Thinking up an autumn dreamscape can, by itself, conjure up cozy feelings of crisp evenings, golden sunshine, and the smell of leaves that you could never describe, you just know it when you smell it. Well, those days are upon us! With the Autumnal Equinox behind us (September 23rd), we are now safely into the Autumnal season. Our ancestors were so intuitively connected to the seasons that each seasonal transition was cause for celebration. We’ve since become more disconnected from nature and more reliant upon tangible intelligence both human and artificial, rather than intuition and instinct. But seasonal transitions are a good time to pause and reflect on the growth of the seasons previous and the plans for the future. Brainstorming how you’re going to spend your autumn days can get you all warm and fuzzy. And even though I’m not a gambling woman, I would venture to say that most of your autumn plans probably involve food, whether it’s picking it like apples, or baking it – like, well, apples.
But did you know that food in all its aspects (growing it, picking it, eating it) is one of the best ways to connect to your intuition? For example, think about the foods that you like to eat and that are inspired by springtime. What do they look like, smell like, and feel like? They’re probably light, crunchy, and zesty – just like spring energy. They’re usually food items that help your body detox and move through the heavy winter food items you had previously been eating. Now picture the foods that look, smell, and taste like autumn. They’re probably warm, soft, and aromatically spiced. These are the foods that are gently cooked and delicately sweetened (like sweet potatoes!). This is because our bodies are gearing up for a long winter. Winter was traditionally a hard time for our bodies to find enough calories to make it to spring. So, roots and squashes that could be cured were cooked low and slow to help break down the starches for easier digestion so that calories weren’t wasted on things like nutrient absorption. Nowadays, we aren’t too worried about the rate at which our bodies can absorb nutrients, but we still like our sweet potatoes cooked and warmly spiced (creature comforts!).
Autumn is such a good time to realign ourselves with the gentle intuition of nature – to check out what’s in season and eat accordingly. If you check out the Woodside Market, you’ll surely see fewer and fewer signs of summer. The tomatoes with their high water content and sun-protecting properties will be fading out as squashes and greens make their way back in just in time for our bodies, which need these more nutrient-dense items. So crank up the Ella Fitzgerald, put on your fuzzy socks, and invite a friend over for a little Fall Cooking. Here are 5 deeply nutritious and tasty Autumn recipes to try with some of your favorite Woodside produce.
- 2 sugar pumpkins (2 pumpkins yield ~2 1/4 cups (450 g) pumpkin puree)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (or sub water if oil-free)
- 2 medium shallots (diced // 2 shallots yield ~1/4 cup or 40 g)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced // 3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp or 9 g)
- 2 cups vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
- 1 cup canned light coconut milk (or sub other non-dairy milk with varied results)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar (or honey if not vegan)
- 1/4 tsp each sea salt, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg
Garlic Kale Sesame Topping (optional)
- 1 cup roughly chopped kale
- 1 large clove garlic (minced)
- 2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, cut off the tops of the sugar pumpkins and then halve them. Use a sharp spoon to scrape out all of the seeds and strings
- Brush the flesh with oil and place face down on the baking sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, then peel away the skin and set pumpkin aside.
- To a large saucepan over medium heat add olive oil, shallot, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned and translucent. Turn down heat if cooking too quickly.
- Add the remaining ingredients, including the pumpkin, and bring to a simmer.
- Transfer the soup mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If using a blender, place a towel over the lid before mixing to avoid accidents. Pour mixture back into the pot.
- Continue cooking over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes and taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as is or with Kale-Sesame topping.
- For the Kale-Sesame topping: In a small skillet over medium heat, dry toast sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until slightly golden brown. Be careful as they can burn quickly. Remove from pan and set aside.
- To the still hot pan, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden brown – about 2 minutes. Add kale and toss, then add a pinch of salt and cover to steam. Cook for another few minutes until kale is wilted and then add sesame seeds back in. Toss to coat and set aside for topping soup.
- Recipe serves 3-4 (as originally written). Leftovers keep in the fridge for up to a few days and in the freezer for up to a month or more.
- 3 medium leeks (ends trimmed, sliced lengthwise then chopped, thoroughly rinsed, and dried)
- 1 medium beet (rinsed clean, dried, and quartered – remove any rough skin)
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup green lentils (rinsed clean)
- 1 cup vegetable stock (or sub water)
- 4 big handfuls kale, baby spinach, or spring greens
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1/2 medium lemon (juiced)
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- 3-4 Tbsp good olive oil
- 1 pinch each salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Once thoroughly rinsed, add lentils and stock or water to a small saucepan and bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered or until all liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
- Add chopped leeks and beets to the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Then bake for 15-20 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned. For crispier beets, remove leeks from pan and continue roasting beets for an additional 10-15 minutes (I prefer mine crispier). Set aside.
- While veggies and lentils are cooking, prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- If using kale, add to large mixing bowl with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice and massage with hands to soften. For all other greens, skip this step.
- Add greens, beets, leeks, and lentils to a large mixing bowl, add dressing, and toss to coat. For additional protein/crunch, add your favorite nut or seed (such as lightly salted sunflower seeds or roasted pecans).
- Leftovers keep for up to a few days, though best when fresh.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter of choice (I used cashew)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Optional Toppings: pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, coconut yogurt, cacao nibs, and/or granola
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Wash the sweet potatoes, but do not peel them.
- Pierce the potatoes a few times with a knife, then place them on the tray and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a “caramel” starts to ooze out of the pierced holes. (Note: If you have large sweet potatoes, I would recommend cutting them in half lengthwise and placing them cut side down on the baking tray to reduce cooking time).
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, and carefully scoop out their flesh into a large bowl.
- Add in the milk, flax, nut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Use a hand mixer to “cream” the mixture together for 60 to 90 seconds, starting with the lowest setting. Alternatively, you can place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until thick and smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Divide into serving bowls, top as desired, and serve warm. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- The idea behind this bowl is a more nutrient-dense version of oatmeal, so pile on the toppings and dig in!
I LOVE a warm beverage! I’ll have a warm beverage in hand at all times of year, but it’s especially lovely as the weather turns and my hankering for a treat comes more and more often. I’ll often have a fancy little beverage like the following as my dessert.
- Golden Milk Powder:
- 3 tbsp powdered turmeric preferably organic
- 2.5 to 3 tsp ground cardamom, to taste
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp saffron (6 strands), optional
To make a Turmeric Chai latte with the powder mix:
- 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, divided
- 2 tsp sugar or sweetener of choice
- Add the turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, and ginger to a bowl or container and mix.
- Powder the saffron strands between your fingers and mix in.
- Store in an airtight container in a dry, cool, dark storage for up to 3 months.
To make Golden Chai latte:
- Heat 1/4 cup non-dairy milk with 1 tsp golden chai mix and 2 tsp sweetener of choice, until boiling.
- Pour in 1.25 cups as is or frothed non-dairy milk.
- Pour gently in as some non-dairy milks tend to separate if suddenly heated.
- Bring to just about a boil. (You can add in some loose tea leaves or a black tea bag for a chai as well). Pour into cups (strain if needed). Serve as is or topped with whipped cream.
- 1/4 cup raw pecans
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- flaky sea salt
- 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 6 cups arugula or shredded kale
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- arils from 1 pomegranate
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple butter (optional)
- 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
- kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On the prepared baking sheet, toss together the pecans, pumpkin seeds, maple, cayenne, and cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer. Lay the prosciutto flat around the nuts. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are toasted and the prosciutto is crisp. Watch both closely. Sprinkle the nuts with sea salt.
- Meanwhile, in a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, apples, avocado, and pomegranate arils.
- To make the vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the salad, tossing to combine. Top the salad with toasted nuts, prosciutto, and feta. Eat and enjoy!