apples are a fruit, after all, so don’t be shy.
Core the apple, then try different trimmings: nuts, chocolate, jam, marzipan, all of the above.
The be a little more adventurous: can you soak it in a bit of wine? Add spices such as cinnamon? Add a different fruit at the core – the options are endless!