Fall can be frustrating for veggie-lovers, as we say goodbye to fresh-picked corn, just-off-the-vine heirloom tomatoes and other summer delights. But it’s also peak season for squash and root vegetables, which can be equally delicious when prepared well. Here are some creative ways to cook with these fall favorites.
1. Acorn Squash
With its tough exterior and dense texture, acorn squash may seem a bit daunting to prepare, but it’s actually very easy to cook. Just make sure you start with a sharp knife! Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seedy center, then slice lengthwise as you would a melon into inch-thick slices. Toss with a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil and some salt and pepper. Then place the slices on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until tender, usually 20-25 minutes.
In her popular blog The Year in Food, Kimberley Hasselbrink has this wonderful recipe for roasted acorn squash with crispy yellow peas, seasoned with coriander, cumin and black mustard seeds. Not only is it deliciously different, it takes very little time to make.
Farmers’ markets are bursting with carrots this time of year, including heirloom varieties in all colors and sizes. Slice them and toss into soups and stews, grate them on salads, or try this delicious Turkish carrot yogurt dip from food writer Irvin Lin’s blog Eat the Love.
Vegetable bins are bursting with zucchini right now, and if you have a vegetable garden of your own you’ve likely been trying to give them away. Luckily, Italian cooks have long loved this squash, which originated in Tuscany, and you can add it to pretty much any pasta dish. Like this one for from Chez Us, which uses spiralized zuchini with egg noodles in a traditional dish known as Cacio e Pepe.
No fall food list would be complete without the season’s hallmark, but don’t worry, we’re not going to give you another pie recipe. Far healthier – and more useful – is this tasty and super easy pumpkin hummus recipe from Kaiser Permanente’s Food for Health recipe blog. Rich in both protein and fiber, hummus is a great choice for those wishing to eat more plant-based foods. But it can get a little boring, so here’s a great way to change it up. All the ingredients go into the blender or food processor at once, so it takes about ten minutes once you have your ingredients assembled. And you can even use canned pumpkin (though fresh is better) to save more time.
Beets are underappreciated, falling into the love-them-or-hate-them category. And they’re also under-used, featured primarily in salads or roasted vegetable combos. But there are lots of ways to eat these nutritional powerhouses, which are packed with immune-boosting antioxidants known as betalains. For example, they can add flavor to homemade veggie burgers, as in this creative take from Food for Health, which also features extra protein from aquafaba, the liquid left behind in canned chickpeas.