Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

What’s On Your Plate This Fall?

Each season has a cuisine to match. Comforting winter food gives way to the fresh flavors of spring and grilled meals of summer. Then warm dishes of fall that lead us back to cold winter days. Autumn produce plates that reflect the colors of fall don’t just make for a beautiful meal, they are packed with nutrients that nourish us, boost immunity, fight disease and more. What’s more, versatile fall produce is the first ingredient to the cozy meal your seeking this time of year.

Fall soup

Puree squash and pumpkin to create creamy, cozy soups that warm you up as chilly nights set in. Or try this Creamy Wild Rice Soup that uses a pureed blend of vegetables and rice (but no cream) to make a thick, satisfying soup. Consider roasting vegetables to caramelize and deepen their flavor before making soups like this Roasted Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup.

Cozy casserole

Layer fall fruits and vegetables to make a seasonal side dish or stuffing. Use creamy butternut squash and less cheese for a luscious lasagna that will become a family favorite. Not only do cozy casseroles made with vegetables fill your house with smells that will excite your family and guests, it sneaks in a serving of vegetables too.

Ready to roast

When vegetables are part of the roast, you need less meat, which is not only budget friendly, but helps with a more produce centered diet. Add finely diced carrots and onions to your next meatloaf or try this Apple & Fennel Roasted Pork Tenderloin. Consider a “taco Tuesday” twist with Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash.

Autumn Stew

Spend more time outside on the perfect fall day and less time in the kitchen with slow cooked stew that brings all the flavors of fall into one pot. Try Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew or Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Stew. Short on time? Bring  Sweet Potato & Black Bean Soup or Carrot & Apple Soup in just 30 minutes on a busy day.

Autumn apples & a bit of sweet

If your picture perfect fall day brought you apple picking, prepare this versatile, slow cooked Apple Confit, which can be enjoyed “as is” or atop whole grain waffles, plain, Greek yogurt, or a (small!) scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or prepare this overnight slow cooked Apple-Spice Oatmeal and wake to a warm meal on a chilly morning.

Something unexpected…

Cauliflower Squash Pizza

Why not make fall fruits and vegetables part of simple sides, a seasonal sandwich or even a pizza? Try this gluten-free pizza made with a cauliflower crust.

The secret to enjoying cauliflower crust pizza is to not expect it to behave like pizza crust. It’s more of a layered casserole, and you will need a fork to enjoy it with less mess. Tip: a can of pumpkin or squash puree will fill in nicely for the Hubbard squash and make prep a lot faster.

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. cauliflower, grated
  • 1/2 c. plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 c. Hubbard squash, cooked and mashed
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c. part-skim Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 c. chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced and caramelized
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, fried until soft

Directions:

  1. Combine cauliflower, yogurt, egg, and seasoning until a loose dough forms. Form into a crust and bake at 400ºF until lightly browned (20-30 minutes).
  2. Use broth to thin squash and use as the sauce for the crust. Top with cheese, chicken, and vegetables.
  3. Bake until cheese is melted and lightly brown (10-15 minutes).

Recipes courtesy of guidingstars.com

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