Fall brings us into a descending energy pattern as the earth gives off the last of her harvest. Root veggies, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks and other sturdy vegetables are what remain to be harvested. Here are some favorite recipes for using the Autumn harvest.These dishes are hearty and more warming in nature than summer foods.
This hearty recipe for a stew of lentils and fall vegetables is vegan stunner; it has layers of almost meaty flavor and can be served on its own, with steamed grains, or over polenta. Make plenty, as this stew will have people coming back for seconds, and freezes well.
This recipe for squash and root vegetable casserole utilizes the best of Eastern spices: cumin, coriander and sesame seeds combine with garlic and (optional) red chilis to create an aromatic and warming fall/winter dish. Anyone who cannot tolerate the more volatile spices should pass on the chilis. Cumin is excellent for digestion and both fatigue and insomnia; coriander is also excellent for digestion with the additional properties of being beneficial to kidneys and liver. Serve this casserole with stewed black beans, steamed grains, and greens.
This richly flavored roasted squash and root vegetable soup is strengthening for spleen and pancreas, soothing for the nervous system, and dispels excess mucus from the body. Try varying which root vegetables you use, as turnips have a sharper flavor than rutabagas, and parsnips are starchy and sweet. If time is a premium,simply peel and chop the squash and sweet potato and skip the roasting step (this will change the rich flavor of the soup somewhat but saves substantial time). Coriander, bay leaf and thyme add lovely flavor to round out this lovely fall recipe.
Mild curry adds anti-inflammatory and digestive spices to this hearty, comforting soup. Add greens to the pot or serve on the side along with cornbread or millet for a delicious, easy supper.
This slightly spicy, creamy sweet potato, jalapeno, and spinach soup is power-packed with nutrients. Sweet potatoes provide abundant beta-carotene; spinach lends phyto-nutrients, iron; and vitamins K, A and C. It is strengthening for both the spleen and liver. The soup can be made a day ahead, but add the spinach when serving.
This recipe for millet and vegetable soup hits the spot on a cool day, and can be a one-pot meal. It is an excellent savory breakfast option. You can vary the vegetables according to what you have on hand, or your mood, but make sure you always use the base of carrot/celery/onion. Toasting the millet adds another layer of flavor to the soup.
This easy recipe for oven roasted root vegetables is a wonderfully savory and flexible side dish that is perfect for everyday or entertaining. It has become a favorite at the Thanksgiving table as well as at Sunday dinners in our family. Try different veggies to discover your favorite combinations. These are also wonderful as a topper for salad greens.
Cabbage is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, Vitamin C, sulfur and iodine. It helps to heal ulcers, strengthens digestion, and treats constipation. This dish is warming and very tasty, especially when served with sweet potatoes or winter squash.
9. Glazed Beets
I consider beets to be another one of the super-vegetables. Rich in iron, folate, potassium and other vitamins, they abound in specific health benefits as well. Beets improve circulation, clean the blood, and aid with constipation and liver ailments. They are strengthening for women's hormones and menstrual cycles, and if used with carrots help balance hormones during menopause. This recipe yields a delicious side dish, which can stand alone or be used on salads, or served with sautéed greens. These keep well, so consider doubling the recipe if you like beets.
Yams are rich in fiber, Vitamin B6, and potassium (double the potassium of bananas). Japanese yams have purple-brown skins, white flesh, and a slightly nutty, sweet flavor. Celery root is diuretic and a great digestive plant. Together they make a flavorful, creamy puree that’s a healthy –and easy- alternative to mashed potatoes.
Any squash which appears at summer’s end can be used for this savory side vegetable: butternut, kabocha, acorn, buttercup or pumpkin are all interchangeable. Shallots, herbs and olive oil dress this dish up.
This colorful mix of sweet winter squash and Brussels sprouts is steam braised first, then finished over a higher flame to “glaze” or caramelize the vegetables slightly. The finished product is sweet and pungent, lightly scented with fresh rosemary, and a perfect holiday side dish.