For the cheapest and freshest produce try to eat locally (400 miles and less) and seasonally (don’t expect fresh, luscious strawberries in NYC in December.) To help you get started, I have three main pieces of advice:
1. Many vegetables you’ll buy won’t need specific recipes. A great first step in vegetarian cooking is to try to adapt an “everything but the kitchen sink” mentality with your fresh produce. You can make a stew by throwing random vegetables in a pot with a bit of tomato sauce, broth, cinnamon, and cayenne. Toss with pasta or couscous. Make a casserole out of it. GET CREATIVE.
2. The most practical advice I can give for the winter veggie eating is to try every squash you can get your hands on. My whole perspective on cooking changed when I discovered how versatile and delicious squash are. Now I add it in soups or I’ll enjoy them roasted, baked, steamed, or stir-fried.
3. You can roast ANYTHING. Throw a bunch of root veggies together, lightly coat in olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of cinnamon. With very starchy meals, I try to have a salad of some sort (quinoa or lettuce).
- Squash (Stores for 2-4 weeks, filling, and healthy. You can try butternut, acorn, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha)
- Sweet, red, or purple potatoes (High in vitamin A & C)
- Apples (Apples are great in savory dishes)
- Celery (Surprisingly great in everything)
- Red onion (Great bite, flavorful, colorful)
- Carrots (Try white carrots and purple carrots!)
- Romaine lettuce or spinach for starters
- Leafy greens (Great for stir fry, side dish, or as a featured item)
- Cauliflower (The hidden gem of the vegetable world. Stews, casseroles, substitute for noodles)
- Peppers (Green, red, yellow, jalapeno, cubanelle, poblano)
- Mushrooms (Meaty and wonderful with lentils)
- Fresh garlic
- Leeks (Flavorful, versatile, and has a nice bite)
Branch out with kohlrabi, Brussels Sprouts, parsnips, rutabaga, celeriac, turnips and red & golden beets. If you’re not sure what to do with it, roast it.