winter-recipes

It can be hard to stay healthy at this time of year, the cold weather can make stodgy food more appealing and special offers in all the supermarkets for unhealthy ‘winter comfort foods’ don’t help. However, you can still get that warm, comforting satisfaction from your food without compromising on health. There are some amazing winter foods in season at this time of year, so here are some recipes and inspiration for how to incorporate these into your healthy winter diet.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels-Sprouts

Hated by some, these little green beauties are vastly underrated in culinary and health terms and are sadly only eaten on Christmas day by many of us. They are however versatile and work well in salads, stir-fries and casseroles as well as the usual side dish. My favourite way to eat them is by roasting them, which changes the flavour and texture quite a bit, so anyone that doesn’t like them boiled may be surprised.

Sprouts are a member of the Brassica family, along with cabbage and broccoli. Vegetables in this family are cleansing to the body, as they contain compounds that stimulate detoxification pathways in the liver. They are also a source of natural plant compounds that protect us against disease. Brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, potassium and fibre.

TIP

When choosing sprouts they should be firm and compact and should not have a strong smell – when they do this means they are past their best. Those sold on the stalk, should stay fresh for longer. Cutting crosses in the bases of sprouts is common practice, but is actually unnecessary, so don’t waste your time doing this!

Roast-Brussels-Sprouts-with-Chestnuts

Roast Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 500g Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 100g vacuum packed chestnuts
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Simply put the sprouts, oil and seasoning in a roasting dish, mix and roast at 200°C for 35 mins, adding the chestnuts and lemon zest halfway through and tossing again thoroughly.

FACT:

Whether or not you like sprouts, broccoli and cabbage is partly genetic. There is a gene that makes some people dislike the bitter chemical PTC in these foods and this gene has been traced back to Neanderthals!

FACT:

Did you know that children actually have an inbuilt fear of new foods called ‘neophobia’? It is an evolutionary mechanism to protect us from being poisoned. The good news is that it can be overcome by repeatedly tasting a food, it takes an average of 7 times. So the message with sprouts and other veg is perseverance!

Cranberries

Cranberries

Cranberries are in the same family as the other berries and pack the same nutritional punch, being a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. This means they are great for protecting the skin and body against free-radical damage, disease and ageing. Their high vitamin C content also means they are good for supporting the immune system to help ward off winter colds. Cranberries are also a good source of the mineral manganese, needed for healthy bones, blood sugar regulation and brain function.

Cranberries are well known for their ability help treat and prevent urinary tract infections, which they do by virtue of the proanthocyadins they contain. These natural plant compounds prevent bacteria from attaching to the wall of the bladder, reducing their ability to cause an infection.

Cranberries work really well in salads and a few dried cranberries add a delicious sweetness to couscous and quinoa dishes. They also work well in baking, or on your porridge or muesli.

TIP

Watch out for cranberry juice drinks as most are loaded with sugar to combat the natural tartness of the berries. Instead opt for fresh cranberries if you can find them, or dried cranberries, which should be eaten in small servings due to their high content of natural fruit sugars.

Sweet Spiced Quinoa Porridge

Serves One

  • 40g quinoa
  • A tiny pinch of pink salt
  • 200ml coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • A grating of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp pistachio nuts or flaked almonds
  1. Put everything in a pan except the nuts and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring continuously
  2. Top with the nuts and a drizzle of honey if liked

Sweet-Spiced-Quinoa-Porridge

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is an amazingly versatile vegetable that can be used for everything from cauliflower rice to purée and pizza bases. Roasting cauliflower also really brings out its flavour, simply drizzle with olive oil, season and add a grating of nutmeg or some garlic and lemon and roast for 25-30 minutes.

Cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K and several B vitamins. It is low in fat, calories and carbohydrate, so can bring the energy content of a meal down when you substitute it for rice or mash potatoes. Cauliflower is another brassica, containing those beneficial protective compounds.

FACT:

As well as the usual white variety, cauliflower also comes in green, orange and purple! Purple cauli is a rich source of protective antioxidants also present in berries and red wine.

Cauliflower-pizza

Cauliflower Pizza Recipe

Makes one pizza

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g ground almonds
  • Salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • ½ tin of tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Toppings

  • Black olives
  • Sun blush tomatoes
  • Spinach, wilted
  • Vegan pesto (pine nuts, basil, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt)

Optional:

  • buffalo burrata

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan
  2. Remove the leaves and stalk of the cauliflower, cut into chunks and blitz in a blender until it resembles a course flour.
  3. Mix with the other ingredients to form a wet sticky dough.
  4. Line a baking tray with parchment and grease with oil, transfer the mixture to the tray and shape into a pizza base shape using a spoon and your hands. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown
  5. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce by chopping the garlic clove, sautéing in a little oil for a couple of minutes until soft, adding the tomatoes, and some seasoning and leaving to simmer and reduce for 15-20 minutes.
  6. When the base is cooked, spread the tomato sauce on and then arrange the olives, sun blush tomatoes and wilted spinach on top of this. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile blitz the pesto ingredients in a hand blender, then remove the pizza from the oven and drizzle with the pesto, and torn burrata if using it.

Celeriac

Celeriac

Not the prettiest looking vegetable, but it has inner beauty! Celeriac is a relative of celery and a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium and phosphorous. Like cauliflower, it can also be substituted for potatoes to make lower calorie and more nutrient rich mash and fries, it can even be cut into thin slices and used in place of pasta in a veggie lasagne. Celeriac fries are delicious and go well with fish, simply cut into thin strips and roast in olive oil with thyme, honey and seasoning.

TIP

Choose medium sized, firm celeriac and allow for about 25% wastage by the time you have peeled it. Stored in a plastic bag in the fridge they will keep for two or three weeks, but like all vegetables the fresher you eat them, the higher their nutrient content will be.

Parsnip and Celeriac Soup

Serves 2

  • 200g celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 150g parsnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml vegetable bouillon
  • Optional garnish: parsley, walnuts
  1. Toss the parsnips and celeriac in the olive oil, season and roast in the oven at 200°C until soft, around 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a pan along with the vegetable stock and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Top with chopped parsley and toasted walnuts

Parsnip-and-Celeriac-Soup

 

Best of the Rest in Season Now

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Rich in antioxidants and super high in nutrients. For a fast supper, stir-fry with garlic, chilli, olive oil and 1 or 2 finely chopped anchovies (omit if vegetarian) and stir through wholemeal pasta. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add grated Parmesan if liked.

Chicory

Great for digestion and a good source of vitamins A and K and calcium. Make a winter salad with chicory leaves, toasted walnuts, sliced pear, pecorino shavings and a honey and mustard dressing.

Parsnips

A good source of vitamin C, fibre, folate and potassium. Try them in the soup recipe above or in a medley of roasted roots as a filling, hearty side.

Blood Oranges

Catch them while you can, these beauties are in season for a very short time right about now. Their red colour is indicative of beneficial antioxidants called anthocyanins. Try some freshly squeezed with your weekend breakfast.

Beauty & Go drinks contain plenty of great winter fruits and vegetables to feed your skin, including berries and pomegranate. Include one to three per day as part of your winter health and beauty regime.