Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Seasonal produce is one notable characteristic of what makes the fall months so fantastic. Pumpkin and apples are just two foods that are most commonly celebrated at this time of year, but we can’t forget about the abundance of delicious greens like lettuce and cabbage or the colored variety of squash. Purchasing produce at its peak guarantees the freshest taste, the greatest nutritional value and the most affordable price.

What to buy?Carrots

      • ,

sweet potatoes

      • ,

peppers

      • , and

green onions

      • are just a few popular produce items that should be enjoyed in the harvest season.

How to prepare?

      • Season your fall-fresh veggies using autumnal spices and seasonings like cloves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and

ginger

    • . Bake them to create a warm and cozy side dish, soup or to complement a rustic pasta dish.

 

Whether you are preparing dinner for the family or hosting a fabulous party with friends, there are so many simple and healthy ways to take advantage of the warm, comforting flavors of fall produce. Take a closer look at some of those estranged seasonal newcomers that we’re not used to picking from the grocer’s table.

Beets

      • Nutritionally,

beets

      • are wonderful antioxidants (you can tell by their bright magenta color!) that are high in

iron

      • and heart-healthy

fiber

      • . They are also versatile as an ingredient. Steam or serve raw with fresh ginger or to complement bitter vegetables like

Brussels sprouts

      • or kale.

Cauliflower

      • Believe it or not,

cauliflower

      • is incredibly rich in

Vitamin C

      • , making it another powerful antioxidant to incorporate into your diet. Look for a compact, creamy white curd bushel for the best quality. You can steam cauliflower to retain most of its nutrient profile. Roasting it with cumin and olive oil is also a healthy, tasty alternative!

Kale

      • Kale is a nutritional super food; chock full of vitamins and minerals! It can be cooked similarly to spinach or collard greens – steam it, boil it, sauté it or bake it! Serve

kale

      • as a side dish with

pine nuts

      • and a lemon vinaigrette or add it to a pasta or rice-based entrées to boost its protein content.

Squash

      • Last, but certainly not least, is the infamous squash. Squash comes in a plethora of varieties. During the fall season,

butternut

      • ,

delicata

    • , pumpkin and spaghetti are the ones to choose for creating that flavorful autumn meal. In addition to its notably toasty and rich flavor, squash is a great substitute for starch in recipes. Try roasting slices (skin-on!) of delicata squash or have your hand at making spaghetti squash into a low-calorie, nutrient-rich pasta dish.

 

Recipe

Kale with Cranberries & Pine Nuts

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup hot water
    • 1 ½ pounds curly kale
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
    • Kosher salt to taste
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Plump cranberries by placing in a small bowl with the ¼ cup hot water; let sit for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Remove tough stems and ribs from kale leaves. Wash kale very well to remove any dirt.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water.
  4. Coarsely chop kale.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly colored, about 1 minute. Add the kale, pine nuts, and cranberries and season with kosher salt.
    Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top and cook, stirring until all the ingredients are well mixed and the kale is evenly coated with oil. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information
186 Calories; 11g Fat (1g Saturated, 6g Monounsaturated, 3g Polyunsaturated); 0mg Cholesterol; 73mg Sodium; 21g Carbohydrate; 4g Fiber; 6g Protein

 

Article by …
Domenica Toscani
Dietetic Intern and Educator

 

Article reviewed & recipe by …
Jacqueline Gomes, RD, MBA
Corporate Dietitian
A&P Family of Supermarkets

 

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