Delicious and warming winter foods

winter produce provides plenty of natural sweetness and hearty richness to satisfy everyone.

by Stan Kalson — 

With the arrival of winter, the colder mornings and shorter days create thoughts of staying under the blanket longer, a desire for more warming foods and bowls of hot soup — perennial favorites that heat the body and fire up the mind. Suddenly, you are in the mood to cook those wonderful recipes that you never prepare during the hot summer months.

Fortunately, winter produce provides plenty of natural sweetness and hearty richness to satisfy everyone. Apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are packed with enough natural sugar and flavor to perk up salads, soups, side dishes and even desserts.

The late fall and winter vegetables and fruits are now plentiful at local farmers markets. Look for kale, squash, bok choy, root vegetables, avocados, winter lettuces, apples and a whole lot more that can be transformed into delicious, warming recipes.

Here are a few nutrition-filled winter season recipes that are easy and quick to prepare:

Leek-Squash Soup


  • pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • leeks, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 ounce butter
  • 3 pints water
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • Vegetable broth powder, to taste


Melt butter, add all vegetables and sauté for a few minutes. Be careful not to let them burn. Add water and bring to boil. Season the mixture and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Place some of the liquid and most of the vegetables into a blender and coarse blend. Return to pot. Mix the flour with a small amount of soup liquid and then add to pot. Simmer for a short time and serve hot.

Borscht with Mashed Potatoes


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 cup peeled beets, shredded or finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes


Combine water with raw vegetables and bring to a boil. Season with salt, cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender. In a blender, coarse blend some of the vegetables with some of the cooking liquid and return to the pot. Add lemon juice. Simmer. Serve hot with spoonfuls of seasoned mashed potatoes dropped into soup.

Banana Squash and Greens Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups banana squash, peeled and cut in small pieces
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and/or vegetable broth powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups greens (spinach, kale, or mustard, etc.), chopped


Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onion, banana squash and ginger for several minutes to soften. Add liquid and seasonings and bring to a boil. When squash is soft, remove with slotted spoon and place in a blender with some of the soup liquid. Blend to a thick consistency and return mixture to pot. Generously sprinkle the uncooked chopped greens into the bowls of piping hot soup. For added fat and flavor, place a pat of butter or sprinkle some Parmesan cheese into soup.

Apple and Pear Dessert


  • 3 pounds organic sweet and/or tart apples
  • 1 pound organic pears
  • 1 small organic lemon, juiced
  • Small piece lemon rind, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons black cherry concentrate
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons ground almonds, optional


Place juice of one lemon and small piece of finely chopped rind and water in pan. Peel and core apples and pears; slice in small pieces. Mix apples, pears, juice, rind and water in pan as you stir and cook at medium-to-high heat. When mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat. Add black cherry concentrate, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and raisins while stirring mixture. Continue cooking at low heat (approximately 15 to 20 minutes) until mixture is soft enough to mash with potato masher. Cover mixture and let cool on stove top. Sprinkle ground almonds over mixture and serve warm with plain goat yogurt, frozen yogurt, coconut milk ice cream or over your favorite cake.


Stan Kalson, B.A., is the founder and director of the International Holistic Center, Inc., and has been active in the holistic community for 32 years. 602-266-1160.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number , December 2008/January 2009.

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