A New Years Resolution: Adventures in Trying New Foods, from Artichokes to Okra

I’m not usually one for making your typical kind of new year’s resolutions. I don’t see why you ought to put off until tomorrow, what you could start today.

But, I am one for lists (which we already established here). I am one for setting goals and letting those lists guide you through them.

So I decided that this year, I might attempt a different sort of resolution: Try incorporating new foods into my menu plan, each month. There are so many different foods—fruits, legumes, veggies and grains—that I really want to try, but always chicken out of purchasing because I’m not sure how to use it or I am more comfortable with this or that.

Excuses, excuses.

I plan to rectify that this year, by trying out a new-to-me whole food each month. I figure that will give me enough time to source out a variety of recipes that will put the food to good use and won’t be overwhelming, which is usually what steers me away.

Want to see my month-by-month list of foods to try out during the course of this resolution? Here’s the line-up I have in mind:
January: Kale*
February: Brussels sprouts*
March: Cabbage*
April: Lentils
May: Artichokes
June: Quinoa
July: Okra
August: Figs*
September: Eggplant*
October: Turnips
November: Pomegranates
December: Winter squash*
(Where appropriate, I’ll also try to stick to foods that are in season for my region that month, which I’ve noted in the list with an asterick [*]. If you want to see what produce is in season where you are, you can find out with this interactive map.)

Save for the winter squash, I have never cooked with any of these ingredients, and I’ve only made one dish or two dishes with a butternut squash. It’s time to shake things up around here!

I will try to post updates about how my adventures that month with my new food went, as well as any good recipes I try. (I also started a board on Pinterest specifically for this challenge to keep track of some recipes I want to try. You can see and follow that board here.)

Speaking of which, if you know of any good recipes for using any of those ingredients, I’d love to hear your recommendations! Also, if you want to join me on this new year’s resolution to try new foods, let me know what’s on your list. Let’s get adventurous together!

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  1. That's a really good resolution!

    Brussel sprouts are yummy chopped and stir-fried with bacon or pine nuts.
    Squash, especially butternut is delicious roasted or as a soup.

  2. What a great idea! :) We have been eating a lot of winter squash at our house. So far, our favorite is baked acorn squash with cinnamon & a little sugar!

    Also, brussels are yummy when roasted! Wash, pull off a few of the outer leaves, cut in half & steam. Then sprinkle with some seasoning & pop 'em under the broiler until they get a little brown. Mmmm Mmmmm!! :)

  3. Love this idea! If you haven't had eggplant parm, I would highly recommend it :)

  4. for a great fruit smoothie with kale: http://prettyglorious.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/foodie-friday-il-mostro-verde/

  5. We LOVE lentils at our house! So cheap and SO good for you. I also like that they don't require soaking like other beans. I posted a recipe on our blog for a dish we like to eat called Lentils and Spinach. My husband does not like meatless meals, much to my disappointment, so I usually add cooked, shredded chicken or cooked sausage to the final product.

  6. Thanks so much for all the great suggestions! I think I'm definitely going to try kale in a smoothie, and can't wait to try the roasted brussels sprouts two of you suggested! Feel free to pass along any other pointers you might have :)

  7. This is such a great idea! Lentil soup is always filling and easy. Kale is great in salads (www.ohsheglows.com has a huge variety on kale recipes) and smoothies. Sauteed cabbage is lovely and simple. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

  8. This salad http://pinterest.com/pin/27514247692998446/ is great way to eat a lot of fresh veggies, particularly cabbage (if you're eating it over a few days, as water gets drawn out of the veggies, to prevent it getting too soggy you can periodically add a cup of shredded cabbage and it boosts it right back up.) I haven't made this http://pinterest.com/pin/27514247693084647/ yet, but it sounds great and includes butternut squash and quinoa. Most people would never eat stuffing outside of November, but this dish gets a lot flavor from artichokes http://pinterest.com/pin/27514247693074644/

  9. Oh, thanks for all the great recommendations, Kalli! I repinned all those suggestions; they look delicious, especially that salad!

    Urban Wife, I love Oh She Glows! I have only been following it for a month or so, so I'll have to dig through the archives for more ideas. Thanks for the reminder!

  10. What a great idea! Kale was new for us a few years ago and I found a few recipes on Heidi Swanson's blog that have become favorites around here: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/giant-chipotle-white-beans-recipe.html and http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/matchstick-pasta-recipe.html I'm looking forward to reading about your cooking adventures!

  11. All of the above are good.

    I recently discovered that I LOVE artichokes and quinoa =D

    Trying new things is always a good "resolution" for any time of the year.

  12. This list is a great idea! I made an artichoke hummus recently that was awesome. Essentially I just made a basic hummus recipe and added artichoke. I know you've posted a hummus recipe on your blog, so you could try incorporating artichokes into that. I used this recipe (and added artichokes of course!): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/hummus-iii/detail.aspx

    I've also seen quite a few recipes for spinach and artichoke hummus online, though I haven't tried it. It sounds wonderful though!

  13. LOVE THIS IDEA! What a fun way to approach the New Year... by trying new foods!!! I think I may have to try this too! Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. Carmen,
    This is a very exiting resolution! I really like that you’ve already decided which foods you’ll be trying each month. It’s very inspiring, I think I might try to do something like this too!

    I’m currently making a ham and lentil soup for tonight’s dinner, and so far it’s wonderfull! This is also my first time cooking with lentils.

    I will sometimes brush kale with olive oil, salt and pepper, and broil them till crispy to make chips.

    I will slice cabbage and sauté it in butter, salt and pepper, till it’s just turning bright green, then add a dash or two of red wine vinegar to give it a bit of tartness. This goes wonderfully with Guinness beef stew and mashed potatoes! (perfect for St. Patrick’s day!)

    Artichokes steamed in water, white wine and lemon juice, served with melted butter or even a hollandaise would make a lovely appetizer for entertaining!

    And if I can ever get my hands on small young turnips from my local csa, I’ll slice them into rounds and sauté them in butter salt and pepper till tender.

    Sometimes the most simplistic preparations are the best!
    Best of luck,

  15. Love, love, love all the tips and ideas! I especially like your points, Donna, about how the simplest of recipes can sometimes be the tastiest. I will keep that in mind as I test out these foods this year! Thanks so much for all your encouragement and ideas. I'll keep you posted :)

  16. Great idea! My sister and I are going to try the "Daniel Diet" eating only veggies and fruits for 10 days and using it as a half-fast sort of thing. I'll be looking at this list for some good ideas to spice it up a little. :)

  17. Okra is my favorite veggie on the planet! I don't have any recipes for you though :(. Maybe I should try cooking it this year.


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