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3 Winter Foods & Recipes You Need to Try

Living in the South, you know what it’s like to abide by the seasons when it comes to what’s for dinner. Here’s how to add some winter staples to your lineup!

Pomegranates

Hello, superfood! The pomegranate we’ve come to know in grocery stores – a red ball-shaded berry with thick skin – is actually the fury of a deciduous shrub. “Deciduous” means to fall off at maturity. Once harvested, the vibrant fruit is used for its seeds inside, which admittedly, can be tricky to get to. Don’t give up – those seeds and juices inside are worth the flavor and antioxidant reward. Opinions vary on how to access the slightly sweet, slightly tart seeds inside, so trial and error (and a little YouTube) may be your best option. We vote for scoring the sides to allow for an easy break apart action that may get a little messy. Again, worth it. Disregard the thin, cream-colored membranes holding the seed clusters in place, and enjoy the seeds atop salads, in smoothies, in rice dishes, cocktails and more. 

Herbed Rice with Pomegranates

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ⅓ cup nuts of choice (pistachios, almonds, or walnuts preferred)
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • 1 table spoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chives sprigs to garnish

Directions:

Once cooked rice has cooled slightly, add all ingredients except for the chives into a serving bowl and toss to combine. Add a few thin chive sprigs right on top for color

Fennel

A bulbous vegetable found in many Mediterranean dishes, fennel is white and green, slightly resembling celery with feathery fronds. Interestingly, it is a spice, an herb and a vegetable all in one with the seeds, fronds and base all usable respectively. The flavor is often associated with licorice due its anise flavoring – though many people who don’t’ enjoy black licorice still enjoy fennel, especially when cooked. That said, with its crunchy texture, it’s ideal for salads and slaws. 

Sour Fennel Apple Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 moderately-spicy chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients together in a serving bowl, tossing a few times to evenly distribute. Taste and season with salt and pepper accordingly. 

Broccolini 

The deliciously bitter cousin of broccoli is a staple in Italian and Asian kitchens, though less known and used in the States. With longer stems and smaller florets than broccoli, it is often called “baby broccoli.” Interestingly, broccolini was cultivated in Japan by way of plant breeding in 1993. Packed with the typical power punch of green vegetables, it can be eaten in its entirety – leaves, stems, florets and all. 

Spicy, Garlic Broccolini

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches broccolini
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Add the oil to the pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the broccolini to the pan and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
  3. Saute for about 4-5 minutes
  4. Add in the garlic and finish sauteeing for another 3 minutes until vibrant green but slightly charred

This article was originally published in Southern Flavor Magazine