5 Overlooked Winter Vegetables You’ve Got To Try

The brisk winds of autumn are washing over North America. In my corner of Colorado, we’ve already had snow. Saying goodbye to summer always makes me slightly sad, since it means the fountain of fresh farmers’ market produce is about to slow to a trickle.

Without bushels of bright veggies and juicy fruits to pick from, you might be tempted to resign yourself to a “meat and potatoes” diet for the winter, but don’t!

Winter vegetables might not have the vibrant hues of their summertime counterparts, but they’re still jam-packed with nutrients that can ward off sickness and the accumulation of a flabby winter coat. Here are five winter vegetables that are often overlooked when planning cold weather meals. Most can be found fresh throughout the winter growing season, and keep well in a cool, dry pantry.

1. Radishes

The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable that was domesticated in Europe, in pre-Roman times. There are several varieties of radish: the small purple-pink ones we’re all familiar with, and Spanish or Asian varieties that are typically black or white. Radishes are low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol. They are also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate and Potassium.

Give it a try!

Add A Peppery Note To Salads With Wild Radishes

Re-imagine The Radish: 3 Creative Recipes

Zesty Pea And Radish Salad

Make: Radish Salad With Mustard Vinaigrette [Video]

>>Next Up: Kale

2. Kale


Thanks to increased knowledge of “super foods,” kale has experienced an awakening in American cuisine. Kale (or borecole) belongs to the cabbage family. It typically has green or purple leaves, but the central leaves do not form a head like cabbage. Unlike most vegetables, kale thrives in the cold, and is often sweeter when harvested after the first frost. Kale is a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

Give it a try!

Kale: An Easy Beginner’s Guide To Growing

How To Cook Kale

14 Delicious Kale Recipes

>>Next Up: Winter Squash

3. Winter Squash

If you’re a dedicated local food enthusiast, you’re likely to see a lot of winter squash during the autumn months. Included in the winter squash group are pumpkin, butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash. Winter squashes are known for high levels of carotenes, vitamin B1, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, folic acid, potassium and fiber, which can protect the body from heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Generally, a winter squash that is more richly-colored has a higher concentration of nutrients.

Give it a try!

Hearty Farro Salad With Winter Squash and Chevre

10 Ways To Use Gourds And Winter Squash

Red Onion And Almond-Stuffed Winter Squash

>>Next Up: Rhubarb

4. Rhubarb

Fun fact: Rhubarb is considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used as a fruit (i.e. pies and chutneys), it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. Known by its thick red stalks and large, dark green leaves, rhubarb is a good source of Magnesium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium, Potassium and Manganese.

Give it a try!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Bread Pudding

Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb Almond Muffins

>>Next Up: Parsnips

5. Parsnips

These oft-overlooked root vegetables appear to be fat, white carrots, but they’re not actually related to carrots at all. Like kale, parsnips have a better flavor if they’re picked just after the first frost. Unlike the carrot, the starchy parsnip is better when cooked, delivering a flavor that is butter, sweet and spicy all at once. Parsnips are a good source of Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate and Manganese.

Give it a try!

Roasted Parsnip And Pear Soup

Make: Parsnip Fries!

Spiced Parsnip Cake With Pecans

Do you have a favorite winter vegetable that wasn’t mentioned in this list? Share it in a comment!

All images via Thinkstock

100 comments

Bea Pujatti
Bea P.2 years ago

Thanks for the reminders, I would love to be able to grow most if not all of these myself!

Dale O.

These are never overlooked as I use them all the time.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Beth, for Sharing this!

Aletta Kraan
Aletta Kraan3 years ago

Thanks !!!!

Mary L.
Mary L.3 years ago

Love rhubarb. With all the sour lovers these days, I'm surprised more people don't eat it.

Penny C.
Penny C.3 years ago

Had parsnipes today!Delicious.

Lucie G.
Lucie G.3 years ago

Thanks. Love parsnips and rhubarb

Walter G.
Walter G.3 years ago

This presents another difficulty here on "Gilligan's Island," we don't have any winter!

Laurie F.
Laurie F.3 years ago

We LOVE our steamed kale with Walnut Dressing", which also makes a great dipping sauce for radishes (and I even enjoy it drizzled on my butternut squash!) :-)

Daphne Waisel
Daphne Waisel3 years ago

great