Oh, I can hear you now! “A little coleslaw, a couple of radishes on salad, and several pumpkin pies, but then what?!” Is this what’s stopping you from growing a fall and winter garden? You need a shot of imagination, and some interesting recipes! That’s why I’m here. Enjoying a fall garden requires thinking outside the box and expanding your culinary repertoire.
Fall and winter crops provide lots of color and deep flavor to your meals. Sometimes it’s just making an old favorite with new varieties to create a different color palette. Or it might mean spending time with a really great new vegetable or variety thinking about how to highlight its unique flavors.
Favorite Winter Meals
Read on to learn how to make a few of my family’s favorite winter vegetable dishes. One is a main course that celebrates my husband’s Scottish roots, two are hot and hearty side dishes, and two are crisp and cooling treats to serve alongside spicy winter stews. Give them a try and let me know how your family likes them.
Colcannon was once a Scots leftover dish which used up potatoes and cabbage from the evening before. Now we dress it up with vibrant color, healthy antioxidants, and creamy, garlicky mashed potatoes.
Scarlet Colcannon Recipe
- ½ cup of half-and-half
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large bunches of Scarlet kale, steamed and chopped
- 2 tablespoon bacon drippings
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Hefty pinch of white pepper
- ¾ cup chopped ham, or cooked, chopped bacon
- 6 gold potatoes (Yukon Gold, Gold Finn) leave skins on
- 4 ounces butter
1. Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
2. Put the butter, half and half, garlic, pepper, and ¼ tsp. salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Cook the potatoes in boiling water until soft, drain, and add to bowl. Mash until creamy.
4. In a buttered large casserole dish stir together all the kale, bacon drippings, ¼ tsp salt and white pepper, and ham or bacon.
5. Top with mashed potatoes. Rough potatoes up with a fork.
6. Baked uncovered 45 minutes until lightly browned.
North Georgia Candy Roaster and Smoked Gruyere Polenta
We first ate this winter comfort dish with pumpkin and plain Gruyere in it. It was lovely but seemed to be missing a “punch”. We updated it by increasing the amount of black pepper and changing to smoked Gruyere which deepens the flavor profile. We also veered away from pumpkin which wasn’t creamy enough.
North Georgia Candy Roaster is a special type of winter squash that is hard to find so we suggest you grow your own. It produces 18 inch long fruit that look like an out-sized pale orange banana with blue tips. Sliced lengthwise and roasted, these lovely squash mash themselves and can be scraped right from the skin into the recipe. This is the creamiest winter squash we’ve discovered and pairs perfectly with the smoky flavor of the Gruyere.
- 4 cups water
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup stone ground corn meal
- 1 ½ cups North Georgia Candy Roaster winter squash, baked and mashed
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ¼ tsp. course ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 cup smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with vegetable oil spray.
3. Combine water, salt, and cornmeal in dish. Stir well.
4. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
5. Remove from oven. Stir in squash, sour cream, pepper, nutmeg, and half of each of the cheeses. Bake 10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven; top with remaining cheese.
7. Place under broiler until browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Colorful Roasted Turnips and Winter Radishes
One of the sweetest dishes you can make in the winter comes from vegetables we tend to associate with peppery flavors. Roasting works magic on turnips and winter radishes. We grow Shawo Fruit Radish (bright lime green) and Chinese Red Meat (green skin/fuchsia meat) radishes along with gold turnips. These varieties are the milder of their types and cook up rich and sweet.
Simply peel and dice 8 cups of these combined vegetables, toss with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until softened. It creates a colorful green, red, and gold dish that will surprise your taste buds.
Raw Winter Radishes with Lemony Hummus
Slice a variety of winter radishes of different colors and put them in a lovely serving dish. Alongside, serve lemony hummus made by blending the following in a food processor.
- 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
- Juice from 2 lemons
- ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- ¼ cup tahini (include some of the oil that doesn’t mix in)
- 5 minced cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon course salt
Are you bored with coleslaw? Try it this way for more complex flavor and a brighter eye-appeal.
- 1 small head green cabbage, cored and sliced very thin
- 1 small head red cabbage, cored and sliced very thin
- ½ package matchstick carrots
- ½ cup coconut, flaked and sweetened
- Marie’s Coleslaw Dressing (or other brand of creamy coleslaw dressing)
Toss everything together in a large bowl with the dressing until coated well. Serve for a refreshing, cooling side dish that pairs well with spicy foods.
Sheryl Campbell is an heirloom gardener, shepherd, and edible flower educator who owns Bouquet Banquet in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Read Sheryl’s previous blogging with Mother Earth Gardener and Grit and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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