What’s in Season? Winter edition

Cooking - empty pot with autumn (fall) vegetables around

By Julie Hutter, RD, CDE

This is the third blog article in our What’s in Season? Series

During the long winter months, comfort foods take center-stage in our diets. Although the growing season in Canada slows down, nutrition and flavour doesn’t have to.

Root vegetables, such as squash, potatoes and parsnips, grow best during this time of year, but keep in mind that they can contain high amounts of potassium. Yellow crookneck, scallop, and spaghetti squash are among the most kidney-friendly of the bunch. See our blog post for different ways to prepare root vegetables when following a kidney diet: https://www.kidneycommunitykitchen.ca/dietitians-blog/lower-potassium-potatoes/.

Enjoying in-season* produce has many benefits.  At its freshest, it offers maximal flavour, provides important nutrients to support our health, and reduces our environmental footprint. Purchasing in-season produce also helps to support our local communities and farmers. Additionally, it is more widely available at grocery stores and tends to be less expensive than out-of-season varieties.

The following low-potassium fruits and vegetables can be enjoyed during the colder months:


  • Fruits: crabapples, pears, greenhouse strawberries
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms, napa cabbage, onion, radish, rutabaga, squash


  • Fruits: pears, greenhouse strawberries
  • Vegetables: cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, mushrooms, onion, squash

 Produce is quite versatile, and can often be used to make   appetizers, entrées or even desserts! Below are three ways to enjoy leeks:

#1: In a soup

Cauliflower and Leek Soup https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a21960741/cauliflower-leek-soup/

Colder weather signals soup season! For this recipe, omit the kosher salt and bacon, and use a broth made without added salt to support kidney and heart health. Omit the potato as well if following a low potassium kidney diet.

#2: In an entrée

Mushroom and Leek Pie https://www.kidneycommunitykitchen.ca/kkcookbook/recipes/mushroom-and-leek-pie/

This recipe can be enjoyed at any meal, but can also be made as individual portions and served as an appetizer.

#3: As a side dish

Barley with Sautéed Leeks, Peas, and Parsley  https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a35350/barley-sauteed-leeks-peas-parsley-recipe-wdy0213/

Pearl barley is not only delicious and filling, but is so versatile since it pairs well with various animal- and plant-based proteins. Omit the kosher salt to support kidney and heart health.

*In-season produce may vary depending on your location and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in your area.