Five Fall Foods for Feasting
by Laurie Wertich
Summer may be winding down, but growers’ markets are gearing up with the fall harvest. Though your taste buds may still pine for juicy tomatoes and fresh berries, fall brings a new kind of bounty. In fact, the fall harvest is loaded with flavor and nutrition. Here are five fall staples you should pick up at the market.
Brussels sprouts have a bad reputation, but when properly prepared they’re delicious. The nutrient-dense vegetable is loaded with iron, fiber, folic acid, and vitamins A, C, and K. The harvest season for this tasty treat runs from September through March.
The key to delicious brussels sprouts is to avoid overcooking them lest they turn soggy. Try roasting the sprouts, which creates a wonderful slight crispiness on the outside and a hint of caramelized flavor.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 to 1½ pounds brussels sprouts
2 to 3 tablespoons high-quality olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut off the ends of the sprouts and pull off any old or brown outer leaves. Place sprouts in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt. Spread the coated sprouts evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes.
Harvested from September through June, cauliflower makes an excellent side dish for any winter meal. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and phytonutrients that lower cholesterol.
Cauliflower tastes best when cooked. Whether you steam it, sauté it, roast it, mash it, or blend it into soup, you can’t go wrong.
Roasted Cauliflower and Parmesan
1 head of cauliflower
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut cauliflower into florets and toss with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden brown on top and easily pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve warm.
This vibrant red fruit is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Pomegranates are harvested between September and February.
Pomegranate seeds make a delicious and beautiful addition to any salad, and pomegranate juice (available in most grocery stores) provides a tasty, nutrient-dense base for salad dressing as well.
Pomegranate, Avocado, and Goat Cheese Salad
For a wonderful taste and texture combination, try topping a green salad with pomegranate seeds, sliced avocado, and crumbled goat cheese. If you’re feeling especially decadent, add a handful of sweet and spicy pecans.
Winter squash comes in several varieties—all nutritious and delicious. Winter squash is loaded with vitamin A, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, and potassium. Harvested in the fall, winter squash will keep well for many months and is delicious prepared in almost any way.
Options abound for preparing winter squash. If you want a quick and simple approach, try roasting. You can eat the cooked squash directly from the oven, or you can purée it and create a delicious soup or any number of other tasty treats.
Easy Roasted Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise
2 teaspoons olive oil or melted butter
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400º. Place the two halves of squash skin-side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil or butter over each half, then sprinkle with salt, followed by the sugar or syrup. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the meat is tender.
Parsnips resemble carrots but are paler in color, are sweeter in taste, and contain more fiber. They are high in potassium, folic acid, and vitamins C and K, and they are harvested from October to April.
Parsnips are best enjoyed cooked, typically roasted or puréed. They are delicious in soups and stews. Creamy mashed parsnips with caramelized garlic can convert any confirmed mashed-potato lover.
Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
½ pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
½ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Preheat oven to 475º. Toss parsnips and carrots with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast vegetables in a single layer for 20 to 25 minutes until they begin to brown, stopping to shake the pan several times. Mix the remaining olive oil, garlic, and thyme and drizzle over the vegetables. Roast for another 5 minutes, or until well browned.