If I see another slow cooker recipe again...
Winter food is great—come December, there’s nothing more exciting than using winter produce, cooking warming stews, baking beautiful pies, and roasting squash, sweet potatoes, and roots to my heart’s content. Come February though… I’m ready to mix it up. Let’s be real: You can only eat so many bowls of “hearty” soup, chili, and stew before you’re daydreaming of sunnier vibes. If you’re having serious wintertime comfort food fatigue and are ready for zesty, fresh, crunchy, colorful meals again—basically, food that doesn’t need to be ladled out of a slow cooker, I’m 100% with you. These 11 recipes make use of fruits and veggies you can find in the supermarket this time of year, but are sure to bust you out of the wintertime rut.
1. Lemony Roasted Salmon with White Wine Couscous
Something about citrus and seafood really helps with the winter doldrums. The sunshiny zing of lemon and the tang of the herbed yogurt sauce will have you reveling in the promise of warmer, brighter days ahead.
2. Sumac Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots
If you’re not familiar with sumac, it’s slightly tart with mild citrusy flavors. Applied to beautifully browned, crisped chicken thighs, it’s a surefire cure to chili fatigue.
3. Caesar Brussels Sprouts Salad with Almonds
You’ll find plenty of Brussels sprouts in store this time of year, but a Caesar salad makeover breathes new life into them. The sprouts stay pleasantly crunchy, and garlicky vinaigrette rounds it all out.
4. Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad
Missing the charred flavors of warm weather grilling? Throw some fresh lemons onto a grill pan for all of the caramelized juiciness (without having to brave the frigid outdoors).
5. Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry
Sweet and spicy, with the freshness of basil, this fast stir-fry is a major shakeup from the earthier, deeper flavors of the winter. If you can handle it, don’t skimp on the Serrano—that heat is just what you need to wake up your taste buds.
6. Sheet Pan Carnitas Bao Buns
These little buns make for a great game day snack or party appetizer, and the crunch of cucumbers, carrots, and fried shallots make for a textural win. Try this out when you’re looking to feed a crowd, and want to shake up the usual winter casserole.
Inspired by classic taco night toppers and sides, make this crunchy, flavorful, guaranteed family favorite for dinner tonight (and worry about shoveling snow in the morning).
8. Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Chicken Penne
Chicken pasta that’s perfectly cheesy and creamy, and ready in 25 minutes? This is speedy pasta is for those dark weeknights when you want hot food ready fast. Chopped parsley sprinkled on top brightens up the dish with its herbaceous freshness.
9. Winter Citrus Salad
Why do we forget about fresh fruit in the winter when there’s so much seasonal citrus? If you’ve got a hankering for fruit that hasn’t been jellied, preserved, or doused in cinnamon, this simple fruit salad is perfect for a weekend winter brunch.
10. Sheet Pan Seafood Bake with Buttery Wine Sauce
Cajun seafood boil seasoning, hot sauce, and parsley make this one-pan wonder (with only 15 minutes of prep time!) a flavor-packed, lively, and fun alternative to the winter meal rotations that you’re exhausted of.
11. Pink Lemonade Rolls
This playful take on the classic orange roll is a welcome change of pace from the usual nutmeg and allspiced desserts that are so abundant during the colder months. It’s fun color, thanks to lemonade mix, is a major win too.