By Barbi Lazarus, Donor and Volunteer Resources Coordinator

While most people are shedding tears after the first snowfall in Toronto, I’m usually a little bit excited because the need to start wearing boots again means…it’s slipper time! Once boot season hits, I bring along a pair of cozy slippers to change into when I get to the office in an attempt (emphasis on attempt) to keep the floors relatively clean.

After all, when we’ve got a few months of dark mornings, early nights and cold temperatures ahead of us, we all need to find the little pleasures we can look forward to over the winter.

Quinoa & kidney bean tomato soup from Soup n Such Café

Slippers and bubble baths are just two things I look forward to, but there’s also all the great comfort food that I get excited about this time of year. I love soups, chilis and stews and admittedly, I continue to eat them during the scorching summer even in our non-air-conditioned apartment. But people make fun of me for it. Now I can do it with no apologies!

Here are some of my favourite soups, chilis & stews. What are yours? Post your pictures or recipe reviews to our Facebook page (facebook.com/torontoveg) or send us a tweet to @torontoveg!

Chickpea and Rice Soup with a Little Kale from theppk.com: This is one of those meals that has me saying over and over again while I’m eating it “this is the best thing I’ve ever had!”. Soaked cashews are blended into a creamy broth that gives this soup a very chowder-esque feel. With chickpeas, rice and kale, it’s not only delicious but also super hearty, filling and healthy.

Anything from Chili! Mouth-Watering Meatless RecipesNever underestimate what you might find in the $5 book pile at the TVA Resource Centre. I came across this book of all vegetarian chilis very soon after I began working here and it’s a book I get excited to use every single winter. With an entire book of chilis, there’s lots of room for creativity and in this book you’ll find recipes as diverse as cactus chili, easy 5-minute chili, black bean and butternut squash chili, mango chili, thai chili and pesto chili! Oh goodness. Which one will I choose first this season?

Sweet Potato Lentil Chili from Eat Drink and Be Vegan: Another hearty dish that puts a few twists on the traditional chili. This one uses lentils and black beans as the meat replacement but adds sweet potatoes too and a bit of lime juice to change things up a bit. It’s also a great make-ahead meal that freezes well for quick weeknight dinners.

Quinoa Corn Chowder with Limas and Aji from Viva Vegan: You can pick this book up in the TVA resource centre and thank me for the recommendation later. This is one of those dishes I spoke of earlier that is so good I can’t save it just for winter, I need to make it during the summer too. I love one pot meals that have a lot of different textures to them and this one is perfect for that: quinoa, potatoes, lima beans and corn, and a broth that is just the perfect combination of thiness and creaminess.

Now tell us your favourite winter recipes! Post your pictures or recipe reviews to our Facebook page (facebook.com/torontoveg) or send us a tweet to @torontoveg!