Napa cabbage makes a great slaw; it's both more tender and less juicy than regular cabbage, so it softens easily without making a puddle at the bottom of the bowl. We like to pair it with carrots for color and crunch. You can change the flavor of the slaw, of course, by mixing up the seasonings. Basically you want salt and acid and a little bit of fat, plus whatever herbs or spices strike your fancy. Here are three ideas:
Basic brine pickles
Brined pickles are easy to make, delicious, and good for you. The fermentation process increases vitamins and healthful enzymes, and they're probiotic, too!
Cucumbers with dill are the most traditional pickle in the US, but nearly any vegetable and herb mixture will work. (Ripe tomatoes are too soft, and I wouldn't try raw potatoes, but we've had good success with every other veggie we've tried so far.)
This dish is brightly colored and warmly flavored; a great soup for a cold, gray day.
Winter Vegetable Slaw
This versatile slaw is a nice side dish for roasted chicken or grilled cheese sandwiches. The specific vegetables can be swapped based on what looks good at the market or in your root cellar, but it's good to shoot for a balance of sweet and spicy (and a mix of colors never hurts).
Shredded or julliened root vegetables:
2 cups sweet - carrot, parsnip, celeriac, beet, sweet potato
2 cups spicy - turnip, radish, daikon, kohlrabi, rutabaga
Mix to taste with:
Mayonnaise mixed with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt
A vinaigrette made with 1 tsp each Dijon mustard & salt, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2/3 cup olive oil, and a handful of fresh parsley (you may not need all of it)
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. If you have time, let sit in the fridge for 20 minutes or so. Yum!
Summer Vegetable Stew
This dish is perfect for the end of summer, when all the bounty of the season is still available, but evenings are beginning to cool and a big, hot bowl of dinner is something to be welcomed. Shell beans are really just immature dry beans, and can be cooked like dry beans that have been soaked. There is a bit of a spectrum between the "shell" and the "dry" stages for beans, and just how long they take to cook can vary a lot based on just where they are on that line. So we recommend cooking the beans separately from the rest of the vegetables in this dish in order to make sure the beans get cooked all the way through without endangering the rest to overcooking.
Pickled Onion-Cabbage Slaw
This recipe makes a great taco filling, a side to rice and beans, or a salad to go with grilled fish or meats. It takes quick pickled onions and adds two root-cellar staples: cabbage and carrots. Change the seasoning to complement your recipe - you could use bay leaves and peppercorns or herbs de provence instead of the spices listed here, for example.
Autumn Roasted Vegetables
Some variation of this is a fall and winter staple in our house – this is the current version. It’s very adaptable – adjust to the proportions and ingredients that suit you. It's a wonderful side with roast chicken. Or, to make a meal of it, add some sausage (we like the kielbasa from Pine Woods Farm or pepperoni from VT Smoke & Cure), or sauté some onion and chickpeas and put them on top. Put it on a bed of greens (arugula or kale work well), with a mustard vinaigrette, and you've got one great dinner.
Roasted Root Veggies
This is one of our go-to recipes anytime there are beets and potatoes and it isn't too hot out. Simple, delicious, and infinitely variable.
So it's the end of February, and we've got a pile of rutabagas about the size of my head still in the cold cellar (which is actually a slightly retrofitted refrigerator), as well as a big pile of carrots that are starting to think about getting a little bendy. These pickles are just the thing.
Other Good Places to Find Recipes
WTF is this vegetable?
Eating What We Grow (PDF)
Cookbooks We Like
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
Chez Panisse Vegetables
Flatbreads and Flavors
The Art of Simple Food
Feeding the Whole Family
Storage Guidelines for Fruits & Vegetables (PDF)
The Zen of Food Preservation (PDF)
101 Jam Recipes