easy dishes

Baby, it’s cold outside! And that means it’s time to whip up some hearty meals to fuel your body and help you stay warm. Thankfully, seasonal favorites like pumpkin, acorn, butternut, delicata, and spaghetti squash pack a punch of vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin B-6, potassium, and magnesium.

The best thing about these grand gourds? Most of the prep work is in baking and roasting, which you can do way ahead of time. So, when it’s time eat, you can throw your dinner together in a snap. Plus, they’re so versatile!

Check out these super simple prep tips to get the most out of your winter veggies, plus some delicious (and easy) recipes to add some wonderful flavor to your winter!

Do it once, and done

It you’re going to spend 60-90 minutes to roast a whole butternut, delicata, or spaghetti squash, do your best to make it last for multiple meals throughout the week. Make a large soup for the whole family, or a casserole bake to pack for work lunches.

For many, cooking a large, thick-skinned veggie can be intimidating, but don’t let it scare you! Also, store-bought isn’t always bad. Pumpkin puree is easy to find at the store and will save you loads of time cutting and roasting.

Think strategically, and you can enjoy multiple delicious, nutritious meals with half the effort. Here’s how to prep two of my personal favorite winter veggies for the week.

Pro tip: To avoid knife accidents at home, ask the produce department to cut your squash in half for you. If you don’t have time to bake the whole squash, buy pre-cubed bags or slice the squash into thin slices for quick and easy roasting.

Baked spaghetti squash

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 90 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of each squash half.
  3. Pour 2 cups of water into a 9x13-inch casserole dish and arrange the squash, cut sides down.
  4. Bake until tender, 60 to 90 minutes.
  5. Rake a fork back and forth across the squash to remove squash noodles!

Spicy baked butternut squash cubes

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp. of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place butternut squash cubes onto a large, rimmed sheet tray.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Pour over cubed squash and toss with your hands to coat.
  4. Spread out squash so that it’s in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Buy one veggie, change up the recipe

With the right recipe, one dish can feed your family for days — if not the entire week. But if you want variety, you can stretch your winter veggies by swapping a few ingredients and changing up preparation methods.

Here are some of my favorite family-friendly ideas:

Spaghetti squash

  • Swap your regular pasta for spaghetti squash. It’s great with pesto or turkey meatballs.
  • Add spaghetti squash noodles to your next chicken soup for a lighter alternative.
  • Make a squash casserole — no need to dirty a dish! Broccoli and cheese, yes please. Enchilada, Southwest taco, chicken parmesan, or ground turkey and veggie… the options are endless!

Butternut squash

  • Swap out the croutons in your next salad for sweet roasted squash.
  • Serve up a comforting dinner side. You can keep them cubed or blend them into a mash with a little coconut crème, ghee, or grass-fed butter.

Delicata squash

  • Stuff it! These little boats serve up the perfect portion size.
  • Slice and roast, no need to peel away the thick squash skin. Delicata squash can be eaten — skin and all!

Warming winter veggie recipes

Ready to start cooking with your winter veggies? Try out these super easy recipes that you can prep and eat all week!

Quick and easy coconut pumpkin soup

Skip the cutting, peeling, seeding, and baking by opting to whip up this delicious soup with organic pumpkin puree in just minutes. Enjoy a cup with dinner or paired with a winter kale salad at lunch.

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 27 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. of curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (16-oz.) box 100% pure organic pumpkin
  • 1 cup light coconut milk

Directions:

  1. In a deep pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once melted, stir in the shallot and garlic. Cook until the shallots are translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, curry powder, and salt and bring to a light rolling boil. Whisk in the pumpkin and coconut milk, and cook another 8 minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat to medium-low and lightly boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chicken squash noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup is a winter staple. Turn it up a notch by adding squash for a delicious new take on a cold-weather classic.

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. grass-fed butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 sticks celery, chopped
  • 2 liters of chicken bone broth
  • 2 chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 cups tricolor carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups spaghetti squash noodles
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh Italian parsley, chopped for topping

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter on medium-low heat and stir in garlic, onion, and celery. Cook until tender and translucent.
  2. Add chicken bone broth, carrots, and shredded chicken breast and bring to a light boil.
  3. Turn off heat and add basil, oregano, and warm cooked spaghetti squash noodles. Top with fresh parsley.

Vegan winter salad

You don’t always have to think about your meals for the whole week. If you’ve eaten through your leftovers or just want something quick and fresh to eat, this salad is just the ticket.

Serves: 1

Start to finish: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups of Organic Girl Super Greens
  • 1/4 cup spicy butternut squash
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Persian cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup beets, cooked
  • 2 tbsp. raw organic pumpkin seeds

Lemon vinaigrette ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • a pinch salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Arrange greens, veggies, and seeds in a bowl and top with vinaigrette.
  2. For vinaigrette, whisk together ingredients and dress the salad with a few tablespoons.

Turkey-stuffed delicata squash

While you might be used to stuffing a turkey, you might not realize it’s just as delicious the other way around! Try serving this up for your next holiday meal.

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 45 minutes (35 minutes to bake squash)

Ingredients:

  • 2 (1-lb.) delicata squash, sliced lengthwise and seeded
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. organic garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 cup kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chives, minced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  2. Rub the squash halves with 2 tbsp. of the olive oil and season the insides with salt and pepper. Set them cut side up in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet and roast for 35 minutes, or until tender.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Add the turkey, garlic salt, paprika, and cumin and cook until the turkey is cooked through, usually about 4 to 5 minutes, breaking it up as needed.
  6. Add the kale and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until softened. Take the pan off the heat.
  7. Stir in the tahini and season with salt and pepper. Divide the turkey mixture among the squash halves (they should be generously full).
  8. Sprinkle with chives and serve a squash half to each person.

Delicata squash and pomegranate salad

Winter veggies and winter fruit make for a number of incredible salads. This one is light, refreshing, and yet so filling!

Serves: 4

Start to finish: 55 minutes (35 minutes to bake squash)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. high-heat oil (algae, coconut, or avocado)
  • 1 delicata squash, sliced in 1⁄2-inch thick rounds with seeds removed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut sugar

Salad ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole hazelnuts
  • 6 cups baby kale, spinach, and arugula
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate, arils removed
  • 1 seedless cucumber, sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or parchment paper.
  2. De-seed and cut the squash into slices about 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients. Toss the squash slices in this until coated thoroughly. Spread the slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, and drizzle them with the oil.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn over, drizzle with more oil, and sprinkle more of the leftover seasoning. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Place the hazelnuts in a single layer in an oven-safe pan. Toast in a 400°F (200°C) oven for about 10 minutes or until the nuts become fragrant, their skins darken, and some skins begin to split a bit.
  6. Remove from the oven and place nuts in skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Add 1 tbsp. grass-fed butter and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat nuts.
  7. Add the arugula, kale, and spinach to a large bowl with the avocado, pomegranate arils, hazelnuts, and squash pieces. Cover in the orange ginger dressing.

Orange ginger dressing ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Combine orange juice, vinegar, ginger, honey, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
  2. Stream in the avocado oil while constantly whisking the dressing until it emulsifies, and then drizzle on salad.

Takeaway

I’m all for planning and Sunday meal prep, but I don’t recommend thinking in weeklong terms. Instead, I coach my clients to think in no more than three days at a time. This offers you more flexibility, in terms of what you’re craving and also what might come up during the week.

With winter veggies, you can really make them stretch for multiple, totally different meals, while still allowing yourself room to have a spontaneous dinner out.


Kelly LeVeque is a celebrity nutritionist, wellness expert, and best-selling author based in Los Angeles. Before starting her consulting business, Be Well By Kelly, she worked in the medical field for Fortune 500 companies like J&J, Stryker, and Hologic, eventually moving into personalized medicine, offering tumor gene mapping and molecular subtyping to oncologists. She received her bachelor’s from UCLA and completed her postgrad clinical education at UCLA and UC Berkeley. Kelly’s client list includes Jessica Alba, Chelsea Handler, Kate Walsh, and Emmy Rossum. Guided by a practical and optimistic approach, Kelly helps people improve their health, achieve their goals, and develop sustainable habits to live a healthy and balanced life. Follow her on Instagram.