I’m sure you have heard - eating seasonally is quite valuable. It is good for the environment, good for your budget, and so good for your bod.
Produce harvested naturally in season is rich with nutrients, whereas produce that is grown out of sync with nature contains less nutrients and (if you can believe it) toxins that contribute to autoimmune disorders, hormone imbalances, and weight gain. (No thank you.)
There are two primary reasons for this:
The naturally occurring toxins in plants that are exist to keep you from eating fruits and veg before they are ripe. These “lectins” are quite destructive for your gut, and contribute to inflammation in your body.
The sugar content in fruit. When we eat out of season fruits, we are unintentionally “fattening ourselves for the winter” all year round!
But don’t worry - eating seasonally does not have to be difficult or intimidating.
Here are my top 10 favorite fall fruits and veggies, and my favorite, easy ways to enjoy them.
Fall squashes are iconic symbols of this season’s rich harvest. It is likely that your grocery store shelves are stocked with all the varieties: butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, kabocha squash, and pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. My Fall Spaghetti Squash Bolognese is included below - it is my favorite way to feast on all the fall bounty :). Check out my Pumpkin Bread recipe too - you won’t regret it.
Cabbage is a nutritional powerhouse, loaded with cancer fighting properties, and phytonutrients that boost your immunity and improve your mood. Make my crunchy Cabbage Salad at the beginning of the week, and eat it for lunch all week long (add shrimp or smoked salmon and rice for guaranteed fullness through the afternoon slump!).
This cruciferous vegetable has a similar nutritional profile to cabbage, dark greens, and Brussels sprouts: Super. Foods. Try my favorite Roasted Broccoli Salad for lunch, or roast broccoli florets in your oven for a nutty flavored side dish - and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top (uh-mazing).
Cauliflower is another cruciferous vegetable that is a nutritional powerhouse. If you are trying to reduce your grains or potato intake, cauliflower is the perfect addition. You will find that adding cauliflower boosts not only the nutritional profile of your meals, but also brings a depth of flavor. Try my Cauliflower Bravas and pretend that you are enjoying tapas in Spain :).
5. Root vegetables
Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes are excellent for eye and bone health. Did you know that kids regrow their entire skeleton every year?? Yep. And that YOU regenerate all the cells in your eyes every 3 months?? It’s true. Make snacking on carrots and roasting parsnips a priority (I’ve got you covered - my bolognese contains both!).
These lovely fruits are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, and they fit right in to the cornucopia of produce that fall supplies. But how to get those juicy seeds out of that porous membrane?? Look out for a tutorial on insta later this week, so you can sprinkle them on top of this Brussels Sprout Hash and indulge!
These may be the perfect food. They are full of fiber (which your microbiome loves), and phytonutrients that give your cells the fuel they need. My favorite breakfast or afternoon snack is an apple with almond butter, sprinkled with cinnamon. Combining plant fiber (apples) with good fats (almonds) and anti-inflammatory spices (cinnamon) are a big win any time of day.
These sweet and crunchy fruits are perfect for snacking or baking, and add much needed hydration to your day. Juicy pears are the perfect sweet snack to give you an energy boost without making your blood sugar spike. Pair with walnuts, goat cheese, and arugula for a classic hearty salad that never disappoints.
9. Hearty leafy greens
Swiss chard, spinach, arugula and kale are all plentiful in this season! These leafy greens are are clutch for banishing brain fog and boosting concentration, staying full, and staying energized throughout the day. This Kale Salad is a weekly (often daily) staple in my life, and it is so tasty I never tire of it.
Guys. Mushrooms are so good for you, it’s hard to even narrow down their benefits to a few sentences. Here is the most relevant info: mushrooms help your body to naturally detox, prevent and heal you from disease. Enjoy all varieties you can get your hands on every day (like the baby portobellos in my bolognese).
I hope you enjoy this meal - the flavors are so rich, and the sauce so packed with nutritious fall veggies. Don’t forget to post on Insta and tag @healthanddiscovery if you try it!!
Spaghetti Squash with Fall-ish Bolognese
*makes 6 meals
**this meal is perfect for entertaining (as fall schedules allow), or is delicious as leftovers for days to follow. Just store the remaining squash and bolognese separately in your fridge until ready to eat.
1 spaghetti squash
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt and pepper
1 C pre-sliced baby portobello mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbsp basil
2 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
½ C of ricotta cheese to garnish (optional)
fresh parsley or basil to garnish (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet, and drizzle with the EVOO. Using your hands, massage the oil into the flesh of the squash, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes until squash is beginning to caramelize.
Make the bolognese. With a cheese grater or a food processor with a grate attachment, grate the carrots and parsnips. Chop onions into small pieces, and chop garlic even smaller.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of EVOO on med-high heat until you can feel the heat radiating from the pan. Add the mushrooms and onions, saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the grated parsnips, carrots, and garlic, and saute another 3 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Add the tomato sauce, and season with basil and oregano. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes for flavors to meld.
Once spaghetti squash is roasted, remove from the oven and let cool until it is safe to touch. Using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash out of the rind and into a serving bowl. Add 2 tbsp of butter to the “spaghetti” if you are feeling indulgent :).
Either pile this rich bolognese on top of a heaping serving of squash for a hearty bite, or blend in a high speed blender for a creamy consistency. Top with ricotta cheese and freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!