Bringing new flavors, in-season produce, from healthy greens to aromatic herbs, infuses new life into the palate
As the leaves change color and drop off, you know that the season has changed. This when the fresh produce you will find in the grocery aisles or at local farmer’s markets will also be switched. Ripe pumpkins, crunchy carrots, luscious beets, and bright green heads of broccoli will replace crunchy corn, cool cucumbers, and crackling peas of summer. Here are some fun recipes to try out with the season’s fresh produce.
Beets – This root vegetable is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. You can use the red and green parts to liven up your dinner table differently. Shred them and sprinkle them over salads when you need something to munch on in an instant. You could add beet greens to your pasta or a frittata. Beets make for a great stir fry, a la the beetroot poriyal that is famous across South Asian homes!
Sage – A multi-faceted herb, it is a prized medicinal and culinary herb. This aromatic herb goes well with creamy dishes and easily mixes with oils and fats. When you’re looking for a quick fix for dinner, toss chicken with some sage-infused brown butter, white wine, and lemon. You could also use fried sage leaves as a topping for any dish, including gnocchi and ravioli. Soups and roast chicken take on a new life with just a little of it.
Sweet potato – Don’t let the name fool you! This fall vegetable is known for its anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Data shows that about 44 percent of South Asians of average body weight had at least two metabolic abnormalities, such as high blood sugar, hypertension, or low HDL cholesterol. Given the propensity of South Asians to suffer from lifestyle diseases, the sweet potato could be a great addition to your daily meals. Enjoy them stuffed or spicy, in a combination of kale and select spices. You could also serve sweet potato cubes baked or air-fried for a quick snack to get variety in your diet.
Parsley – Another popular autumn herb, one that is a rich source of protein, Vitamin C, and fiber. Its detoxification and cleansing properties make it an excellent addition to your daily diet. Enjoy it as a dip with pureed butternut squash, or use it to make lemon butter fettucine with pine nuts. A sprinkling of parsley in your pizza or bread dough gives it a unique flavor that will have everyone asking for more! You could make parsley pesto and refrigerate it for a few days for use in pasta, soups, salads, and even as a side with grilled seafood. This pesto is just as lip-smacking as the one made with basil.
Pumpkin – The arrival of vibrantly colored pumpkins signifies Halloween is just around the corner. This versatile gourd is perfect for making soups and purees. You could just cut it into slices, roast it, and sprinkle some herb mix over it to make for a crunchy and healthy snack. Pumpkin pies make for a delicious dessert and are reminiscent of sweet and mushy pumpkin halwa, a staple across the Indian subcontinent. Cut them like fries and bake them in the oven for a healthy all-time snack.
Eating fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables supports your body’s natural nutritional needs that vary by season. In addition, in-season produce tends to taste better as it is naturally ripened and harvested just in time for you to consume. So, this fall, try to include these seasonal favorites regularly in your daily diet as a substitute for refined carbohydrates such as white bread and rice.