Seasonal Winter Veggies
It’s here. Winter is here. For all the skeptics out there who moan about winter – stop being so skeptical! Winter is a wonderful time of some delicious seasonal vegetables, which often take pride of place on our Christmas dinner table. Have you had a look at the mouth-watering Drop Chef Christmas menu yet? It is Christmas dinner, without the hassle.
Cauliflower, aka white broccoli in my mind, is a member of the Brassica family along with Brussel sprouts, broccoli, kale and cabbage. Cauliflower, thanks to advances in technology, transport and agriculture, is available year round but is at its best from mid-December through to April.
A new trend with cauliflower has been “Cauliflower Rice” which is richer in vitamins and lower in carbs than traditional rice. With a lot of potential to go wrong, a good friend of mine, Dietitian Emer O’Driscoll, has perfected the recipe. Say goodbye to soggy cauliflower rice –
“This was so simple – remove stalk, roughly chop, blitz in food processor, spread thinly on baking tray, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle cumin salt pepper and bake in oven at 200 degrees for 12mins ? topped with chicken veg and cashew nuts in sesame oil, corn flour and chicken stock.”
In addition to the white cauliflower, orange, green and purple types are now available.
Brussel Sprouts, controversial as they may be, are a non-negotiable part of many Christmas dinners! Sprouts are a good source of fibre and vitamins, especially Vitamin C and folic acid, which play a role in keeping our immune system in check this time of the year.
Sprouts, with their distinctive love or hate flavour, are in season from August right through to March but we typically eat them in abundance around the festive period. Why not try something different by stir-frying these “mini cabbages” with sliced onion, ginger and almonds and serving on a bed of noodles dressed with sesame oil.
Did you know?
Brussel Sprouts are traditionally served with chestnuts at Christmas and have an affinity for other nuts, especially sweet nuts such as almonds.
Beetroot is a vegetable that I only cooked with for the first time during the week when it arrived in my Drop Chef box as part of my weekly fish dish. Roasted whole, blended into soup or juiced for a veggie hit – beetroot is low in fat and packed with vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants.
A vegetable typically associated with the second half of the year, now is the perfect time to get experimenting in the kitchen – you can’t beet it!
Rub some lemon juice over you hands to help remove beetroot stains after preparation and cooking.
Remember, including vegetables in your diet is important for good health. Healthy eating guidelines for Ireland suggest that we should be eating 5-7 portions of fruit/vegetables every day. While vegetables are seasonal, advances in growing, processing, shipment and preserving techniques means that it is possible to get your hands on most vegetables all year round.
Eat the Rainbow: Lots of variety = Lots of colour = Lots of nutrients
To keep up to date with what is in season, check out Bord Bia’s nifty calendar of seasonal availability for fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Amy Meegan, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, UCD
Facebook: The Baking Nutritionist
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