Shit! What’s For Dinner?

5 Recipes for the Darkest Season

Quick and easy winter dishes

Mark Bittman
Published in
3 min readJan 12, 2021


A bowl of mussels
Photo: Shyman/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Winter is always “the darkest season,” but this one more than most. While what we decide to cook and eat usually can’t make our problems disappear, it can soothe us, center us, fortify us, or consume our attention in welcome ways, even if only for a few minutes. For anyone in need of something to cook this week or beyond, here are five ideas that have been bouncing around my head (and my stove). For the most part, they’re simple, quick to make, don’t require any exotic or supremely expensive ingredients, and are, most importantly for the dark days ahead, warm and comforting. Read on for more.

1. Chickpea Soup With Almonds

If chorizo is your thing, try adding some with the onions and garlic.

In a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, cook a thinly sliced small onion, some smashed garlic, about a half cup of slivered almonds, salt, pepper, and a pinch of smoked paprika for about five minutes. Add a can of chickpeas (or your own cooked chickpeas; either with their liquid) and four cups of chicken broth or water; use a potato masher or wooden spoon to break down some of the chickpeas. Cook and stir until warmed through and serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley if you like.

2. Warm Cabbage Salad With Bacon

You can serve this over greens, like arugula, or not; I prefer to add a couple handfuls of homemade croutons to this, which is nice and hearty for the winter.

Chop a few slices of bacon and cook until brown. Meanwhile, use a food processor to shred a small head of red cabbage and a red onion. Add them to the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are wilting. Add a tablespoon of mustard seeds, two tablespoons of sugar, and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar; continue cooking until the cabbage is tender and the liquid has evaporated. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

3. Panini With Mushrooms and Fontina

If you can make grilled cheese, you can make panini; just use another pan or lid to press on the sandwich while it cooks in a skillet.



Mark Bittman

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at