Eating seasonally can be difficult in the winter, especially if you live somewhere that is covered in snow for 4 or 5 months out of the year and all that’s available locally are potatoes, squash and apples with a long storage life.
Adding berries and tomatoes is much easier in the summer when they’re available straight out of my own garden, just beyond the back door. At the moment, my gardens are buried under three feet of the white fluffy stuff, and it’s likely I won’t see the dirt until sometime in March. However, even amidst the winter wonderland, there is hope for a healthy, ready-to-start-the-day breakfast that will give you the energy and courage (or is it insanity) to head out and embrace the cold.
So, where do we start for winter breakfasts then? First, if you stored and preserved some of your warm weather harvest, you’re already ahead of the curve. Jams, chutneys, peaches, tomatoes and other canned, frozen or otherwise preserved fruits and vegetables make great additions to breakfast. If you don’t have those available or if they’re running low, not to worry. Here are a few basic ingredients to get you started:
- Eggs: Packed with vitamins A, D and E and protein, eggs are a great breakfast choice. Try them in omelets, poached eggs and egg sandwiches.
- Whole Grains: Whether you’re looking at steel-cut oats or whole grain breads and baked items, using whole grains is a great way to start your day.
- Seasonal Fruits: Citrus, pears and pomegranates are all available in the winter and in season. Fall harvested apples that have a long storage life also make an excellent addition.
- Seasonal Vegetables: Potatoes and sweet potatoes make hash and hashbrowns. Add in parsnips, squash and other root vegetables to change things up. Grab the mushrooms and leeks for omelets and egg dishes. Depending on where you are, leafy greens and radishes may also be available.
- Yogurt: Both yogurt and cottage cheese contain protein and B vitamins, not to mention calcium. Use it to top granola, and add in a scoop of your favorite jam for a winter-ready parfait.
Photos by Shaina Olmanson
Using Katie’s pairing of pears and pecans and Todd and Diane’s post on a gingerbread and roasted pear dessert from Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners as inspiration I found my new favorite winter breakfast. There is no guilt in having fruit, nuts and yogurt for breakfast, and warm breakfasts in the winter are divine. Plus, by using the pear as the bowl for your parfait, you also get all the vitamins and nutrients in the skin of the pear.
Maple Vanilla Roasted Pear Parfaits
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla bean
pinch of salt
2 pears (Bartlett, Anjou or Bosc)
1/4 cup whole pecans
1 cup Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a small baking dish just large enough to hold 4 pear halves (an 8″ square works well), place the butter and let it melt as the oven preheats. Halve the two pears. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. When the butter is melted and the oven is preheated, pour maple syrup into the pan. Add in vanilla bean seeds and stir quickly. Place pear halves cut side down in the pan and return the pan to the oven.
Roast the pears at 400 degrees F until soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately take pear halves out. Tilt the pan to combine maple syrup with pear juice. Add in pecans and stir to coat. While still warm, scoop the center seeds out of the pears (I find it easier to do after they’ve been roasted) and place 1/4 cup yogurt in each. Top with maple syrup and pecans.
Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.
More Winter Breakfast Ideas
Citrus & Pomegranate with Vanilla Syrup | Simple Bites
Irish Oat Pancakes with Lemon Curd | Cascadian Farm Blog
5-Grain Pancakes with Flax | GoodLife Eats
Banana Berry Smoothies | Food for My Family
Poached Eggs on Toast with Roasted Tomatoes | For the Love of Cooking
Shirred Eggs | Guilty Kitchen
Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal | A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
Red Potato & Spinach Mini Frittatas | Poor Girl Eats Well
What are your favorite foods to eat in the winter? Do you have a store of fruits and vegetables to pull from the freezer or canned on the shelves?