Texas Living

Sichuan-Inspired Winter Vegetable Recipes

By Peter Simek 2.10.20

Texas’s temperate climate doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy more than a few cozy, cold winter days. What it does mean is that much of the state is lucky enough to have multiple growing seasons. And for the intrepid gardener who is ready with some plastic cover wrap to protect herbs and vegetables from sudden winter frosts, it is not uncommon to enjoy fresh produce even during the winter months.

The vegetables that do best this time of year are the hearty ones, which may be why they are most associated with cozy, savory dishes on cold winter evenings. Roots like radishes, turnips, beets, and carrots may conjure rich stews, but there are many ways you can transform your winter harvest into delicious, zesty, and easy-to-make dishes that make for the perfect weekday pickup.

If you haven’t gotten your garden in this year, it’s also easy enough to find fresh winter vegetables at your local grocery store. Whip up one of these three wintry recipes and serve over rice!

Photography by Imani Chet Lytle

Sichuan Bok Choy With Radish

Sichuan cuisine is spicy and simple, with flavors coming together to accentuate the underlying ingredients. This recipe uses a classic Sichuan sauce to add life to a mix of bok choy and radish. It’s easy and quick to make and can spruce up any weekday meal.

For the sauce:
5 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons water
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 ½ teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons corn starch

For the stir-fry:
2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon ginger
1 large garlic clove
1 cup radishes, quartered
1 head of bok choy

1. Whisk the sauce ingredients in a bowl and allow the mixture to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Slice the bok choy in 1-inch-wide strips, separating the thicker white stems from the green leaves.
3. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the radishes and cook for 3 minutes before adding the bok choy stems. Cook for an additional 3 minutes while stirring so the water released from the bok choy can evaporate.
4. Add the garlic and ginger. Continue to cook while stirring until it begins to give off a strong aroma. Be careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the bok choy greens and stir for a minute, or until they just begin to wilt. Pour the sauce into the wok, stirring until evenly coated. Add additional soy sauce to taste.

Photography by Imani Chet Lytle

Spicy and Sour Cabbage

Cabbage is a hearty, nutritious vegetable that gets a bad rap for being bland. If your only memories of cabbage are of a soggy mush that you were forced to eat as a child, then it’s time to become reacquainted with everything cabbage has to offer. This recipe calls for quickly sautéing the cabbage to keep it crisp, then dressing it with a tangy sauce that adds just enough spice to zest the finish.

For the sauce:
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 ½ teaspoon sugar

For the stir-fry:
1 medium head of napa cabbage, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons crushed Sichuan peppercorns
2 green onions, diced

1. Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a wok and skillet over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the peppercorns and let cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the garlic and onions and stir until you can smell the garlic, around 15 seconds.
4. Add in the cabbage and a tablespoon of water. Mix quickly before tossing in the sauce. Stir-fry the cabbage in the sauce until it just begins to soften. (It should only take a couple of minutes.)

Photography by Imani Chet Lytle

Chinese Roasted Root Vegetables

This recipe adds a lively kick to a simple roasted-vegetable medley. Feel free to add any of your favorite root vegetables.

For the sauce:
¾ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic, grated
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons ground Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon corn starch

For the vegetables:
1 sweet potato
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 turnip, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled and copped
5 medium-sized carrots, peeled

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Blend ingredients and set aside.
3. Place the vegetables in a bowl and toss with olive oil and around 2 teaspoons of salt.
4. Spread the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet, place in the center of the oven, and roast for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the vegetables and return to the bowl. Toss with the sauce.
6. Return the vegetables to the baking sheet and finish in the oven until a fork easily pierces them, about 10 more minutes.

Find more winter recipes here.

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