It’s that time of year again. The air is full of pumpkin spice and everything nice, and we Floridians still have to wait a few months to break out our boots and scarves. We don’t have to wait for all of the delicious flavors of fall, though!
Everyone loves the sweetness of pumpkin pie and gingerbread, but we can enjoy the taste of autumn without compromising our summer bodies. Fall produce is out there and waiting to be turned into scrumptious dishes.
Butternut squash is one of my go-to fall squashes. Turn it into a creamy soup with some nutmeg, onion, and vegetable broth, or roast it in the oven with olive oil and thyme. Use a sharp peeler to prep your squash for soup and a large, sharp knife for cubing this hard vegetable. Spaghetti squash is also harvested in the fall and is the perfect substitute for carb-heavy pasta dishes. Try it with your favorite pasta sauce or mix it up with some different flavors. It’s a super versatile vegetable. My secret with spaghetti squash is to nuke it in the microwave for 5 or 6 minutes to soften it before cutting it in half for roasting.
Hardy root vegetables are great for fall because they can withstand cooler weather, and we don’t depend on the fruits and flowers for our needs. Beets provide tons of vitamins and minerals and are low-calorie and low-fat. They’re an acquired taste for some, but give them a few bites and you’ll be singing their praises. I can eat beets boiled and plain, but they can also be dressed up in a salad or roasted with goat cheese (yummm!). If you’re feeling bloated or have a sensitive stomach, beets are a great source of fiber, which is great for your digestive health.
Broccoli and cauliflower are also in season in the fall, and amazing recipes for cauliflower are out there right now. Use cauliflower as a low-carb substitute for rice, potatoes, or even chicken! (I recently had baked cauliflower buffalo wings, and they were to die for!)
If you’re in the mood for a savory dessert, there are tons of options for baked or sauteed apple dishes. Kids (and adults) love simple applesauce with nothing but a dash of cinnamon. Try snacking on figs to feed your own sweet tooth. If you like cranberries, try making your own cranberry sauce in a Crockpot. It’s simple, delicious, and a lot healthier than the stuff out of the can.
Fall flavors and comfort foods are absolutely delightful, and we CAN be health conscious while treating ourselves to everything that this season has to offer! Try your local farmers’ market to see what produce you can experiment with this fall and let us know what you find!