Pleni ingredient spotlight: dishes for the winter season

Posted by Allyson Owens on


Happy holidays, Pleni family! To celebrate the festive season, we’ve put together three cozy recipes featuring natural ingredients we use in our products. These are perfect to whip up over the next couple of days as 2019 comes to a close — and they’re also great to have on hand for all the chilly winter nights to come. Read on for the dishes!

Warm cinnamon apples

This unbelievably warming winter treat might just be the food equivalent of sitting by a crackling fire wearing your favorite cuddly sweater. Made using a few simple ingredients (most of which you probably already have on hand), cinnamon-spiced apples can be made in either a saucepan on the stove or in a crockpot.

Saucepan method:

  • 4 to 6 apples of your choice (a mix of red and green works beautifully!), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp butter (or vegan butter alternative)

In a large mixing bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix well to coat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the apple mixture to the pan. Add the water and butter, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the apples reach your desired tenderness.

Crockpot method:

  • 6 apples of your choice (a mix of red and green works beautifully!), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, cubed (or vegan butter alternative)

Combine all ingredients in your crockpot. Stir to coat the apples in the spices.

Cook on low for four hours. Enjoy!

Raw broccoli, walnut, and cranberry salad

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself when the weather’s on the cold side (or ever, really) — but if you find yourself craving something ultra-healthy, this raw salad will do the trick. Featuring Pleni ingredients broccoli and cranberry, this is a crisp, crunchy, bright dish that’ll nourish your mind as well as your body.

For the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ¼ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Big pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar. Screw on the lid, and shake to combine.

For the salad:

  • 2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup bacon, chopped and cooked (optional or use vegan bacon alternative)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Top with your dressing, and toss to combine.

Spiced orange-clove cookies

Zesty orange meets warming spices in these pillowy winter cookies. Known for its invigorating properties, orange anchors this recipe with a touch of both zest and extract, while the full spectrum of seasonal spice staples (Ginger! Cinnamon! Nutmeg!) adds pleasant complexity and festive cheer. Don’t be fooled by the long ingredient list here; these chewy cookies are super easy to make!

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (or vegan butter alternative)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, large
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ tsp orange extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (to make this gluten-free, use a 1:1 baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • More granulated sugar (to coat the dough in)

In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to cream together the butter and sugars. Add the egg, and beat until combined. Add the vanilla, molasses, orange extract, and orange zest, and beat to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add these to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined. (As always, don’t overmix!)

Refrigerate the dough for an hour. This will concentrate all those wonderful winter flavors, as well as making the dough firmer and easier to roll.

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Remove the dough from the fridge. Roll into balls, coat with more granulated sugar, and place two inches apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.

Use the back of a measuring cup to slightly flatten each cookie.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes before removing from the oven and cooling on a wire rack.

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