10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages

If there’s one thing that’s synonymous with cooler weather, it’s the fact that the season brings tons of occasions to celebrate with friends and family. Here’s a thoughtfully curated roundup of 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes that will satisfy adults and kids alike. Mix one up for your next get-together!

Title image for 10 Cold-Weather Drink Recipes to Wow All Ages.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

Am I the only one who starts getting excited about all of the fall and winter holidays in the dead heat of summer? There’s something about the endless celebrations, travel, and loads of family time that just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Not to mention the FOOD and DRINKS. The cold-weather months are a time for not only comforting, hearty foods, but also belly-warming cocktails and mocktails. They’re a time for connection, celebration, and indulgence in things you only get to partake in once or twice a year. If you ask me, the food and drink we get to consume over these next few months is reason to celebrate in itself!

With all of the family time these holiday months can bring, you’re no doubt looking for a festive beverage or two for one special occasion or another (and – let’s be honest – us big kids often need something with an extra little kick to get us through all the craziness!) These 10 cocktails and mocktails are all festive and incredibly easy to make, especially with the addition of my favorite infused syrups from Sonoma Syrup Co. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a little kid or big kid, a whiskey fan or a vodka fan.

You’ll also find a brand new cocktail recipe I created just for this roundup. My Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash features all of my favorite fall flavors (and, yes, that includes bourbon!) in one frosty glass. It’s certainly going to be on repeat in our household this holiday season. Read on for the recipe and nine other great drink ideas!

Spicy Ginger Sangria by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A glass of Spicy Ginger Sangria with glasses, ice and ginger simple syrup in the background.

Sangria is a fantastic drink for entertaining because you can make a big batch of it in advance and let adults serve themselves. This seasonally appropriate version features flavors of ginger, citrus, figs and apples – it’s like winter in a glass! And because the only booze in this recipe is red wine, the sangria isn’t nearly as strong as some of the other batch cocktails I’ve included in this roundup. Use a wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot to really make the sangria full-bodied. It will warm up cold bellies (or stressed out parents) in no time! It’s also a great option to serve for a winter brunch in lieu of mimosas.

Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails or Mocktails  by Cotter Crunch

A few glasses and a pitcher of Honey Roasted Pear Sparkling Cocktails.

I love this recipe because there’s both a cocktail and mocktail version, making it a great option when you have guests of all ages to cater to. For a fun spin on the original recipe, try substituting Infused Apple Cider Drinking Vinegar for the balsamic vinegar, or add in some Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup in lieu of the vanilla extract. Roasting fruits before adding them to cocktails gives them a whole other dimension of flavor. It’s a fun way to add an unexpected twist to whatever you’re serving!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash by CaliGirl Cooking

An overhead shot of two glasses of Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash on a wooden platter.

This festive, easy-to-make cocktail features all of my favorite fall flavors – apple, pumpkin and bourbon! Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup is a great way to add real pumpkin flavor to drinks without the extra body of pumpkin purée, and the touch of apple cider makes this drink truly next-level. It comes together in less than 10 minutes and is the perfect libation to sip on after the kids have all gone to bed and it’s time to kick up your feet.

Pay attention to the quality of apple cider you use. I like the cloudy, unfiltered stuff (usually from smaller producers) because it adds so much more flavor than the typically more watery juice.

If you want to make this recipe kid-friendly, simply omit the booze. It would also be just as tasty served warm as it would over ice!

Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This Pumpkin Apple Bourbon Smash combines the best flavors of fall to make one delicious cocktail. It takes less than 5 minutes to mix up and enjoy in front of a crackling fire.

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, apple cider, bourbon, cocktails, drinks, fall, pumpkin
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 220 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. Pumpkin Pie Latte Syrup
  • 4 ounces high-quality apple cider
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
For garnish:
  • 2 dashes ground cinnamon
  • 2 apple wheels
Instructions
  1. Combine all cocktail ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 3/4 full with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

  2. Fill two rocks glasses with ice and strain shaker contents evenly amongst the two.

  3. Add a dash of ground cinnamon to the top of each cocktail and garnish with apple wheel. Enjoy!

The Lemon Toddy by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A lemon tree with a beehive.

I don’t know about you, but I love me a good hot toddy. This Lemon Toddy can be served as-is (without the booze) or add a healthy glug of whiskey to kick things up a notch. This is the perfect drink for the dead of winter when you’re fending off colds or snuggled up in a cozy cabin with snow falling down outside. With both alcoholic and nonalcoholic options, it’s the perfect family-friendly recipe and a great way to stay healthy in a season that is rife with sickness.

Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch  by Martha Stewart

A few glasses of Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch.

This is another easy batch cocktail that can easily be made with or without booze. Liven up the entire batch with a healthy glug of gin, or split it up and omit the gin from half so there is some for kids and adults alike. The combination of apple, cranberry and ginger is like winter in a glass. You can even cut down on the ingredient list by subbing in some lemon simple syrup for the fresh lemon juice and sugar. This recipe makes four servings, but feel free to double or triple the recipe for a larger group. It’s so easy to do!

Peppermint Mocha by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A woman holding a warm peppermint mocha.

Call me basic, but I’m a HUGE fan of the peppermint mocha once the cool weather rolls around. In fact, I’ve even been known to order one after the winter holidays have passed and I’m still sporting my leather boots. With this recipe, you can easily make a Peppermint Mocha in the comfort of your own home without having to trek to Starbucks. For the kiddos, just omit the espresso and they’ll have a tasty Peppermint Hot Chocolate on their hands (and hopefully not all over their clothes.) It’s also super-easy to make it dairy-free!

SPICED Vanilla Bean Steamers  by The Kitchn

A Vanilla Bean Steamer on a tables with a jug of milk and vanilla beans in the background.

If you’re not a fan of peppermint or chocolate, this is the warm winter drink for you! This particular recipe uses tea bags, but you can also simply heat or froth up your choice of milk with some delicious Vanilla Bean Infused Simple Syrup. If you do go the tea route, feel free to branch out from just the turmeric tea mentioned here. Peppermint, chamomile and Earl Grey are all great alternatives to try instead. I love a good vanilla steamer right before bed, especially at the end of a stressful day. Think of it as an easy act of self-care when the holiday craziness gets to be too much. I guarantee it will give you a more peaceful night’s sleep, plus, this recipe is great for the kiddos, too!

Vanilla Bean Creamsicle by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A Vanilla Creamsicle cocktail in a martini glass!

While hot drinks are all the rage when the weather outside is less than ideal, this Vanilla Bean Creamsicle cocktail will no doubt warm you up inside as well. Vanilla and orange are two classic winter flavors that compliment each other nicely, and vodka will lend that extra kick you may be looking for when things get a little too hectic or stressful. This is the perfect drink to serve at an adults-only party, or even a winter lunch or brunch with your closest gal pals. Get fancy with martini glasses filled to the rim and a tasty selection of appetizers to go with!

Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog by CaliGirl Cooking

Two glasses of Winter Spiced Vanilla Eggnog amid twinkly lights.

A cold-weather drink roundup wouldn’t be complete without a classic homemade eggnog recipe! While homemade eggnog may sound intimidating, it’s really not that hard to make. And the flavor payoff is so worth it! I encourage you to give it a shot. Don’t be shy about using the raw eggs, just pay attention to where you buy them to ensure they’re of the highest quality and, of course, don’t indulge in this while pregnant. Adding plenty of Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup and of-the-season spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves make this eggnog its own party in a glass.

Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour by HGTV.com

A punch bowl of Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour with two filled glasses and sliced grapefruit alongside.

Let’s wrap up this list with one final batch cocktail! This Ginger Grapefruit Bourbon Sour is a true party in a punch bowl. There’s something about serving a punch that automatically ups the festive factor of any get-together, plus it’s easier on the host. I love that this recipe is brimming with fresh citrus and zesty ginger in addition to everyone’s favorite tummy-warmer: bourbon. And here’s a handy shortcut for ya: instead of slaving away over the stove to make your own ginger simple syrup as the recipe calls for, simply swap in Sonoma Syrup’s White Ginger Infused Simple Syrup! Your party prep just got that much easier.

So, what do you think? Out of all of these cocktail and mocktail recipes, is there one you’re just dying to make? I don’t know about you, but I hope I get the chance to give every single one of them a try.  Let me know which one you’re going to try first in the comments below!

Pomegranate Power: The 10 Best Pomegranate Syrup Recipes

Here are the 10 best recipes featuring pomegranate syrup or grenadine – just in time for peak pomegranate season. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you’re a bartender, barista, baker or chef.

Photo of two pomegranate mules used as the title graphic for the 10 best pomegranate syrup recipes.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

It’s hard to believe that we’re already at the tail-end of summer and heading into fall. While we’ve likely all seen Halloween costumes on store shelves and debates on how soon is TOO soon to bring back the pumpkin spice latte over the past couple of weeks, there’s a lot more to get excited about this time of year – like all of the amazing fall produce!

One of my favorite fall fruits is tart and tangy pomegranate, not only for its great flavor, but because it can be used in so many different ways. It can be used for savory cooking or sweet treats, cocktails or mocktails. It can even be used for your favorite coffee, tea or espresso drink! Pomegranate comes in many different forms – like seeds, juice, molasses and syrup – so its flexibility in the kitchen should come as no surprise.

You know I’ve been a huge fan of Sonoma Syrup Co.’s products for quite some time, and this time of year I can’t help but move their Pomegranate Simple Syrup and Grenadine to the front of my pantry. They’re the perfect products to have on hand as we ease into fall, whether I’m whipping up a salad featuring my favorite seasonal fruits and veggies or mixing up a cocktail.

To celebrate one of fall’s star players, I’ve rounded up 10 of my favorite recipes using pomegranate syrup or grenadine, including ways to adapt existing recipes to use these time-saving ingredients.

Let’s get to it!

Pomegranate Margarita from Sonoma Syrup Co.

A pomegranate margarita next to a fresh cracked pomegranate.

While usually rife with citrus, margaritas get a colorful (and tasty!) seasonal touch with the addition of pomegranate simple syrup. It’s the perfect way to sweeten up a typically tangy drink while also adding depth of flavor. When making a special margarita like this one, be sure you use high-quality tequila. This will not only elevate the taste even more, but also prevent you from getting a nasty hangover the next day. Look for tequilas that state “100% de agave” on the bottle, as that assures that there have not been any other weird added sweeteners that will leave you regretting the drink in the morning.

Dress up your Pomegranate Margarita by adding a few pomegranate arils to the glass (you can find the arils in the produce section of most grocery stores) or by rimming the glass with sugar studded with lime zest. For an extra hit of pomegranate flavor, you could even use the pomegranate syrup to get your lime-studded sugar to stick. The possibilities are endless, and the flavor is to-die-for. This is a great drink to start enjoying now and continue serving well into the holidays, because who doesn’t love a festive, bright red cocktail come December?

Shirley Temple from Bon Appetít

Of course, we couldn’t do a roundup on pomegranate syrup/grenadine without including the classic nonalcoholic drink (and favorite of children everywhere) – the Shirley Temple! This is such a simple drink to make, and a fun treat for kiddos on a special occasion. As in this recipe from Bon Appetít, it’s classically made with grenadine, ginger ale, and garnished with a maraschino cherry. However, modern-day recipes have also been known to include such innovative ingredients as lemon-lime soda, lemonade or even orange juice.

I love that this kid-friendly mocktail can be easily elevated with the use of a good ginger ale or ginger beer and Sonoma Syrup’s Classic Grenadine Syrup. Using high-quality products like these cuts back on processed ingredients – which you know I’m a huge fan of – and should also minimize the crazy sugar rush kids our kids so easily succumb to.

Your little ones (and mocktail-enjoying friends) will love this fancy take on the classic at your next get-together or dinner party.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette Domaine Chandon by Sonoma Syrup Co.

You read that right – pomegranate syrup can also be used in cooking! And what better way to do so than with a zesty red wine vinaigrette from the kitchens of one of the most well-known wineries in Wine Country? This tasty salad recipe hails from the kitchens of Domaine Chandon in world-famous Napa Valley and pairs the winery’s light and juicy Pinot Noir with Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pomegranate Simple Syrup to create a perfectly balanced vinaigrette. When drizzled over a bed of greens topped with grapes, pecans and pomegranate seeds, you’ll get the ultimate taste of Wine Country in your very own home.

This vinaigrette would also make a great marinade for filets or roast duck or – who are we kidding? – served alongside a loaf of freshly baked bread for dipping.

Southern Sweet Iced Tea by Sonoma Syrup Co.

This Southern Sweet Iced Tea is another great use for pomegranate syrup that doesn’t involve alcohol. Use the base recipe as your guide as far as amounts, then choose your favorite herbal tea to perfectly complement the pomegranate flavor. It’s a no-fail recipe that’s perfect to sip on while the sunlight still lingers past 6 o’clock.

To really step things up a notch, garnish your iced tea with a fresh sprig of whichever type of herbal tea you’ve used in your recipe – fresh mint, chamomile and rooibos are all tasty options.

Kir Royale by Liquor.com

The Kir Royale is a French cocktail typically made with sparkling wine and créme de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), but why not give it a modern makeover by subbing in grenadine? I love any kind of cocktail that involves sparkling because it turns any occasion into a special one, especially this time of year when there are tons of things to celebrate!

Try a drier style of sparkling wine for this one, as the grenadine will sweeten it up a bit. Garnish with a fresh rosemary sprig or some extra pomegranate arils to make your Kir Royale especially appropriate for the season.

Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float by CaliGirl Cooking

Two frosty pomegranate soda ice cream floats garnished with pomegranate seeds.

Of course, no pomegranate syrup recipe roundup would be complete without a way to use it in a sweet treat! Make your own pomegranate soda by adding Sonoma Syrup Co.’s pomegranate syrup to sparkling water or club soda, then just add vanilla ice cream to turn it into a tasty float. With the syrup’s pure ingredients, making your own soda helps you cut back on not-so-healthy stuff that often goes into store-bought pops and control just how sweet you want it to be.

This is another one that the kids will love. It’s the perfect treat for back-to-school or a weekend get-together with friends while the weather is still warm.

Frosé by Real Simple

No doubt by now you’ve heard of this latest frozen drink craze, but did you know you can make frosé extra-tasty with the addition of some brightly hued grenadine? It not only adds a great pop of color to an already gorgeous drink, but it also lends an extra depth of flavor that plain old rosé just can’t give you.

This recipe adds in strawberries for extra body, but you could also try raspberries or watermelon for a slightly different take on things. This is another one to make now while the weather is still warm – the perfect drink to enjoy poolside!

Pomegranate Peppercorn Glaze by Sonoma Syrup Co.

A close-up of cracked open pomegranates.

Alright, chefs – here’s another one for you! This Pomegranate Peppercorn Glaze is the perfect way to dress up pork tenderloins, steaks, or even grilled salmon. It’s versatile enough to use as a marinade AND a sauce on its own, or add it to your favorite cream-based sauce for the ultimate hybrid. Toss the creamy version with your favorite pasta for a hearty vegetarian dish, or use the glaze as-is to dress up roasted sweet potatoes. The possibilities are endless!

French Quarter Cocktails by Martha Stewart

One of the best things about grenadine is that it pairs well with so many different types of liquor. These French Quarter Cocktails pair the syrup with rum in a New Orleans-inspired drink that’s sure to make you feel festive. I mean, how can you not with two different types of rum, pineapple and orange juice? It’s practically Mardi Gras in a glass.

Garnish these fun cocktails with maraschino cherries, pineapple wedges and orange slices. Get extravagant with it, because that’s exactly what these drinks are meant to be.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule adapted from DELISH

A frosty Pomegranate Mule garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds and rosemary sprigs.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper pomegranate syrup roundup without me putting my own spin on a pomegranate cocktail. The Moscow Mule is one of my absolute favorite adult beverages, so when I saw this recipe from DELISH, I knew I wanted to use some of Sonoma Syrup Co.’s flavored simple syrups to give this pomegranate cocktail my own personal touch.

One of the greatest things about naturally sweetened simple syrups infused with fantastic flavor is that you can easily cut down on the prep time and number of ingredients needed and still have something fantastic to sip on in minutes flat. By using Sonoma Syrup Co.’s Pomegranate Simple Syrup and Sweetened Lime Juice in this recipe, I was able to leave out the honey and still get the exact same flavor profile. Just as with every Moscow Mule, high-quality vodka and ginger beer are key in taking the drink over the top.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule (adapted from DELISH)
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

This recipe takes the classic mule cocktail and livens it up with the addition of pomegranate syrup, pomegranate seeds, and a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Course: Drinks
Keyword: cocktails, drinks, mule, pomegranate, vodka
Servings: 1 cocktail
Calories: 220 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce Sonoma Syrup Co. Pomegranate Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Sweetened Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 2 ounces ginger beer
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. In your copper mug or cocktail glass, stir together the vodka, pomegranate syrup, lime juice and ice.

  2. Top with ginger beer and garnish with pomegranate arils and rosemary sprig.

Recipe Notes

You can find the original recipe from DELISH here.

So there you have it! I hope my top 10 recipes using pomegranate syrup and grenadine inspire you to get in the kitchen and get you excited for the months ahead. I’d love to hear if you have any favorite pomegranate syrup or grenadine recipes I missed. If you do, let me know about them in the comments below!

Spiked Pear Cider

I’ve fallen hard for the homemade cider this year…

This Spiked Pear Cider is made in the slow cooker and can easily be made virgin for kids to enjoy!

And for this version I’ve even brought on the booze! That’s right, this Spiked Pear Cider is just as tasty as any hot apple cider and has a splash of bourbon to boot. My kind of cool weather treat!

In case you missed it, a little while back I forayed into the world of homemade ciders with this From-Scratch Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Cider and I was more than pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t too sweet and had just the right amount of spice. It made me start thinking about what other types of homemade ciders I could create, and a pear version was the first thing that popped to my mind.

And now that I’m back (at least a tiny bit) in the drinking game, I thought it only appropriate to make my pear cider into somewhat of a hot toddy by adding some tummy-warming bourbon. BUT, if you are not a drinker or not drinking at the moment for any reason (I feel ya) then I’m happy to say that this Spiked Pear Cider tastes just as delicious when it’s just plain ol’ “Pear Cider.” In fact, you don’t even add the booze until the end, so it’s easy to make a batch for a crowd and then just add the booze to the mugs of those who want it.

A couple of mugs of warm Spiked Pear Cider are just what you need on a cold fall or winter's night.

Aside from a little difference in the spices, the directions for making this Spiked Pear Cider are nearly identical to those for the apple cider. And whereas my apple cider recipe had no added sweetener, I did decide to add some honey to the pear cider to help counteract the booze a little bit. Which means it’s that much closer to a legit hot toddy and that much more acceptable to drink if you’re ever feeling a little bit under the weather this winter. Am I right?

So what I’ve done here is included the recipe for the pear cider itself – which you’ll make in the slow cooker – and then also the ratios for boozing it up. Plan on making the nonalcoholic pear cider in the slow cooker at least one night before you want to drink it (or first thing that morning since it takes 7 hours to cook) and then you can easily just keep it warm in the slow cooker or refrigerate it and reheat it when you’re ready to enjoy it as a cozy adult beverage.

A mug of Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect hot toddy for the holidays.

This Spiked Pear Cider is the perfect drink to have on hand for the holidays when you have guests and visitors stopping by at any given moment, or when you’re just looking for a little something special to serve up for family. It’s easy to throw together and can be made suitable for kids and adults alike. Plus, who doesn’t love a great “set it and forget it” recipe for this crazy time of year?

Spiked Pear Cider
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
7 hrs
Total Time
7 hrs 10 mins
 

This slow cooker recipe is a fun new take on cider and can easily be made nonalcoholic for the young 'uns or non-drinkers in the crowd.

Course: Drinks
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cider:
  • 8 pears, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 of a whole vanilla bean
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 8 cups filtered water
For one cocktail:
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 4-6 ounces pear cider
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the cider ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours.

  2. Strain cider into a pitcher or a few Mason jars and discard solids.

  3. To make the cocktail, measure out 2 ounces of bourbon into a mug and add 4-6 ounces of the cider (depending on the size of your mug.) Enjoy warm.

Spiked Pear Cider | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs

This festive vegan grain salad is full of tart cranberries, protein-rich white beans, pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season.

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is the perfect vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.

We’re stepping a bit outside the Thanksgiving box today. Because, although not a traditional holiday side dish, this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely worthy of a spot on your holiday table. It’s full of dried cranberries, whole grains, white beans and seasonal fresh herbs like fresh rosemary, sage and thyme. It’s quite literally a Thanksgiving explosion in your mouth. You’re going to get this one on the menu STAT.

Grain Salads FTW

I’ve been a big fan of grain salads for quite a while now, as evidenced by this Spring Fava Bean and Burrata Grain Salad, this Fresh Corn, Leek and Edamame Grain Salad and this Herbed Grain Salad with Broccoli Rabe and White Beans. I love them because they are filled with a ton of healthy ingredients and filling to boot. The whole grains give them plenty of heft to make them completely suitable as an entire meal, although they are equally delicious served alongside other delicious dishes you typically serve up for a holiday meal.

I’m not joking when I say tell you this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs tastes like your entire Thanksgiving menu in a bowl. Sure, there’s no turkey in there (although you could easily add some) but just the cranberries and the fresh herbs alone are enough to mentally transport you to arguably the most well-known food holiday of the year. I love allll the fresh herbs, but there’s also just something about fresh sage in a recipe that really screams fall and all the deliciousness that comes with it.

A bowl of this Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is filling enough to be a delicious vegan holiday meal.

Don’t Go Against the Grain

As far as making the dish goes, it couldn’t be easier. Not only does it come together fairly quickly (the longest step will be cooking up the grains) but it can also be made in advance and served cold or at room temperature. This means it’s easy to fit into an already busy cooking and kitchen schedule once T-day rolls around.

For the whole grains, I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous because they were what we had on hand, but feel free to use other varieties such as quinoa, barley or even wild rice. I also added in some toasted pine nuts, and I highly recommend you do not skip this step, even if you want to sub in some other type of toasted nut for that little extra crunch. (Pecans? Almonds? So many possibilities.)

This Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is an easy, make-ahead side dish for the holidays.

I would also like to point out that said Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs is completely vegan, which makes it a delicious, high-protein option for anyone in your group that may have certain dietary preferences. It’s a great way to serve them up some protein and filling flavor without having to bend over backwards trying your hand at a Tofurkey creation.

Since I was developing recipes so far in advance this holiday season due to our little one’s arrival, I served this up as a side dish at my mother-in-law’s birthday celebration we held down here in Santa Barbara at the beginning of October. Let’s just say my sisters-in-law were already requesting I make it as our contribution to the Thanksgiving meal when we go celebrate with them in a couple of weeks.  I hope you decide to add it to your menu as well!

Serve this vegan Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs as a hearty side dish or light, healthy meal during the holidays.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs
Prep Time
10 mins
 

This festive vegan side dish is full of filling whole grains, protein-rich white beans and pine nuts, and the freshest herbs of the season. 

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked grains of your choice (I used a combination of farro and Italian couscous)
  • 2 15.5-ounce cans Great Northern or white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to two days before serving.

Cranberry, White Bean and Grain Salad with Fresh Herbs | CaliGirlCooking.com

Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup

This Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup is the perfect example of how just a few ingredients can turn into something completely magical. We’re talking creamy mouthfeel, layers of flavor and in fact a pretty darn healthy meal. Once you taste it, your life just may be changed forever.

A couple of bowls of Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup make the perfect dinner for cooler weather.

The hubs and I have a favorite restaurant here in Santa Barbara, Trattoria Vittoria, that serves quite possibly the most legit Italian food I’ve encountered stateside. They employ Italian chefs, the owner spent a good portion of his childhood in Italy and speaks fluent Italian, the food is amazing and, in fact, so are the drinks with an incredibly entertaining flair bartender manning the helm (who also has a blog, Flair Project, that you should most definitely check out for some out-of-this-world cocktail recipes.)

The restaurant also happens to be one of my husband’s work accounts, so we often find ourselves eating there both for lunch during the week and quite frequently on a “date night” out on the town. What can I say, when we find something good, we stick with it.

Anyhow, even though alllll of the food is delicious, one of my favorite things to order at lunch (okay, even often at dinner) is a cup of their soup of the day. It changes frequently, and you’ll rarely get the same thing twice, but it’s always tasty and I’ve never been disappointed.

A big bowl of Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup ready to be devoured.

A while back, I met Chris there for lunch and they were serving a Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup. I wasn’t too sure what to expect (for some reason I thought it might be chunky?) but I went ahead and ordered it because I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. What came out of the kitchen was a delicious, velvety smooth purée that was chock full of flavor and left me practically licking the bowl. I immediately knew I wanted to recreate something like it in my own kitchen!

And that’s what you have here today folks, what I’m proud to say is almost a spot-on rendition of the soup I tasted on that fateful day. I made this Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup all from taste, without asking the chef for any tips on how they did it, but I’d have to say I’m really darn proud of the result.

The best part about this recipe? It only requires 6 ingredients (well, 8 counting the optional one and salt and pepper) and comes together easily and beautifully as long as you (a) have the patience to caramelize some onions beforehand and (b) have a regular or immersion blender on hand. I mean, I found myself standing at the stove asking “Is this really all I need? Is the flavor really already this outstanding?” Yep yep, they are!

Mix up a big pot of Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup for dinner tonight!

So here’s all you need to make this Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup tonight:

Onions
Potatoes
Butter
Chicken stock
Garlic
Heavy cream (optional)
Prosciutto (again, optional)

Plus a little salt and pepper. That’s it! I’m venturing to guess you may already have a lot (if not all) of this stuff on hand, which means Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup is becoming even more of a reality for gracing your dinner table tonight.

Although this recipe is easy and does not require much hands-on work, it does take a little bit of time. We have to give all of those delicious flavors time to come together, after all! But the results are totally worth it. Promise.

Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup is the perfect comfort food meal.

Do you have any fun and delicious soup recipes I need to try? Now that fall is just around the corner (and Baby D’s due date!) I’m looking for all the cooler weather recipes I can get my hands on. Leave me your recs in the comments below!

Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
55 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

A creamy, velvety soup full of hearty potatoes and flavorful caramelized onion. The perfect, easy comfort food meal for cooler weather!

Course: Main Course, Soup
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 white or sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cloves peeled garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • 3 slices prosciutto, to top (optional but highly recommended)
Instructions
  1. First, you’ll want to caramelize your onions. Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add sliced onions and cook, low and slow and stirring occasionally, until onions take on that beautiful caramel color. This may take up to 30 minutes. Be patient! You don’t want to cook the onions too fast and give them a burnt flavor. 

  2. Once onions are sufficiently caramelized, add them to a large stockpot along with potatoes, chicken stock and peeled, whole garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer until potatoes are tender when you poke them with a fork. Reduce heat to low.

  3. Use either an immersion blender or transfer the soup to a regular blender and purée until there are no longer any chunks. Transfer back to the stockpot on low heat (if using a regular blender), stir in heavy cream (if using) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep soup simmering on low while you make some crispy prosciutto to top it off!

  4. Heat a small nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot, add slices of prosciutto and cook until crisp, flipping when necessary. Transfer to a cutting board and chop prosciutto into little pieces.

  5. Ladle warm soup into bowls and top with crispy prosciutto. Enjoy immediately!

Super Easy Caramelized Onion and Potato Soup | CaliGirlCooking.com