The most wonderful time of the year is once again upon us with its cool, crisp temperatures and colorful leaves. At times, fall has me feeling as if all I need to do is curl up in a cozy corner and sip a warm beverage—but then I remember that the body needs more than pumpkin-spice lattes to survive (it’s true!).
Lucky for us, fall also comes with a wide array of seasonal produce that’s packed with quality nutrition and delicious aromas to fill each and every corner of the kitchen—leaving everyone in the house wondering, “what’s for dinner?”
Some fall-fresh produce favorites include root vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips, and carrots, winter squash varieties, and fruits like apples and pears. These types of produce have a longer shelf life than summer-harvested produce and lend many options for healthy meals and snacks. Check out the ideas below to set you up for a nutritious and delicious fall.
Roast away! Grab a fresh variety of things like potatoes, beets, turnips, parsnips, onions, and carrots from your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Peel the turnips, parsnips, onions, and carrots. For added nutrients, fiber, and flavor don’t peel the potatoes! Roughly chop the veggies into large pieces of uniform size (for even roasting).
Special exception for roasting beets: remove their green tops, but leave them whole with peels on for roasting. If their ends are chopped or peels are removed, they will easily “bleed” while roasting—leaving a big, unwanted mess.
Toss veggies in olive oil, light salt and pepper, and other savory herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano. Roast at 450F until veggies can be easily punctured with a fork. Allow veggies to cool and combine with fresh goat cheese for an added savory flavor and creamy texture! Serve as a side dish or a snack.
Some favorites falling into this category include butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash. The beautiful thing about these yellow and orange goodies? Not only are they deliciously sweet with minimal preparation effort, but they’re also packed with beta-carotene and vitamin C to help keep you healthy during this season change.
To prepare them, simply cut them in half, rub their inner surface lightly with olive oil, and place them face down on a roasting pan. Roast at 450F until skins can be easily punctured with a fork.
Once cool, scoop the insides away from the tough skin. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper or mash with a fork for a switch up from mashed potatoes. Serve spaghetti squash with pasta sauce for a fun and different alternative to pasta night!
Fall-fresh fruit like apples and pears are tasty, on-the-go snacks and can most easily be enjoyed in their raw forms. They’re both packed with fiber and, like those tasty winter squashes, also contain vitamins A and C.
If you’re looking for a way to switch things up with these fall favorites, try thinly slicing them, sprinkling with cinnamon and arranging them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 250F for about 40-45 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and curl up. Hello, apple & pear chips!
Last but definitely not least, the one fall favorite that’s impossible to forget. The options with pumpkin are endless and they’re a great source of vitamins K, C, and E.
One of the easiest ways to make use of it? Purchase it in canned form! Its canned form lends well to all savory and sweet recipes. However, if you do go for the whole pumpkin (jack o’lanterns, anyone?), be sure to make use of the seeds!
Toss them in light oil and salt, spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast at 300F, stirring occasionally. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, healthy fats, and zinc for immune support.
I also love this recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds.
Cheers to happiness and health this season!