Fall in love with these fall foods: A guide to what’s in season

Get out the Halloween decorations, break out your jackets and, most importantly, get ready for some butternut squash soup. Sept. 23 marked the first official day of fall, which means it’s time for apples, pumpkin and squash. If people actually owned cornucopias, this is what would be in ours.

 

Acorn Squash

Not many vegetables can easily morph into a delectable dessert, but acorn squash is the exception. Cook it up the classic way by cutting it in half, scooping out the seeds, adding a little brown sugar and/or maple syrup, and baking for one hour to one hour and 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Or if your sweet tooth is craving something new, try Bobby Flay’s orange-glazed grilled acorn squash.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and manganese

 
Apples
Nothing says fall like the smell of apple pie, and there’s a reason for that. Apple season begins in August and ends in November, so this is the perfect time to take advantage of this fruit’s versatility. Throw some slices into a salad, dip them in peanut butter for a snack or add them to potato salad for a sweet pop of flavor. Or make HellaWella’s Brie Happy sandwich with grilled chicken, Brie, Granny Smith apple and balsamic vinaigrette.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamin C

 
Butternut Squash
One of my fall faves: butternut squash soup. Our Raging Ecoist supplied us with her own recipe that you can find here. For something different, try The Kitchn’s recipe for pasta with butternut squash, sage and pine nuts, which you can find here.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Vitamins A and C, potassium and manganese

 

Cauliflower

I’ve always felt bad for cauliflower. It seems to be the outcast of vegetables — constantly overlooked and underrated. Give this veggie some much-deserved attention and add some cauliflower to your meal: Just roast the florets with garlic, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. If this bores the hell out of you, take Bobby Flay’s Indian twist on the veg: oven-roasted cauliflower with turmeric and ginger.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid and manganese

 
Jerusalem Artichokes (aka sunchokes)
Too many people haven’t discovered this starchy veggie — which is actually not at all an artichoke and was just named for its similar taste. One of my fall favorites, Jerusalem artichokes are harvested between September and January and are simple to cook up: Just pan-fry them with some oil, garlic, salt and pepper. If you’re a fearless foodie and find this kind of culinary simplicity boring, mix it up and try famous restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recipe for pickled Jerusalem artichokes.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Iron, thiamin, phosphorus and potassium

 

Kale

This leafy green is available throughout the year but peaks in fall and winter. I recently was surprised to find that it bettered my brunch; I ate it with braised beef short ribs, scrambled eggs and grits. As bizarre as it might sound to eat kale for breakfast, trust me on this. Or don’t — and instead check out Andrea Reusing’s Kale Panini on the New York Magazine website. Or you can try something even more adventurous: kale chips. Spray 1 cup of kale (fresh trim stems, dried thoroughly) with 5 sprays of olive-oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Spread onto a cookie sheet in an even single layer, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until it begins to brown and crisp. Sidenote for those looking to keep their eats on the cheap: Kale is one of the most inexpensive green veggies out there.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Dietary fiber; vitamins A, C, K and B6; calcium; potassium; copper; and manganese

 

Oysters

No, they’re not a veggie or a fruit like the rest of the foods on this list (nor are they an aphrodisiac), but September marked the beginning of oyster season. (You can always determine whether or not oysters are in season by remembering that they’re in season during the months whose names contain an “r.”) I personally love my oysters raw, but you can mix it up in a few different ways. My family always bakes them with a little cheddar and a piece of bacon, or you could do oysters Florentine by baking them with spinach, garlic, breadcrumbs and a little Parmesan cheese sprinkled on the final product. MyRecipes.com has a great oysters Florentine recipe here.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Protein, vitamins D and B12, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Just watch out for the sodium!

 
Pears
Get ready for some salads, people! Apples might be the best fruit addition to sandwiches — don’t even try starting the tomatoes-are-a-fruit argument with me — but pears are one of the best fruit additions to salad. With a harvest season of August to February, pears make for a tasty seasonal salad supplement. Try a spinach salad with sliced pears, pecans, blue cheese and either mustard vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette. Or try Eating Well’s crunchy pear and celery salad, which you can find here.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Vitamin C, copper and fiber

 
Pumpkin
I’m sure you’ve already seen them popping up around supermarkets and bodegas: It’s officially pumpkin season. Try Nurse Allison’s Indian roasted pumpkin soup, which you can find here, for a new and tasty way to use the parts of the pumpkin you’re not using for jack-o’-lanterns next month. And stay tuned for our Halloween feature showing you new and creative ways to plate a pumpkin.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese

 
Spaghetti Squash
Who here loves pasta? Who here wishes pasta was low-carb? If you answered yes to both of these, meet spaghetti squash. It will change your life. Spaghetti squash is sometimes called vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash or — my personal favorite — squaghetti for its stringy strands that fall away from the outer layer when cooked. These veggie strands can be substituted for pasta in typical pasta dishes to reduce the carbs without omitting tastiness. Martha Stewart’s roasted shrimp with spaghetti squash is a yummy example.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Dietary fiber, vitamin C, niacin, vitamin B6 and potassium

 
Sweet Potatoes
If your mind is like mine and immediately thought of greasy, delicious sweet potato fries, allow me to distract you with something better (for you). This veg is harvested between September and December and can be easily baked with some olive oil, dried oregano, salt and pepper or made into a sweet-and-spicy combo like Rick Bayless’ chili-bathed sweet potatoes.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Vitamins A, C and B6; manganese; dietary fiber; and potassium

 
Turnips
Before you turn your nose up to turnips, try reading “creamy turnip soup with carrot Julienne” without clicking here for the recipe from Epicurious. You clicked it, didn’t you? Turnips are harvested September through April and can be cooked by themselves, added to other veggie dishes or made into a puree with some milk, garlic, butter, salt and pepper.

  • Why It’s Hella Healthy: Dietary fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and manganese

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