The 31 Best Things to Cook This January

published Jan 3, 2022
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Happy New Year! I know it’s cliché, but stepping into the kitchen this January really does feel like a clean slate, and it feels especially necessary this year. As we settle into 2022, we want to help you make this a really great month of cooking and eating.

If your goal for this month (or 2022) is to eat more greens, refreshing kale and pineapple smoothies are a nice place to start. And if you’re hoping to lean into plant-based cooking, savory miso oat bowls and toasted grain soup with crispy mushrooms are two to try. If you’re determined to finally get a handle on your lunch routine by prepping something in advance that’s wholesome, filling, and you actually want to eat, lentil Parmesan soup and crunchy cabbage slaw with farro are two great places to start. If you’re kicking off the new year with a round of Whole30, an easy pot of beef chili and a five-ingredient sheet pan chicken dinner are must-make dinners (or make-ahead lunches!). In fact, even if you’re not following Whole30, you should plan on making these quick and easy meals this January.

If you feel like you’re in a little bit of a cooking rut after nonstop cooking and baking during the holidays (that’s where I am right now), I have a fun strategy that just might help. I’m planning to cook one or two new-to-me recipes (baby steps, to keep it manageable) that I saved on Instagram or bookmarked last year, and starting with Vietnamese Beef Stew.

January is a month to cozy up to warm, hearty meals that are big on comfort, like soup, chili, casseroles, and noodles. And if you find yourself with a snow day this month, homemade hot cocoa, cacio e pepe popcorn, and a tray of loaded vegetarian nachos are all surefire wins. We have all of that and more! Here are 31 our favorite ideas to inspire your cooking (and baking!) all month long, because we want you to have a positively delicious January.

1 / 31
Instant Pot Bò Kho Recipe (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli's strategy for getting out of a cooking rut is cooking a couple of new-to-her recipes this month. First up is this fragrant, warming stew which she's had her eye on since the moment it published.
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2 / 31
Pineapple Kale Smoothie
For anyone looking to up their intake of leafy greens, this green smoothie is a great place to start.
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3 / 31
Cacio e Pepe Popcorn
Popcorn is always a good idea, but it's especially great when tossed with Pecorino, black pepper, and olive oil.
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4 / 31
Crunchy Cabbage Slaw with Farro, Pecorino, and Dates
Loaded with crunchy red cabbage, shredded kale, dates, farro, and Pecorino cheese, this salad is an ideal make-ahead lunch.
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5 / 31
Drunken Noodles
Senior Food Editor, Megan, is really looking forward to making Perry Santanachote's pad kee mao (drunken noodles) recipe. "Not only does it look delicious — I love the combo of chiles, garlic, and fragrant basil — but it also will be a great excuse for me to go to my favorite Thai market, Bangkok Center Grocery in New York, to pick up holy basil and other ingredients. And while I'm in the area I'll get lunch in Chinatown so I'll have two delicious meals to look forward to (one homemade and one restaurant-made)."
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6 / 31
5-Ingredient Whole30 Sheet Pan Chicken
Whether you’re following Whole30 or not, this is an easy, flavor-packed dinner that deserves a regular spot in your meal plan.
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7 / 31
Gingery Poached Egg Soup
This is the recipe to turn to for those nights you just don't have the energy to cook dinner, and the times you need a super-quick and filling lunch.
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8 / 31
Citrusy Polenta Pancake Casserole
As soon as January hits, Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela immediately craves all the colorful, refreshing citrus fruits that come into season. "This polenta cake studded with bruléed citrus and lemon curd is one I've had my eyes on for years, so this year I am finally resolving to make it for a cozy winter weekend brunch at home."
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9 / 31
Honey Chamomile Tea Latte
Think of it as your own Sleepytime tea that also doubles as a nightcap and even satisfies that sweet tooth you have after dinner, thanks to the kiss of honey.
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10 / 31
Lentil Parmesan Soup
Production Editor, Tracey, bookmarked this recipe as soon as she saw it, knowing that it would be the perfect winter lunch. I think we should all follow her lead.
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11 / 31
Chickpea Casserole with Lemon, Herbs & Shallots
Whether you're trying work more plant-based dinners into your meal plan or just want a hearty casserole to cozy up with for dinner, consider this one a must.
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12 / 31
Aash-e Jow (Persian Barley, Rice, & Bean Soup)
Executive Food Director, Nina, has her sights set on Amelia's Aash-e Jow because it's the perfect January comfort food: "Hearty, healthful, and soul-satisfying. It's vegetarian, so it will work for everyone at my dinner table, plus I suspect leftovers will make the perfect desk lunch for me."
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13 / 31
Grapefruit and Avocado Winter Salad
This salad has an invigorating mix of bright, fresh, tangy flavors that will bring a burst of sunny warmth every time you serve it.
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14 / 31
Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread
Even though the holidays are over, Food Editor-at-Large, Christine, still has some cranberries in the freezer that she's excited to turn into a citrusy quick bread to get through the January gloom.
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15 / 31
Sesame Chicken Celery Root Salad
Keep this flavor-packed salad extra-easy by starting with a rotisserie chicken.
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16 / 31
Vegetarian Italian Chopped Salad
This make-ahead-friendly salad is packed with crunchy veggies and tossed in a garlicky oregano vinaigrette. Eat as is or serve alongside pizza.
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17 / 31
Toasted Grain Soup with Crispy Mushrooms and Kale
Executive Lifestyle Director, Lisa, was so excited for soup season to start, yet feels like she hasn't actually made any soup yet. "I'm pumped to start with this favorite of mine. Tip: Do not skip on the optional yogurt topping!"
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18 / 31
Caramelized Cabbage Butter Pasta Recipe
This buttery caramelized cabbage isn't just perfect with pasta — try it piled onto toast, with eggs, or in sandwiches and wraps.
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19 / 31
Hot Cocoa
January is not complete with at least one mug of cocoa. Here's how to make the very best batch (with a packet of mix).
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20 / 31
Whole30 Chili
This chili is a winter essential for anyone who loves bean-free chili, whether you're following Whole30 or not.
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21 / 31
One-Skillet Greek Lemon Chicken and Potatoes
In addition to being easy, this recipe is packed with flavor, thanks to the smart use of a single lemon.
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22 / 31
Wheat Berry Salad with Blood Oranges, Feta, and Red Onion Vinaigrette
This hearty salad is a fun way to use those blood oranges you picked up. If you don't have wheat berries, farro makes a great substitute here.
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23 / 31
Instant Pot Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
This one-pot pasta is pure comfort. It also happens to rank as the absolute best thing Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli has ever cooked in the Instant Pot.
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24 / 31
Sweet Potato Hash Brown
These crispy sweet potato hash browns come together quickly in the skillet — no soaking or pre-cooking required!
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25 / 31
Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese with Brussels Sprouts
This cheesy pasta gratin — which can be made with any roasted vegetable — boasts maximum crispiness in every bite.
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26 / 31
Mediterranean-Inspired Turkey Pinwheels
No matter the occasion, put a plate of pinwheels out and it’s all but guaranteed each spiraly snack will be gobbled up in no time.
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27 / 31
Savory Miso Oat Bowls with Charred Scallions
Steel-cut oats are cooked with protein-rich red lentils and spiked with umami-rich miso paste and soy sauce, then topped with charred scallions and crunchy radishes for a plant-based breakfast you'll want to keep on repeat.
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28 / 31
Ina Garten's Portobello Mushroom Lasagna
Ina’s mushroom lasagna comes with a short ingredient list, and is just the right amount of decadent to feel special.
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29 / 31
Chinese Lucky Noodle Stir-Fry
While this dish is served as a multi-course Chinese New Year dinner, it would also make a great weeknight dinner since you’ve got veggies, protein, and starch all covered in just one dish.
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30 / 31
Cheesy Grits with Fried Eggs and Bacon
There’s no better way to settle into a cold winter Saturday than with a heaping bowl of grits, especially when it's topped with a yolky egg and crispy bacon.
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31 / 31
Loaded Black Bean Nachos
If you ask us, a big tray of nachos is the most perfect snow day fuel.
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