Sure, sure, it’s easy to get excited about summer foods – all those bright colours and zesty flavour profiles. But what about all of the tasty treats that greet us at harvest time? Maybe a sweet potato isn’t as sexy as a watermelon, but fall foods have a world of wonder to share so let’s get cooking!
What foods should you be shopping for this fall?
Here are some of the best fall foods, why they’re good for you, and some recipes to get you started –
You know that saying, “an apple a day…”, it exists for a reason. Apples are high in fiber and pack a walloping punch of vitamin C. They’re also entirely portable and a make an easy and durable snack. Add some peanut butter for healthy fat (and a touch of protein), and you’re good to go!
One could also make the argument that “a pear a day keeps the doctor away”. Like apples, pears are full of fiber (5g per large pear) and contain tons of vitamins. They’ve also got pectin which can act as a natural immune stimulant, and are hydrophilic which means they’ll leave you feeling full longer.
And we’re not talking about those sugary, dried craisins – we’re talking about fresh, ripe, delicious crans. Cranberries are chock full of phytonutrients, Vitamins A and C, and lots of fiber. To keep them firm and juicy, keep them refrigerated while you work your way through the package.
Have you tried a persimmon? Well, you should. They’re high in anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and lycopene, and will add some interest to your dishes. The two most common type of persimmon are Fuyu and Hachiya. The Fuyu are lighter in colour and can be eaten while still a bit firm. The Hachiya are darker and considered more flavorful but they have to be eaten at a very precise level of ripeness to avoid tasting astringent.
If you can get past the hand-dying (you can, just wash your hands after handling or rub your hands with salt), beets are pretty great. They’re full of good stuff – potassium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B, C, beta-carotene and folic acid. You can pickle them, stew them, or cook them and eat them sliced. You just can’t beat a good beet!
You’ve probably heard lots of hype about the anti-oxidant properties of pomegranates – they earned that hype! The anti-oxidants in produce like pomegranates helps to fight off free radicals and aids in keeping you in fighting form! The gooey bits and seeds on the inside of a pomegranate are the parts you eat, just scoop them away from the white-ish pulp.
Leafy greens are good for you all year! Right now, gardens are exploding with kale, chard, leaf lettuce, arugula and radicchio – all to make beautiful fall dishes for your dinner table. Make sure that every day has some leafy greens in it, and you’ll ensure that you’re getting tons of fiber and vitamins A, C, and K into your diet.
Squash is awesome. It’s packed with fiber, carotenoids, and one serving has half your daily required dose of vitamin C. Not only that, it’s easy to cook, and you can use it to replace common starches in many of your comfort food staples.
Finally, the humble sweet potato. It’s a super healthy choice, containing vitamin E, beta-carotene, potassium and copper. It’s fast and easy when you need some healthy carbs, and it pairs beautifully with your holiday meals. Make sweet potatoes your go-to potatoes!
That’s great, get to the recipes!
No problem! Here are a few tasty dishes that incorporate one or more of our awesome fall foods. Try them out, and let us know what you think!
Ready for a fall breakfast addition? Try:
Cran-Carrot Muffins (12 muffins)
Ingredients: 2C whole-wheat flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, dash salt, 3/4C sugar or coconut sugar, 1 large egg whites, 1/4C EVOO, 1/2C Greek yogurt, 2C grated carrots, 1 orange, 2C fresh cranberries, chopped pistachios (optional)
Directions: Preheat over to 375°F. Line or grease your muffin tin. In a large bowl, whisk your dry ingredients (excluding sugar). In another bowl, zest 1 tsp of orange zest, and add about 1/4C orange juice. Mix the sugar, egg whites, oil and yogurt into the orange bowl. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Fold in the carrots and cranberries. Top (if desired) with chopped pistachio and/or leftover cranberries. Bake 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre of your muffins. Cool and serve!
Remember when we talked about comfort foods – here’s one that will make its way into your regular rotation:
Squash Mac and Cheese
Ingredients: 2C macaroni, 1 tbsp. butter or oil, 1 small chopped onion, 1 small cubed butternut squash, 5C chicken or vegetable broth, 3/4C milk, 2/3C shredded cheese (any kind), pepper and paprika
Directions: Cook the macaroni noodles as per package directions (you can do this before starting the other steps or while you’re managing other parts of the dish). Sauté the onion in the oil until golden and soft. Bring the broth to a boil, add the cubed squash, and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the squash is soft to fork touching. Drain, but keep 1/2C of the broth. Add the milk, onions, a dash of salt and a bit of the shredded cheese and puree it all in a blender. Mix the sauce into the noodles and stir in the cheese until it gets gooey and melty. Top with pepper, paprika and/or parsley, and some extra cheese. Enjoy!
Want a summery side dish, but with some fall flavours? Look no further –
Carrot Apple Mint Slaw
Ingredients: 1/4C plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp. mayo, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, 1 tbsp. cider vinegar, 2 grated carrots, 1 grated Granny Smith apple, fresh chopped mint, pepper
Directions: Mix the mayo, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar and honey until the make a smooth dressing. Use your food processor to grate both carrots, then your apple. Transfer the carrots and apple into a large bowl, stir in the dressing, then top with mint and cracked pepper.
Not feeling the slaw? You can always make your apples into a smoothie.
Ingredients: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1C unsweetened almond milk, 1C raw chopped kale or spinach, 1 chopped mini cucumber, 1 small chopped pear, 1 small chopped apple, 1 tsp lemon juice.
Directions: Blend (with ice if you want more texture) and serve!
Finally, here’s a salad that incorporates so many yummy fall flavours, you won’t know what hit you!
Beet, Pear, Persimmon & Pomegranate Salad
Dressing Ingredients: 2 cooked, peeled and diced beets, 1C cranberry juice, 3 tbsp. red-wine vinegar, 2 tbsp. dijon mustard, 2 tbsp. EVOO, 1 minced shallot, 1 minced clove garlic, minced, salt and pepper
Salad Ingredients: 6-8C mixed greens, 1 large firm pear – sliced, 1 diced fuyu persimmon, 2C pomegranate seeds, ¼ c shredded parmesan cheese, 2 tbsp. chopped toasted walnuts
Directions: Put the walnuts on a non-stick frying pan, and toast (tossing often) for 3-5 minutes until they start to smell great and brown slightly. Blend the cooked beets, cranberry juice, vinegar, mustard, oil, shallots and garlic until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the greens with 1/4 of the dressing and divide into servings. Top with the diced pears and persimmons. Add a drizzle of dressing, then sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, cheese and walnuts.
What are some of your favourite fall dishes? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you!