In Season Meals for January

Food plays a massive role in sustainable living. Think about it. We eat three meals a day. When it comes to shopping and consuming, food is the number one item we buy most. 

So it should come as NO surprise that one of the best ways to have a positive impact on the planet is to eat in-season, local produce. As a bonus, it also just tastes about 1,000 times better. Seriously!

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I wanted to start a new series where I round up all of the current in-season produce for North America and then list out a few recipes. Some of the recipes are old favorites and others are new ones that I'm going to whipping up. 

All of the recipes will be vegetarian and vegan because another great way to have a positive impact with your diet is to reduce the amount of animal products you consume. 

If you're looking for more tips, be sure to check out our Foodie's Guide to Saving the Planet detailing all the ways you can eat your way to a healthier Earth. 

I'll also try and pick out meals that are perfect for making in large batches so you can cook once and eat twice or even three times. Because who doesn't love leftovers!? 

what's in season this Jan? 

As far as months go, January is pretty barren. It's definitely the middle of winter and there's not a lot of fresh produce around. 

If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, here are the goodies you can expect to find!

Citrus (mandarins, oranges, grapefruits, pomelos)
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Celery Root
Greens (arugula, collards, dandelion, kale)
Parsnips (root crops)
Squash (winter)

I think the bright spot in January is CITRUS! I look forward to citrus season every year because clementines are my j-a-m. That being said, I don't feel like clementine jam would be that tasty... 

Anyways, don't be surprised to find a hefty dose of recipes including my beloved citrus below. 

breakfast:

If you're looking for a Saturday morning treat, then look no further than these gorgeous citrus ricotta pancakes! I personally like to substitute the ricotta for tofu. It will give these pancakes a hit of protein so you'll stay satisfied and avoid the sugar crash. 

If you're looking for something you can grab-and-go for work, then you've got to give these squash apple turnovers a try. This is finger food at it's finest, and it's got a mix of flavors hitting sweet, salty, acid, a little bit of chew but mostly creamy melt in your mouth goodness! Wrap these cuties in a beeswax wrap of a snack-sized stasher bag perfect for your morning commute. 

Now, if you want to make something fancy on Sunday morning that you can snack on all week long for breakfast, lunch, or dinner then look no further than this asparagus, mushroom, and goat cheese quiche with a crispy spaghetti squash crust. Serve this with a side salad and roasted potatoes for a perfect breakfast/brunch/lunch! Bring it to work in a small glass container so you can pop it in the microwave or in the toaster. 

lunch:

I pretty much only eat lunch at work. If I'm at home, I'm probably eating brunch around 10:30 or 11. So, all of these lunches will be super easy to make, take on the go, and store in a mason jar.

I'm a big soup fan, and this curried winter squash and apple soup, is one of my favorites! You can also sub the squash for carrots - it's equally as delicious. Swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock and use non-dairy yogurt for topping, and you have a delicious and filling soup to sip at your desk. 

When it comes to lunch, I am definitely a soup and salad kind of girl, but I have no desire to eat cold lettuce in Jan. So, I'm swapping out my lettuce for noodles and no one is complaining! This citrus ginger tofu salad with soba noodles tastes great cold, hot, or just lukewarm. 

I don't think quesadillas travel super well, and this wouldn't fit in a mason jar, but if I were making lunch at home, I would definitely give this butternut squash and black bean quesadilla a try! 

If you haven't noticed, squash is a recurring theme. You can roast a bunch of different squashes at the beginning of the week and then assemble them into different meals. 

The key to meal prepping is prepping ingredients you can use in a variety of different dishes and flavor profiles so you don't get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. 

Prep some squash, rice, noodles, and marinate some tofu and you'll be assembling all of your meals in 30 minutes of less! 

dinner:

Welcome to the hardest meal of the day to make! Dinner has to come together in a snap for me or I'm just eating crackers or worse - ordering takeout. 

We all know that takeout typically comes with a bunch of trash so here are a few recipes to get you excited about cooking. 

I LOVE panang curry, and this winter squash and tofu panang curry looks divine! And, if you've got your rice, squash, and tofu prepped like I suggested earlier, this recipe will com together in a snap! 

I just found this recipe and I want to give it a try so bad. This recipe looks like it would be so creamy and smoky with that perfect blend of sweet and salty - sign me up! If you're making this pumpkin poblano casserole, it calls for evaporated milk. 

Evaporated milk is made by heating regular milk to remove about 60% of the water, creating a concentrated and slightly caramelized version of milk so feel free to substitute this with a can of coconut cream or a creamier homemade nut milk.

You can make a homemade nut milk creamier or thicker by simply reducing the amount of water you use in it's creation. So, instead of using 1/3 cup of cashews to 3-4 cups of water. Only use 1-2 cups of water instead. 

I'm also dying to try this butternut squash and spinach lasagna! Substitute tofu with the ricotta to add some protein to this dish and you won't lose any of the creamy texture! 

And, a non-squash dish because it's about time we had a non-squash recipe. Give this kung-pao brussel sprouts dish a try and pair with some of that rice you prepped! I personally think the secret to perfect brussel sprouts is to steam them for a few minutes and then finish them by roasting them in the oven - OMG - they're so good!! 

dessert: 

And, there's no way this list of recipes would be complete without dessert! I have a massive sweet tooth, and I know in Jan. we're supposed to be eating super healthy, but - I mean - dessert. 

If you've got a festive event like a birthday can I recommend this show-stopping upside-down winter citrus cake

Or if you just want a little treat in your lunch box, you've got to give these coconut citrus cookies a try. You'll be dreaming about tropical vacations and sunshine with every bite. 

Which recipe will you be making this Jan?