Over two years ago, I moved to New York City. Among other things, that meant I was finally going to have to deal with freezing temperatures and lots of snow. At first, I was apprehensive about the drastic change, but at the same time, I was excited for new experiences. Nowadays, I have a much greater appreciation for snow-filled winters, but honestly, that has a lot to do with the hearty winter meals that comes as a result.
In Southern California, meals are usually relatively light since we enjoy such a mild climate. When I moved to New York City, all of that changed, and I finally realized why people eat heartier foods during the winter. You need the heavy, hearty dishes to warm you up and keep you energized through the long, cold winter days.
Here are some of my top choices for hearty winter meals, based on our travels around the world and my upbringing! If you feel so inclined to try out any of these delicious dishes, recipes are attached!
8 Hearty Winter Meals to Try this Season:
Chiles en Nogada
At the top of my list is a Mexican dish that, to me, is synonymous with family and the holidays. One of my great aunts from Mexico has routinely traveled up to Southern California and made us one of the greatest hearty winter meals. She would typically spend a whole day filling poblano chilis with picadillo (ground beef, pomegranate, and a few other fruits and spices), topping it with a walnut cream sauce, and putting them in the oven for a few hours until they were ready. This dish is famous for having the colors of the Mexican flag!
Try: Raisin & Fig’s recipe for Chiles en Nogada
This dish is one of our favorites, so I couldn’t leave it off of our list of hearty winter meals. Goulash varies from country to country, but the original (and the best) is Hungarian. Farmers needed all the energy they could get, so this hearty winter meal was packed with meat and vegetables. The most common way to indulge is with beef shank, carrots, potatoes, and a touch of red wine!
Try: Food Network’s recipe for Hungarian Goulash
This dish is a new favorite of ours. Maddy and I discovered the Czech comfort food while exploring Prague’s Christmas market a few weeks ago. To us, it looked like mac and cheese, but it turned out to be so much better! A mixture of soft noodles or potato dumplings, cheese, cabbage, onions, and salty bacon turns out to be one of the best hearty winter meals you can get!
Try: This Czech family’s recipe for Halušky
Since I’m Mexican, I had to throw in one more classic that I grew up with: pozole. This is probably the winter meal that reminds me of the holidays the most. The main ingredients are delicious pieces of hominy, meat (either pork or chicken, depending on the region), red chili peppers, cabbage, and lots of lime juice. This is the typical way, but I love to add avocado and a generous serving of hot sauce.
Try: Pati’s Mexican Table’s recipe for Red Pozole
Although this used to be a medieval peasant meal, ribollita packs in so many great flavors that it’s now a favorite dish throughout Tuscany. Back in the Middle Ages, Tuscany was the home to many working-class people. They all had to make the most of their resources, and so ribollita was born! Rather than waste any food, they created a potage of sorts that contains all sorts of common vegetables including carrot, cabbage, kale, and onions, as well as the main ingredients: leftover bread and cannellini beans. The combination of all of these ingredients is more than filling!
Try: Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe for Ribollita
Beef Noodle Soup
Beef noodle soup is a Chinese stew containing braised beef, beef broth, vegetables, and Chinese noodles. Simple, yet so tasty, filling, and hearty. It’s everything you could want during the wintertime, especially when it’s made in a spicy manner (and it usually is). My Chinese roommate introduced me to this dish, and since then, it has been one of my favorite hearty winter meals for the coldest months!
Try: Omnivore Cookbook’s recipe for Chinese Beef Noodle Soup
Persian Lamb Tagine
Both Southern California and New York boast a large Persian population, so I’m no stranger to Persian food. If you haven’t tried it or are not really sure about it, then Persian lamb tagine is the dish for you. And to be honest, this is a dish that just about anyone would love (except vegetarians, obviously). This stew is made with a variety of different ingredients that come together in the most perfect way, from cinnamon and cumin, to apricots and dates. Not all hearty winter meals take advantage of the sweetness of fruit, but this stew perfects it.
Try: BBC Good Food’s recipe for Persian Lamb Tagine
Arancini are stuffed rice balls, deep-fried, and often filled with ragu, mozzarella, and peas, among many other ingredients. These little balls make up the perfect meal when you’re looking to indulge – which the Sicilians figured out in about the 10th century. Clearly, these rice balls are delicious because they’ve endured the test of time!
Try: Just a Taste’s recipe for Arancini with Marinara Sauce
8 Hearty winter meals to try this season!
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this list as much as I enjoyed making it! Now it’s up to you to test these recipes out with family and friends!
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Over yo you! Obviously, I missed tons of other meals that are perfect for cold weather – these are just some of our favorites. What dishes to you love to eat during the winter, whether cooked at home or ordered in a restaurant?
Featured image source: Wikimedia Commons, by Thelmadatter, CC BY-SA 3.0
Hello ! :)
Haha apparently you’re into food this past few articles !
I’d love to try everything you just said ! But my favorite meal to have in winter is quiche, sooooo tasty.
Great article ! :)
Kenza from https://travelwithkenza.blogspot.com/
Maddy & Mauricio says
Really though…we’re always into food! ;)
Oooh, that’s a good one too! Thanks for sharing!!
Gabi @ Books & Trips says
Yum, everything looks delicious!!! I’ve only tried the beef noodle soup, but then again we do not have much of the Mexican specialties in Romania! Gotta start exploring your part of the world for the food!!!
Maddy & Mauricio says
Definitely! Food is as good a reason as any to come over here – if not the best reason! ;)
Oooh the first dish with the pomegranates looks delicious!
Maddy & Mauricio says
So so good! Try making it yourself if you’re feeling adventurous! ;)
Fel & Wes says
Between the both of us, we’ve got Hungarian, Mexican and Italian backgrounds and we love seeing some of our favourites on your list :) Great post!
Maddy & Mauricio says
Yep, each of those countries have contributed some amazing food to this world! Thanks for commenting! :)