Stock up on these versatile picks and flavor-makers and your dishes will taste (almost) as good as hers.

By By Genevieve Ko
December 24, 2018
Photo: Christina Emilie

Julia Turshen believes vegetables have many lives. Take kale. She'll turn it into a dinner salad one night (like this kale pomegranate chicken caesar salad with pumpkin seeds), but she won't stop there. Leftovers get folded into cooked rice, simmered into soup with chorizo and potatoes, or baked into a frittata loaded with herbs.

"To transform dishes, I keep an arsenal of essentials in the pantry: nuts for extra texture and flavor; capers, chile flakes, garlic, good olive oil, and salt," Turshen says. She stocks her fridge with lemons and leafy herbs to add brightness. "These simple ingredients let you turn your favorite winter vegetables into all sorts of creations," she says. "Layer on a few special staples, like olives and cheese, and you've got even more options." (Related: Everything You Need to Stick with Your Resolution to Cook More)

As for the produce itself, Turshen hits up the farmers markets near her upstate New York home for things like cabbage, onions, carrots, turnips, and beets. She also stocks up on brussels sprouts and winter squash of all kinds. "I get lots of bell peppers too," Turshen says. "Everyone thinks of them as summer vegetables, but they actually hit their peak in the fall." (Related: Moroccan Chicken with Green Olives, Chickpeas & Kale)

Then there's the seasonal fruit she loves, especially apples and pears. "They keep for a while, so you can buy a bunch," she says. Best of all, because they're so versatile, she can create several meals and desserts by combining them with ingredients she already has in her pantry-perfect for those cold, snowy nights.