Cold weather calls for comfort food. In search of inspired winter dinner ideas to bookmark this season, we turned to some of our favorite foodies for new ways to put cold-weather produce to good use. Spanning a creamy sweet potato soup topped with burrata and sage pesto to a decadent coq au vin with cheesy cauliflower grits, these winter dinners are best enjoyed when it's freezing outside. After all, 'tis the season for indulging a little, right?
White Bean Chicken Soup
The Recipe: White Bean Chicken Soup
The Hero Ingredient: Now that they're in season and have reached peak deliciousness, the oft-overlooked staple soup veggies—carrots, celery, and swiss chard—really shine in this recipe.
The Pro Tip: Just before serving, a squeeze of lemon lends a welcome brightness to the soup. "If you like it a little bit more 'bright,' add more lemon juice," recommends recipe creator Natalie of The Modern Proper.
Slow Cooker Mushroom Mac and Cheese
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Mushroom Mac and Cheese
The Hero Ingredient: The decadent four-cheese blend of gruyère, sharp cheddar, parmesan, and cream cheese sets this slow cooker mac and cheese apart from the rest.
The Pro Tip: "In order to infuse the mac and cheese with the nutty, earthy flavor we all love so much about mushrooms [flip] the caps, [fill] them with butter, and [place] them along the top of the dish in the last hour of cooking," instructs recipe creator Natalie of The Modern Proper.
Loaded Sweet Potato With Chipotle Cashew Cream
The Recipe: Loaded Sweet Potato with Chipotle Cashew Cream
The Hero Ingredient: Although you might be tempted to write off the chipotle cashew cream as just a baked potato topping, it is 100% worth the extra effort to make. Sure, you have to soak the nuts overnight—but after that initial time-consuming step, it only takes 10 minutes to whip up.
Though these sweet potatoes are loaded with shredded chicken, you could easily make them vegan by swapping with tofu or black beans.
The Pro Tip: "If you happen to fall in the category where sweet potatoes aren't really your thing, you could totally sub a yukon gold or a russet potato, but you really would be missing out on the complex sweetness of the sweet potato playing off all of the savory toppings," notes recipe creator Natalie of The Modern Proper.
Golden Sweet Potato Soup With Burrata and Sage Pesto
The Hero Ingredient: You won't be able to resist the crazy-delicious, winter-appropriate pesto made with pan-fried sage that tops this soup.
The Pro Tip: "About the burrata, some might find it unnecessary to add," says recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest, but "it's the perfect creamy cheese to go atop this sweet and savory soup. It will take your soup to a new and delicious level," she continues.
Apple Butter and Sage Pork Chops
The Recipe: Apple Butter and Sage Pork Chops
The Hero Ingredient: The apple butter lends just the right amount of sweetness to this savory recipe. When paired with fresh Honeycrisp apples in the pan, it creates layers of flavor that are, in a word, perfection.
The Pro Tip: "This recipe takes thirty minutes tops and uses under ten ingredients," reveals Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest, making it a great go-to meal on busy winter weeknights.
Roasted Mushroom Kale Pizza
The Recipe: Roasted Mushroom Kale Pizza
The Hero Ingredient: Fig preserves stand in for a traditional tomato-based sauce in this winterized pizza recipe.
The Pro Tip: "Make sure your pizza dough is at room temperature before you begin to roll it out," advisees Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "If the dough is at all cold it will just spring back at you and not roll out very easily. Room temperature [dough makes] for a perfectly baked thin crust, with crisp edges and a soft center."
Smoky Squash Chili With Quinoa, Pinto, and Black Beans
The Hero Ingredient: Brace yourself: This chili contains cocoa powder. The unsweetened variety lends an additional depth of flavor to this smoky, spicy, stick-to-your-ribs-thick chili.
The Pro Tip: "If you're opening a can of chipotles to get the adobo sauce and you enjoy some extra spice, chop one of the actual chipotles up and add them to the chili along with the adobo sauce," recommends recipe creator Laura of The First Mess.
Coq Au Vin With Cheesy Cauliflower Grits
The Recipe: Coq au Vin with Cheesy Cauliflower Grits
The Hero Ingredient: The pancetta. As the first thing into the pot, the salty, cured pork belly meat sets the tone for the flavor of the dish and lends its deliciousness to every ingredient that follows.
The Pro Tip: When pulsing the cauliflower grits in your electric mixer, keep in mind that they should have a grit-like texture. "If the mixture is too thick, add in the reserved chicken stock 2 tablespoons at a time," offers recipe creator Sarah of Broma Bakery.
Simple Mushroom Gnocchi
The Recipe: Simple Mushroom Gnocchi
The Hero Ingredient: Sweet caramelized onions balance out the earthy, buttery mushrooms and the crunchy toasted pine nuts in this simple winter pasta dish.
The Pro Tip: "This dish is great served simply with a bitter green salad, or alongside roast beef or slow-roasted lamb," suggests recipe creator Sarah of Stuck in the Kitchen.