Vegetables are all the rage right now–you’d think we’re talking talking about new Chanel lipstick colors . The recent New York Magazine article,Vegetables are the New Meat, declared veggies fashionable and noted all the big names like Batali and Jean-Georges who are jumping on the vegetable wagon. This is great news, since fresh, colorful vegetables are the number one foods missing in modern diets. New York is known for its fleeting fads, but whether they’re en vogue or not, vegetables will remain one of the healthiest foods in the world, and a delicious way to fight everything from the common cold to wrinkles—(hint: all the colorful vegetables are high in anti-aging antioxidants.)
The best news? You don’t have to break the bank eating out.
While fancy restaurants are dissolving the long-held belief that vegetables are boring with, as New York Magazine puts it, “an unfettered reliance on butter, cheese, crispy bread crumbs, and the deep-fryer,” read on to discover a few simple ways to make them deliciously yours without all the extras.
Here, the top 5 vegetables to eat this winter:
Butternut Squash. The bright orange color signifies a high level of carotenoids, which protect heart health, and you also get half the recommended daily dose of the antioxidant vitamin C. Because it’s packed with antioxidants, butternut squash is a top anti-inflammatory food that prevents all degenerative illnesses and packs huge anti-aging benefits. Cook the squash on a baking sheet for about an hour or peel and cut it into chunks to steam and and purée for soup. Also, try sweet potatoes—same benefits and just as easy.
Beets. Root vegetables are a cold–weather staple known for their grounding benefits, and are one of the easiest foods to prepare—just quarter them and roast with olive oil. They’ll load you up on folate and vitamin C—plus curb your sweet craving (beets are one of the sweetest vegetables).
Avocado. Technically a fruit, it’s one of the few raw winter foods, making it one of the quickest to prepare (who doesn’t love guacamole?). Known as a healthy fat to complete a balanced meal, avocados are also the perfect alternative to bananas for potassium.
Radishes. A cleansing and digestive aid, white vegetables like radishes are fat-dissolvers that have a sudsing effect in our stomachs, scrubing out toxins. Pickling radishes adds to their digestive properties and is a delicious, salty treat. Just slice about six radishes and put them in jar with 1/2 cup umeboshi vinegar and 1 cup filtered water. Cover with cheese cloth, let sit at room temperature for 24 hours and then refrigerate. Rinse and enjoy.
Kale. A hearty leafy green, kale is incredibly versatile and is a great addition to a soup, stew or pasta. Also one of the most nutrient-dense foods, loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, kale is a top beauty food, mood-enhancer and immunity-booster. All leafy greens will enliven a meal and lift your mood. Also try bok choy, cabbage, and collards.
Recipe: Scarlet Roasted Vegetables
A pretty dish, perfect for Thanksgiving with even more winter vegetables like celery, fennel and parsnips. Inspired by Alicia Silverstone’s recipe in the Kind Diet Cookbook. Serves 4-6.
- 6 Shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 4 medium beets, quartered
- 2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
- 1 fennel bulb, thickly sliced
- 2 cups organic butternut squash, chunked
- 4 celery stalks, cut in 1″ pieces
- 8 dried apricots, chopped
- 3-4 dried bay leaves
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 3 teaspoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2-3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish.
Combine vegetables, bay leaves, pecans, apricots, tamari, lemon zest and oil in a bowl. Coat the vegetables well. Transfer the vegetables to baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and roast for 50 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Remove aluminum and roast for 15 more minutes to brown. Remove from oven and toss with lemon juice, garnishing with the parsley.