Seasonal Recipe Round Up: November – December
Using the freshest seasonal fruit and veg to cook meals is a sure-fire way to enjoy the best flavours winter has to offer. From juicy cranberries and oranges to nutty chestnuts and leafy sprouts, it’s the season of spiced fruits and stewed veggies.
Not only does fresh produce taste better, it’s also good for your health – the fresher it is, the richer in all those immune-system boosting vitamins and minerals it is (perfect for fighting off pesky winter bugs!).
We’ve rounded up a tasty collection of winter-warming recipes for you, inspired by fresh, seasonal ingredients.
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With their sweet, earthy flavour, carrots are a handy accompaniment to a variety of meals. While we can’t claim they’ll give you the fabled night vision they’re associated with, they are genuinely proven to be good for the health of your eyes! High in potassium and a good source of fibre, they’re a nutritious addition to any wintery meal.
Our Carrot, Orange and Thyme soup uses a combination of classic flavours to create a homely bowl of comfort. With a rich, blended base of carrot and onions, our recipe adds a zesty glug of orange juice to freshen things up a bit.
To make sure your soup is as rich and smooth as possible, we’d recommend using a hand blender – they’re so quick at blitzing ingredients together.
Carrots are a hardy veg, which means they can withstand being cooked in home-baked pies or hot stews without going soggy or losing their flavour. Combined with onions, gravy and a topping of potatoes, they’re a staple ingredient in our Cottage Pie recipe. For added veg, you can always plate it up with some green beans or beetroot – we like to portion it up and serve it as is!
While carrots are chopped finely when they’re mixed with a mince cottage pie filling, we keep them thick and chunky in our Instant Pot Beef Stew. To get the best flavour and texture from an Instant Pot, a top tip is to make sure the carrots, potatoes and meat chunks are all even in size. This stops larger bits from cooking slower than other ingredients, and potentially spoiling the dish.
This one’s a winter recipe go-to – make sure you serve it with a crusty bread roll to mop up any leftovers!
Cabbage, Leeks and Swede
Winter is all about eating earthy veggies that’ll sustain you through the cold weather. Cabbage and leeks, while not the most popular choices, are high fibre, low fat superfoods. Using low calorie cream cheese, we’ve made them even tastier in our slimming friendly Creamed Cabbage and Leeks recipe.
It’s never too soon to plan your show-stopping Christmas spread, and you can always serve this creamy side dish as an alternative to sprouts.
If you’d prefer a veggie-filled side dish with a cheesy, herby, breadcrumb crust, you could always make our wintery Layered Potato and Swede Gratin. We’ve combined mashed potato with seasonal swede – it’s a buttery, rich veg that mashes up really nicely. Not only does it taste delicious, it’s also really high in vitamin C – so it’s a good veggie to make the most of if you’re under the weather.
It’s also a little more fun to look at than its potato counterpart – the vibrant, orange flesh adds an appetising pop of colour to your dinner plate!
Cranberries and Oranges
Exciting flavours like the tart sweetness of cranberries and the zestiness of oranges give us a much-needed boost when it’s cold out. Harvested in early November, the cranberries from your local greengrocer or supermarket will be fresher than ever over the next couple of months. So they’ll be ripe and ready for when it’s time to put the Christmas Turkey in the oven (or slow cooker)!
We love how well oranges and cranberries blend in our Cranberry and Pomegranate Sauce. Fresh cranberries need a little more maintenance than if you use frozen, but they’re worth the effort! Keep an eye out for the cranberries ‘popping’ – it may take around five minutes before they’re tender and good to serve.
Both cranberries and oranges are linked to improved immune function, so they’re perfect superfruits to combat winter bugs. It’s never too early to enjoy a good mince pie. Our Mini Spiced Orange Mince Pie Crumbles use the warming flavours of spiced orange to put a zesty twist on a Christmas classic. Bake them in the oven until the cinnamon crumble mix is golden on top.
Why not go full festive and nibble on these with a spiced hot beverage (Mulled Wine would wash them down nicely – don’t mind if we do!).
We’d recommend using a non-stick muffin tray so that all 16 of your home-baked mince pies are nice and even in size.
The more Jack Frost nips at your nose, the more we’re well into the season of roasting chestnuts. As a seasonal ingredient, you can work chestnuts into stuffing, stews or soups for a nutty boost of vitamins and minerals. You don’t have to enjoy them roasted on an open fire – they’re just as delicious oven-baked on their own or as part of a festive recipe, like our Christmas-y Chestnut Roast.
Packed with filling mushrooms and nutritious veggies, it’s the perfect alternative to turkey for any vegetarians in your household. If you don’t want to use fresh, you can save yourself some time with ready-cooked chestnuts – they’re already cooked, peeled and sealed with flavour.
To keep your nut roast nice and firm, bake it until it’s golden brown in an appropriately sized loaf tin like the one below.
Who doesn’t love a bit of stuffing? We’ve bundled herby pork, sage, smoked bacon, chestnuts and tangy cranberries together to create these tasty, festive Chestnut Stuffing balls. They’re not just for Christmas either! These can add a sweet, nutty bite to your roast dinners throughout the year.
Love them or hate them, greeny, leafy Brussels sprouts are a filling, fibrous winter boost.
While they’re not the most popular superfood out there, they’re also packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and super low in calories. You can enjoy the health benefits of sprouts without tasting an intense sprouty flavour if you let them bubble away in a stew or spicy dish, like our leftovers-inspired Turkey Curry.
This recipe is a great opportunity to use up stray veggies, sprouts and leftover turkey – it’s packed with slimming friendly flavour and you’ll be reducing food waste too! If the original sauce is a little too mild on a taste test, add chilli flakes to the creamy mixture for a kick of spice.
Sprouts might have a reputation for being boiled and boring, but roasting brings out so much more flavour. We love them combined with the smoky sweetness of balsamic vinegar in our Balsamic Roasted Sprouts recipe. Bake them in the oven until they’re tender and glossy with the balsamic glaze. Serve them as a leafy, crunchy side dish alongside a variety of meals and dinners. You might even win over some haters!
Nothing warms your cockles like fresh ingredients in warming winter lunches and dinners. If you’re on the lookout for more homely recipe inspiration, our new cookbook Comfort Food features over 100 dishes you can make for the whole family! You can pre-order your copy here.
Get started with seasonal cooking
Hopefully you’re now feeling a lot more inspired to make the most of this season’s fresh fruit and veg!
How will you be making the most out of November and December’s fresh produce? Tell us over on our Facebook Group, where there are almost 1 million members sharing support and inspiration.