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How to Cook Winter Vegetables: Rev it Up!

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Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.) 

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Rev it Up!

It’s the season of root vegetables, winter squash, and bitter greens. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash are nature’s candy! (Admittedly, it’s still easy at this point in the season to be excited about root vegetables… check back in late February.) One of my favorite winter vegetables is the lowly, oft-overlooked rutabaga. All manner of turnips are the okra of winter vegetables. People despise them. I love their sweet-bitter delciousness. Granted, in comparison, it’s pretty hard to get excited about rutabaga when thinking about a vine-ripe summer tomato…. how to cook winter vegetables on

Vegetable Cookbook Authors and Chefs 

Need some inspiration? Check out this list of some of my favorite vegetable chefs and cookbook authors. (Some of vegan or vegetarian, but not all.)

One of my go-to vegetable cookbooks  Eat Your Vegetables: Bold Recipes for the Single Cook by my friend and colleague Joe Yonan food editor for the Washington Post.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.) 

sweet potato galette

Eat Your Vegetables

It’s perfect for anyone looking to expand their vegetarian and plant-based repertoire. The recipes are eclectic, flavorful, and yes, inspired. The ideas are fresh and out of the box. This cookbook will help you get more plants on your plate — even in the dead of winter. Yes, it’s a cookbook for cooking for one, but I’ve found the many of the recipes are very agreeable to scaling up or, as with the recipe I am featuring below, the portions are fine to share with one person. The main thing is that this book will help you think about cooking vegetables in a whole new light.


Winter Vegetable Recipes

I hope you enjoy scoping out some new authors and enjoy Joe’s recipe from Eat Your Vegetables for a Sweet Potato Galette. Just to prove these rustic rutabagas can be rewarding, I’m sharing my recipe for a Revved Up Rutabaga Puree. I’m certain you will like them both. 😉

Bon Appétit Y’all!
Virginia Willis 

how to cook winter vegetables on

Revved Up Rutabaga Puree

Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Course: Side Dish, vegetable
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: mash, puree, rutabaga, side dish
Servings: 4
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock or reduced fat low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large rutabaga peeled and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Place the stock, cubed rutabaga, and butter in a medium saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the rutabaga is tender to the point of a knife, about 30 minutes.
  • To make the puree, using a slotted spoon, transfer the cubes to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or the jar of a blender. Add the garlic and process until a smooth puree. If the mixture is too thick, add some or all of the cooking liquid, if necessary. If too thin, transfer to a clean saucepan and cook over low heat to evaporate some of the moisture. Add thyme leaves and pulse to combine. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. If needed, re-warm the puree over medium-low heat. Serve immediately.

sweet potato galette

Sweet Potato Galette with Mushrooms and Kale

Serves 1-2
Servings: 2
Author: Virginia Willis


  • 1 cup lightly packed kale leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika pimentón, or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (for more heat)
  • 1 very small onion or large shallot lobe finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces oyster or other variety meaty mushrooms stemmed and chopped
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1 small 6- to 8-ounce sweet potato, scrubbed but not peeled, cut in 1/8-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons grated Comté Gruyère, or other nutty mountain cheese
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsalted pecan or walnut halves
  • 1 green onion trimmed and thinly sliced


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Strip the kale leaves from the stems and coarsely chop the leaves. Thinly slice the stems and keep them separate from the leaves.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. When it starts to shimmer, sprinkle in the pimenton and let it sizzle and bloom for a few seconds, then add the onion, garlic, and sliced kale stems and sauté until tender. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they collapse and release their liquid, then add the kale leaves and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt to taste and remove from the heat.
  • Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into a small, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Carefully arrange half of the sweet potato slices in the skillet in concentric circles, overlapping to form a couple of layers; sprinkle each layer with a little salt as you go. Spoon on the mushroom-kale mixture, and top with the grated cheese.
  • Arrange the remaining sweet potato slices on top, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt as you go. Press the galette with a spatula, cover the skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until the sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • While the galette is baking, sprinkle the pecans into a small skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the nuts start to brown and become fragrant, a few minutes. Immediately transfer them to a plate to cool; if you leave them to cool in the pan, they can burn. Once they are cool, chop them.
  • Remove the galette from the oven and take off the foil. Turn the oven to broil and slide the skillet under the broiler element or flame until the sweet potatoes just brown on top.
  • Let the galette cool for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the skillet to loosen it. Invert a plate over the skillet and, using oven mitts, hold the skillet and plate together and quickly flip the two so the plate is on the bottom and set it on the counter. Lift off the skillet. Some of the potato slices may stick to the pan; use a spatula to scrape them out and patch up the galette.
  • Sprinkle with the green onion slices and nuts and eat. (If you prefer, you can leave the galette in the pan and cut wedges out of it for eating.)

All Photos by Virginia Willis – except the Sweet Potato Galette

Sweet Potato Galette: Reprinted with permission from Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography credit: Matt Armendariz © 2013

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Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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