Ready to rearrange your grocery list? We’ve put together 12 recipes, organized by month, so you can get the most flavor, nutrition, beauty benefits and value out of your food.
In the age of online takeout and same-day shipping, we’re used to getting what we want when we want it. But our love of instant gratification doesn’t always serve us well when it comes to the food we eat. We end up buying sad-looking tomatoes that traveled thousands of miles in the middle of winter, too-ripe grapes that wither on the vine in spring, and small, flavorless Brussels sprouts in summer.
Shopping seasonally means your food tastes better and is fresher (because it didn’t have to travel by truck across several countries to see you). Buying in-season produce cuts down on transportation — and, thus, fuel consumption — so it’s also more environmentally sound. And did we mention the cost? No more $4.99-per-pound tomatoes. In-season food is much cheaper, since the cost of production is low and there is an abundant supply.
Feel Accomplished in January Warm quinoa and grapefruit salad
Find the energy to follow through on your New Year’s resolutions with this high-fiber, high-protein salad.
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
6 packed cups baby spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
1/2 red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry-roasted sunflower seeds
6 tablespoons feta, crumbled
1/3 cup golden raisins
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine spinach and red onion in a large bowl. Slice top and bottom off each grapefruit so you can see pulp. Stand grapefruit upright and, with a paring knife, slice off rind from top to bottom, removing all white pith. Hold one peeled grapefruit over a bowl and remove sections by slicing next to membranes toward center. Let any juice collect in the bowl and set grapefruit sections aside. Repeat with second fruit. Remove about two-thirds of the sections from third fruit and squeeze remainder over bowl; strain out any pulp or seeds.
Combine two tablespoons grapefruit juice with canola oil and vinegar in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; add one pinch salt, screw on lid and shake vigorously until emulsified. Pour about three-quarters dressing over spinach mixture, season with pepper and toss well. Divide spinach mixture among four plates, top each with one quarter quinoa and grapefruit sections, and toss gently. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds, feta and golden raisins. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve immediately.
Bring on the Warm Fuzzies in February Asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta
Asparagus, said to be a powerful aphrodisiac, is at the height of its ripeness in February. For the added zest of fresh citrus, look for Meyer lemons — they’re in season from November to April.
1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 5-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, about two to three minutes. Drain pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you add it. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl along with a couple splashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season generously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick.
Get Healthier Hair in March Smoky carrot hummus
Revitalize your hair from the inside out with this hummus recipe. It relies heavily on carrots, a winter root vegetable rich in beta-carotene, which helps the body produce keratin, a building block of healthy hair.
1 pound carrots, rinsed
3/4 cup cooked garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop carrots into large chunks. Toss in two teaspoons olive oil and lightly salt. Roast for about 30 minutes, until carrots are fork-tender. Set aside until cool enough to work with.
Using a blender or food processor, add the garbanzo beans, two tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds, garlic, all spices and salt.
Once the carrots have cooled, add them to the blender or food processor. Pulse or blend until combined. Have the olive oil on hand if you need to add more because the consistency is too thick.
Garnish with paprika or fresh parsley. Serve with crackers, bread or tortilla chips or spread on a sandwich.
Grow Healthy Nails in April Blackened salmon with mango-avocado salsa
Your nails can be the best possible canvas for sassy spring colors by eating lots of protein, like this tasty salmon dish. April marks the beginning of mango season, so top your plate with a mango-and-avocado salsa — it’s so good, you won’t even think about how healthy it is.
1 1/2 to 2 pounds wild salmon fillets, boneless and skin on
3 teaspoons melted grass-fed butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 ripe mango, seeded, peeled and diced
1 large avocado, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Slice the salmon evenly into four to six smaller fillets. Combine the butter and all the spices in a bowl. Rub all over both sides of the salmon. Leave at room temperature while the grill heats.
Meanwhile, combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and store in the refrigerator while the fish cooks.
Sear the salmon, skinless side down. Close the grill lid. Cook one to three minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are. (Try not to move them until you are going to flip them over to help keep them in one piece.)
Using tongs in one hand and a metal spatula in the other hand, carefully turn the fish over, so that the skin side is down, and reduce the heat to medium. For charcoal grills, finish cooking over indirect heat farthest from the coals. Close the grill lid and finish cooking for another five minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Salmon should be just barely opaque and will start to flake along the center of the fillet when done. Serve hot with the mango-avocado salsa spooned over it.
Get Glowing Skin in May Stuffed tomatoes with peaches, corn, cucumbers and basil
Summer is just around the corner, so it’s time to start prepping your skin for shorts and swimsuit season. For a glow from within, fill your plate with tomatoes and peaches. Tomatoes are the best source of the anti-aging antioxidant lycopene, a skin-repairing element that reduces inflammation and cancer risk. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C, which aids collagen production.
8 ripe medium beefsteak tomatoes
2 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 1/3 cups)
Kernels from 2 ears corn (1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
Slice off tops of tomatoes (about a half-inch). Scoop out the seeds and ribs, and coarsely chop. Stir together chopped tomatoes, peaches, cucumbers, corn, oil, one tablespoon lime juice, salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust for acidity, adding up to one tablespoon more lime juice. Stir in basil.
Season inside of tomato shells with salt and pepper. Fill tomatoes with tomato mixture and garnish with basil sprigs. Serve immediately.
Edible Sunscreen in June Tomato lemonade
Did you know you can protect your skin from the sun from the inside out? In one study, participants who ate five tablespoons of tomato paste every day for 12 weeks suffered significantly less sunburn than a control group. To get the benefit, try this tomato lemonade — it’s way tastier than eating your sunscreen.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 pounds tomatoes, preferably yellow or orange, cored and chopped
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups ice water
Lemon wedges and herb sprigs, for garnish
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the simple syrup cool to room temperature.
In a food processor, puree the tomatoes and strain the puree through a sieve into a pitcher; discard the solids. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and ice water and stir.
Fill 10 tall glasses with ice. Pour in the tomato lemonade, garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs and serve.
The Best No-Meat Barbecue for July Grilled watermelon with blue cheese
Firing up the ol’ grill doesn’t mean you have to stuff yourself with hamburgers and hot dogs. This summer, try throwing another summer food staple on the grill: watermelon. The sweet, juicy flavor is intensified by heat and smoke, and blue cheese and balsamic glaze make it an unexpected barbecue treat no one would turn down.
3 (1/2-inch-thick) watermelon rounds, quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons bottled balsamic glaze
Preheat grill to 350 to 400 degrees (medium-high heat). Brush both sides of each watermelon quarter with olive oil and season with desired amount of salt and pepper.
Grill watermelon quarters, without grill lid, one minute on each side or until grill marks appear.
Transfer watermelon to a serving plate; top with blue cheese and fresh basil. Drizzle watermelon with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately. If you’re barbecue doesn’t feel complete without a piece of meat, top with a thin slice of prosciutto, as shown above.
Cool Down in August Berry and mint popsicles
The berry trifecta (raspberries, blackberries and strawberries) is at its juiciest in August. Take advantage of the season and make your own refreshing, icy treat.
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh mint
Combine raspberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries with the lemon juice and mint in a mixing bowl. Mash the berries a bit with the back of a large wooden spoon. Let this mixture sit for about a half hour.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool for about five minutes, then combine with the berry mixture.
Using a glass measuring cup with a spout, carefully pour the berry mixture into your popsicle molds.
Freeze for six hours. If your popsicles stick to the molds, hold them under warm running water to loosen.
Food for Thought in September Leek, fennel and apple walnut soup with turmeric
Eat your way to a clearer, less-sluggish mind by trying your hand at this soup, filled with an IQ-enhancing triple-threat: walnuts, apples and turmeric. Walnuts have been called the ultimate brain food because of their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Apples are a leading source of quercetin, an antioxidant plant chemical that keeps your mental juices flowing by protecting your brain cells. And turmeric has remarkably improved symptoms in Alzheimer’s patients, according to a recent study.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 leeks, white and light green parts chopped (discard green tops)
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves minced
1 fennel bulb, cored and chopped (reserve fronds for garnish)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1-2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted
4 cups vegetable stock
Maple syrup, reserved fennel fronds and more toasted walnuts, to serve
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large soup pot over medium. Add the chopped leeks and thyme. Stir and sauté the leeks until they are a bit soft, about four minutes. Add the chopped fennel and apples. Stir ingredients. Add the turmeric and stir to coat the vegetables evenly. Sauté the vegetables until the fennel starts to soften, another four minutes. Stir in walnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable stock and stir.
Bring the pot to a boil and simmer until all of the vegetables/apples are very soft, about 12 to15 minutes. Remove the soup from heat. Blend the mixture in batches until totally smooth. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Bring the pureed soup to a boil and serve hot with drizzles of maple syrup, fresh black pepper, fennel fronds and more toasted walnuts.
Get Your Pumpkin on in October Pumpkin butter
Looking for a sweet escape from the Halloween candy that’s staring you down from every aisle of the grocery store? Head to the pumpkin patch. This recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth without sending you into a candy-eating frenzy.
Makes 16 ounces
3 cups pureed pumpkin (from about 4.25 pounds fresh sugar pumpkin)
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (can use apple cider as well; adjust sugar accordingly)
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice pumpkins in half with a sharp knife. Remove stem and scoop out seeds and pulp with spoon.
Roast pumpkins in a baking dish until soft when pierced with fork, about 35 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. Scoop flesh from pumpkin. Discard skins.
In a heavy pot over low heat, combine all ingredients. Simmer for up to one hour, stirring at regular intervals to avoid burning, until the mixture has thickened. Blend with an immersion blender or transfer in batches to an upright blender and puree. Spoon into jars and refrigerate.
Have a Healthy Holiday in November Butternut squash, Brussels sprout and bread stuffing with apple
This delicious, Thanksgiving-ready stuffing recipe combines in-season ingredients for a savory dish that your relatives won’t even realize is vegan.
1 pound butternut squash, cubed (2 cups)
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved (4 cups)
1 medium Gala apple, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread or whole grain. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, brussels sprouts, apples and shallots in two tablespoons oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are very tender and remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
Heat other tablespoon of oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion and celery until translucent (about five to eight minutes). Add the bread cubes and allow them to get golden brown with the veggies in the oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper.
Add the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans or walnuts and seasonings. Stir the mix until the broth has almost entirely absorbed in the toasted bread. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
Boost Your Immune System in December Kale and clementine salad
No one deserves to be sick over the holidays — even if they’re on the Naughty List. Fight off germs with this winter salad. Clementines, at the height of their ripeness during winter, are rich in cold-fighting vitamin C.
1 bunch kale
1 avocado, diced
1 medium pomegranate, arils removed, or a handful of dried cranberries
4 clementines, peeled and sliced into rounds or small strips
4 small radishes, sliced into thin rounds and then into skinny strips
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup pepitas (sunflower seeds)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 small limes)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium jalapeño, membranes and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
First, make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Prepare the kale by slicing out the stems and chopping the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands.
Drizzle salad dressing over the kale and toss well so the kale is lightly coated with dressing. Add the prepared avocado, pomegranate (or dried cranberries), clementines, radishes, cilantro and feta to the bowl.
Toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until they smell fragrant and toasty. Transfer the pepitas to the salad bowl. Toss the salad to combine and serve.