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