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Hello, Melissa here! As the weather gets colder and the days shorter, this in-between period as autumn merges into winter is a time for warming soups, comforting bowls of pasta, warm hearty salads and one-pan dinners. I love these kinds of mood-boosting foods that put seasonal vegetables at the front and centre.
What are seasonal vegeatables?
Eating the seasons can feel daunting at first. Eating seasonally simply means eating fruit and vegetables that are grown locally to you and with the seasons. Big supermarkets have made it easy for us to buy foods like strawberries all year round from faraway places, but not only do they lack flavour, the cost this has on our UK farmers, the planet and our wallets is huge.
Don’t worry though, you don’t have to live next to a farmer’s market or a farm to eat seasonally. I’ve included a seasonal calendar in my new book, Eat Green, with lots of adaptable recipes so you can throw in whatever’s in season near you. Or scroll down for a list of seasonal vegetables below and my favourite recipes to make the most of them.
November Seasonal Food
Look out for a bumper crop of squash, pumpkin, swede, carrots and turnips. Also green leaves, like kale, cavolo nero and chard, as well as lots of wild mushrooms, leeks and broccoli. This recipe for Ginger Quinoa Broccoli Sesame Soup is my all-time soup season fave.
Fruits grown in the UK are mainly orchard fruits so look out for apples and pears. It’s also chestnut season so get yourself a bunch of them and roast them for Christmassy vibes.
December Seasonal Food
December is very similar to November although squash is phasing out and Brussels sprouts and beetroots are in and they’re tasting delicious.
Try these winter recipes celebrating seasonal vegetables:
Squash & pumpkins
I can’t get enough of the enormous variety of squash out right now, and I’m happy to see a greater variety in supermarkets too. You don’t have to limit yourself to butternut, look out for onion squash or amazing spaghetti squash, which works perfectly with your favourite pasta sauce and meatballs like I’ve done here.
Kale & winter greens
Winter greens grow abundantly in the UK. Leaves like kale, chard and cavolo nero are a nice change from the usual spinach, but that would work well in these recipes too. Whatever you have in the fridge, throw greens into my Kale & Bean Soup recipe or this Pea, Kale & Any Herb Soup recipe.
This Golden Ginger Cauliflower Soup is about championing the whole cauliflower in all its glory. Chuck it into your pot along with turmeric, ginger and some beans to make a creamy hearty base, then fry up the extra leaves for no waste!
There’s an incredible variety of mushrooms out at the moment – so many extraordinary types. Get hold of a variety if you can, then chuck them into this Mushroom Quinoa Stir-Fry recipe or my Mushroom Pilaf Mash Up, which is kind of a mix between a risotto and a biryani.
Orchard fruit, including apples and pears, are really at their best right now. Did you know there are thousands of varieties of UK-grown apples but supermarkets tend to only sell a select few. If you can, head out to your local farmer’s market to see what they’ve got – you’ll be amazed by the spectrum of flavour and texture.
These chocolate & pistachio dipped apples are SO easy and hit the spot when you need something a little sweet after a meal or for a snack.
For more Winter warming recipes, head to my website or be one of the first to get your hands on my new book Eat Green: Delicious Flexitarian recipes for Planet Friendly eating by pre-ordering it now.
Keep up to date with me on instagram @melissa.hemsley
Stay warm! Melissa x