During the winter, it can feel like there are limited fresh fruit and vegetable options. While it is true that most produce is more readily available during spring, summer and fall, there are still quite a few fruits and vegetables that thrive in the colder temperatures. These include heartier greens, root vegetables and citrus fruits.
What’s in season? (Approximately December-February)
- Belgian endive
- Brussels sprouts
- Clementines, grapefruit, pummelo, tangerines and other citrus
- Collard greens and kale
- Buttercup squash, sweet potatoes, sweet dumpling squash
- Leeks and turnips
If you cannot find fresh varieties, frozen or canned options are often available. Just watch the sodium content. The recipe below incorporates savory, rich spices and several canned ingredients. There is something very comforting about a hearty stew in the middle of winter. This recipe provides a significant amount of protein, fiber and iron; it also incorporates several vegetables to make a satisfying stew for you and those lucky enough to enjoy your cooking.
Beef and Lentil Stew
Source: A Spicy Perspective
2 tablespoons olive oil
2.5 pounds beef chuck, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, sliced
3 large celery stalks, sliced
1.5 cups dried green or brown lentils
28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
6 cups beef stock
1 cup dry red wine*
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes, then add the beef and garlic.
- Brown the meat, stirring regularly, for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the carrots, celery, lentils, tomatoes, beef stock, wine*, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and cayenne pepper.
- Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir in the tarragon. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
*Dry red wine can be substituted with beef, chicken or vegetable stock in equal amounts; you can also add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar (for acidity) but it is not required.
**Tip: Use a pot with a heavy lid to keep in the heat. If you do not have a heavy lid, plan to simmer the stew for longer in order to tenderize the meat.
Ashleigh Libs is currently a master’s student in nutrition with a sports concentration at the University of Utah. She received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics, with a minor in psychology, from the University of Dayton (Ohio). She has experience working with the University of Louisville’s football team and the University of Dayton’s soccer, women’s volleyball and baseball teams. Her goal is to help people/athletes discover what works for them nutritionally to reach their performance goals. You can get in touch with Ashleigh by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and not necessarily the practices of USA Triathlon. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, you should check with your physician and/or coach.