Markets are still full of fresh produce for fall! Brassicas and root vegetables are everywhere and there is so much to be made. Find out what fruits and vegetables are in season in December and what you can cook with them.
It’s holiday time, and everyone is focused on planning meals for gatherings of friends and family. So why not create some wonderful dishes using seasonal produce? There are plenty of nutritious and comforting options at the December markets.
If you are looking for rich flavors and cozy comfort food, there are tons of interesting root vegetables available this month. Standard but tasty offerings like sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots are plentiful. But there are also some interesting options you may not have tried before: sunchokes, celery root, fennel, and rutabagas are at their freshest during the cold months.
December is also a great time to pick up nutritious cruciferous vegetables like kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. You can also find romanesco this time of year. The spiral points of this cauliflower-like vegetable are natural representations of the Fibonacci sequence. But more importantly, it tastes delicious and is full of vitamin K, folate, and iron for a healthy winter diet.
This is also the time of year when the last of the fall fruits are around and winter citrus is just starting to dominate the stores. Pick up a few more persimmons and pomegranates to dress up your holiday salads and dessert, before stocking up on grapefruits, mandarins, and lemons. Add all those vitamin C rich flavors to your winter desserts and count them as healthy treats to get you ready for the coldest months.
A perennial favorite at our house, broccoli is at its best during the fall and winter. As a high fiber and low-carb vegetable, it is one of those ones that is always great to have in the house for a quick side dish or to add to a hearty casserole for a nutrient-rich one-pan bake.
YUMMY ADDICTION BROCCOLI RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME BROCCOLI RECIPES:
- Garlic Parmesan Roasted Broccoli by Easy Family Recipes
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup by My Vegan Minimalist
- No Mayo Broccoli Salad by Creme de la Crumb
The mini cabbage look-a-likes that everyone loves to hate, Brussels sprouts are delicious if prepared properly. Roast them with sweet glaze or fry them with some bacon bits to be converted to loving this healthy cruciferous vegetable that is packed with nutrients.
YUMMY ADDICTION BRUSSELS SPROUTS RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME BRUSSELS SPROUTS RECIPES:
- Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts by Well Plated
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad by Two Peas & Their Pod
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin by The Chunky Chef
If you think cabbage is boring in anything but coleslaw, check again. Like all the other brassicas, it is low-carb and nutrient-rich which makes it great to pair with rich holiday meals. For a different take try it braised or roasted in big wedges with a lot of spices and sauce.
YUMMY ADDICTION CABBAGE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME CABBAGE RECIPES:
- Cabbage Soup by Carlsbad Cravings
- No Mayo Healthy Coleslaw by Ambitious Kitchen
- Garlic Butter Cabbage Noodles by Butter For All
In recent years, cauliflower has become increasingly popular as a gluten-free and low carb replacement for pasta, rice, and potatoes. But it has a lot more to offer. Full of nutrients, cauliflower can be cut into steaks and grilled with a tasty marinade or roasted whole with lots of cheese for a vegetarian main dish.
Check out my spicy Thai coconut cauliflower soup which is really delicious, creamy, and healthy. It’s all made in one pot and is ready in just 30 minutes!
MORE AWESOME CAULIFLOWER RECIPES:
- Garlic Butter Mashed Cauliflower by Healthy Fitness Meals
- Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Spend with Pennies
- Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup by Cookie and Kate
This knobby, odd-looking root is so much more flavorful that you would ever expect. Also known as celeriac, celery root is a starchy vegetable with all the flavor of celery and none of the strings. It is amazing in soups and stews, but also when roasted with lots of spice.
Unfortunately, I still don’t have any celery root recipes on the blog but I am definitely fixing that in the nearest future. Other food bloggers are already enjoying this root vegetable, though, so check their recipes out!
MORE AWESOME CELERY ROOT RECIPES:
- Celery Root Puree by From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Celery Root Fries by The Spunky Coconut
- Creamy Celery Root and Potato Soup by Girl Heart Food
Don’t leave cranberries just for the holiday table, these vitamin C and antioxidant-packed fruits are a great addition to any fall dessert. You can even add them to your savory sautés and roasts to add a sweet and tangy kick that perfectly balances rich meals.
YUMMY ADDICTION CRANBERRY RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME CRANBERRY RECIPES:
- Russian Cranberry Drink (Mors) by Cooking the Globe
- Baked Cranberry Chicken with Rosemary by The Mediterranean Dish
- Healthy Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Bread by Lively Table
With a light anisette flavor, fennel bulbs are delicious when sliced and added to salads or raw as part of a crudité platter. If you want to bring out more caramelized notes and earthy sweetness, roast them with other root vegetables like carrots and turnips for a stellar side.
The apple, fennel, and walnut salad with orange dressing featured above is awesome. At the moment it’s the only fennel recipe I have on the blog but more coming soon!
MORE AWESOME FENNEL RECIPES:
- Citrus, Fennel and Chicken Bake by My Little Larder
- Roasted Fennel with Parmesan and Chives by Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup by The Simple Veganista
Even if you are not a fan of the classic half grapefruit eaten for breakfast, you can still enjoy this vitamin C rich fruit in smoothies or desserts. For the sweetest, most intense flavor, try picking up some ruby grapefruit rather than the white varieties to use in your kitchen.
At the moment, Grapefruit Kale Smoothie is the only recipe featuring this amazing fruit I have on the blog. This has to be fixed ASAP!
MORE AWESOME GRAPEFRUIT RECIPES:
- Grapefruit Greek Yogurt Cake by Sally’s Baking Addiction
- Avocado Grapefruit And Fennel Salad by Foodie Crush
- Healthy Baked Grapefruit 3 Ways by Ginger with Spice
Kale is so often dismissed as a healthier filler food. But beyond the trends, there are so many wonderful ways to use kale in the kitchen this time of year. So much heartier (and more nutrient-packed) than lettuce, it makes an excellent fall salad or can be added to soups, sautés, and even quiches.
YUMMY ADDICTION KALE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME KALE RECIPES:
- Greek Kale Salad with Lemon Olive Oil Dressing by Gimme Delicious
- Creamy White Bean & Kale Soup by Midwest Foodie
- Spicy Potato Kale Bowls with Mustard Tahini Dressing by This Savory Vegan
The most tropical of the winter fruits, kiwis are a way to transport yourself to warmer climates even if you can’t take an island vacation. The entire fruit is edible, though the skin can be a little off-putting to some. Try them in smoothies, cocktails, as part of a fruit salad, or even on top of pavlovas with lots of cream.
Kiwi mango smoothie shown above is a HIT but that’s the only kiwi recipe I have on the blog right now. Can’t wait to play more with this tropical fruit in the kitchen!
MORE AWESOME KIWI RECIPES:
- Roasted Salmon with Kiwi Salsa by The View from Great Island
- Kiwi Cupcakes by The First Year Blog
- Winter Fruit Salad by Dinner at the Zoo
With plenty of uses beyond potato leek soup, this mild cousin of an onion is delicate in flavor and great for braising or roasting. Choose small leeks with lots of white stem for the best flavor and most tender cooking. Just be sure to wash all the dirt from between the layers before cooking!
YUMMY ADDICTION LEEK RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME LEEK RECIPES:
- Healthy Potato Leek Soup by Well Plated
- Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts by Foodie Crush
- Parmesan Roasted Leeks by Spend with Pennies
Of all the winter fruits, lemons are the most reminiscent of warmer weather. With their sharp flavor, you can capture the essence of summer in all kinds of lemon desserts and drinks. They also give a great kick to savory meals where just a splash of acidity makes the flavors even brighter.
YUMMY ADDICTION LEMON RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME LEMON RECIPES:
- Easy Lemon Poppy Seed Bread by Garnish with Lemon
- Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken by Chew Out Loud
- Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Muffins by Ambitious Kitchen
Orange and Mandarins
Citrus is everywhere in December. Especially mandarins. Those big bags of clementines and satsumas are all over the markets. Eating oranges and mandarins during the darkest time of year gives you a great boost of vitamin C for a healthy immune system.
YUMMY ADDICTION ORANGE AND MANDARIN RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME ORANGE AND MANDARIN RECIPES:
- Healthy Orange Chicken by The Clean Eating Couple
- Fluffy Cranberry Orange Muffins by Cookie and Kate
- Healthy Orange Creamsicle Smoothie by The Fit Cookie
Parsnips are one of the unsung heroes of the fall and winter markets. As sweet as a fresh carrot, with an earthier flavor, parsnips have a lot of uses beyond stew. They are especially great roasted with other root vegetables in a sweet honey or maple glaze for a tasty holiday side.
Check out my Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots – a perfect side dish to literally anything. More parsnip recipes coming soon!
MORE AWESOME PARSNIP RECIPES:
- Mashed Carrots and Parsnips by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
- Roasted Honey & Parsnip Soup by Cooking with Bry
- Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and Thyme by Feasting at Home
December is one of the few months you are likely to find persimmons at your local markets. The squat Fuyu variety is perfect eaten when crunchy – added to salads or even just eaten skin and all like an apple. Wait for the oblong Hachiyas to soften for a super sweet treat.
YUMMY ADDICTION PERSIMMON RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME PERSIMMON RECIPES:
- Arugula Persimmon Salad by Real and Vibrant
- Soft and Moist Persimmon Cookies by Two Peas and Their Pod
- Persimmon Ginger Chicken by Abbey’s Kitchen
Delicious but so messy to open, pomegranates are a beautiful, jeweled symbol of the season. Break them open and eat the arils straight as a healthy snack, or add them to a fruit salad, your cakes, and desserts, and they are even great in savory dishes.
YUMMY ADDICTION POMEGRANATE RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME POMEGRANATE RECIPES:
- Spinach, Apple, and Pomegranate Salad by Countryside Cravings
- No-Bake Chocolate Pomegranate Fudge Tart by Wife Mama Foodie
- Pomegranate Chicken by Our Salty Kitchen
Everyone likes to dismiss potatoes as being unhealthy for being so high in starch, but they do have a lot of essential nutrients. Potassium and protein are surprisingly high in all varieties, and of course, purple potatoes have a bunch of vitamin A. Experiment with some of the more unusual types to experience a different kind of potato.
YUMMY ADDICTION POTATO RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME POTATO RECIPES:
- Crispy Garlic Butter Potatoes by Sprinkles & Sprouts
- Classic French-Style Potato Salad by Pardon Your French
- Skinny Crockpot Potato Soup by Carlsbad Cravings
As fall draws to a close, pumpkin starts falling out of favor. But it is still everywhere. Pumpkins can last for a long time is kept in a cool, dry area, making them great for winter eating. Can or freeze your own pumpkin puree and have it available for recipes throughout the year.
YUMMY ADDICTION PUMPKIN RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME PUMPKIN RECIPES:
- Butter Chicken Pumpkin Curry by A Saucy Kitchen
- Healthy Pumpkin Bread by Kristine’s Kitchen
- Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup by Just a Taste
This unique looking vegetable is often referred to as a variety of cauliflower. The flavor is somewhere between cauliflower and broccoli and you can do just about anything with it that you would do with those vegetables. Roasted, steamed, sauteed, or even in a curry, it is very versatile.
YUMMY ADDICTION ROMANESCO RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME ROMANESCO RECIPES:
- Roasted Romanesco and Radicchio Salad by Breaking Bread with Ashley
- Whole Roasted Romanesco by This Silly Girl’s Kitchen
- Nutty Roasted Romanesco Curry by Searching for Spice
Similar looking to the large, purple topped turnips, rutabagas are most squat and a bit more yellow. They have a rather more buttery flavor which is sometimes compared to a Yukon gold potato with a lot more bite. They are perfect for mashing or roasting to bring out the best qualities.
I’ve become acquainted with rutabaga not such a long time ago when I spotted it at my local farmer’s market. That’s how this gorgeous Creamy Roasted Rutabaga Soup was born. Definitely plan to cook more with it in the future!
MORE AWESOME RUTABAGA RECIPES:
- Greek-Style Oven Roasted Rutabaga by The Healthy Foodie
- Cheesy Rutabaga and Carrot Casserole by Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Creamy Buttery Mashed Rutabaga by Delicious Little Bites
Looking a lot like ginger, this root vegetable is actually from a variety of sunflower rather than an artichoke. Sunchokes are delicious roasted, but can also be eaten mashed or sauteed with light seasoning to complement its delicate flavor.
I absolutely loved sunchokes in this creamy salmon and wild rice casserole. It’s a nice change from potatoes!
MORE AWESOME SUNCHOKE RECIPES:
- Roasted Sunchokes by A Beautiful Plate
- Brussels Sprout & Sunchoke Salad by Love & Lemons
- Creamy Ginger Scalloped Sunchokes by Boulder Locavore
Don’t miss out on the massive dose of vitamin A you get from sweet potatoes. Roasted whole or sliced and tossed with spices and nuts, sweet potatoes are one of the best fall and winter side dishes. For a particularly unique flavor, pair them with cranberries and roast with bit of maple syrup.
YUMMY ADDICTION SWEET POTATO RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME SWEET POTATO RECIPES:
- Vegan Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes by Joyful Healthy Eats
- Healthy Sweet Potato Pie by Amy’s Healthy Baking
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole by Eating Bird Food
Don’t dismiss turnips as being bland and boring, prepared properly, they are delicious. Steamed and mashed, they are a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes or roast them with other root veggies to bring out the sweetness. Don’t forget to save the greens for sauteing or making vegetable chips.
Check out my Creamy Carrot and Turnip Soup which is really awesome. More recipes with this beautiful root veggie coming soon!
MORE AWESOME TURNIP RECIPES:
- Parmesan Crusted Crushed Turnips by From a Chefs Kitchen
- Turnips au Gratin by That Low Carb Life
- Roasted Turnips by Delicious Little Bites
With so many varieties to choose from, winter squash is a great option for December meals. Roast and mash butternut, stuff acorn squash with tasty fillings, or trade out pasta for the roasted interior of spaghetti squash – it’s a fun way to reduce the wheat in your diet.
YUMMY ADDICTION WINTER SQUASH RECIPES:
MORE AWESOME WINTER SQUASH RECIPES: