Fall is such a magical time. The air becomes a little crisper, the leaves on the trees create stunning, natural scenery, and the beautiful colors and flavors of autumn’s garden contribute to making it a truly special season.Here are a few of my favorite vegetables to focus on this time of year that offer many health benefits and are delicious in fall dishes from soups and stews to casseroles, side dishes and more.
Health Benefits: Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of beta carotene available. This phytonutrient helps the body absorb iron and raises blood levels of vitamin A, which improves eyesight and may even reduce the risk of arthritis.
How To Eat It: You can use a sweet potato any way you’d use a regular potato. Steaming them is one of the best ways to retain their nutrients. To do this, cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch slices and steam or roast the slices seven minutes. Adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves make steamed sweet potatoes into a great side dish.
Sweet Potato & Kale Mash
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 Tbsp canned coconut milk
- 1 cup finely chopped kale leaves (stems removed and discarded)
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 1-2 drops doTERRA Cumin essential oil
- 1/2 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- Hemp seed, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the sweet potatoes and bake until tender, about 10-15 minutes over medium heat. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the coconut milk and mash until smooth. Stir in the kale, shallot, cumin essential oil, garlic, and salt. Serve warm.
Health Benefits: Alpha carotene and beta carotene, which convert to vitamin A and contribute to immune defense, are both found in pumpkin. Half a cup of pumpkin puree contains three days’ worth of vitamin A, as well as vitamin C, iron, and fiber.
How To Eat It: Pumpkin pie is a classic fall recipe, but it’s also packed with sugar, fat, and calories. You can use pumpkin puree in all kinds of healthy recipes. Stir it into steel cut oats with some spices, or try a pumpkin pie smoothie.
Pumpkin Pie SmoothieIngredients
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 drop doTERRA Cinnamon Bark essential oil
- 5 ice cubesInstructions
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses and serve.
Health Benefits: Squash is a terrific source of antioxidants, like beta carotene, which protect from chronic diseases like cancer. It also contains high levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, which bolster the immune system.
How To Eat It: Roasting butternut squash with avocado oil and salt makes a delicious and savory side dish. You can take it a step further by pureeing the squash with broth and some roasted ginger and shallots.
Butternut Squash SoupIngredients
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup (plus more to thin) homemade chicken broth or stock
- 1 sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp nutmeg (or to taste)
- ½ tsp chopped garlic
- 1-2 drops doTERRA Thyme essential oilInstructionsCut top and bottom off of butternut squash and use knife to carefully cut remaining skin off. Cut in half and scoop out seeds then chop squash into small cubes and dice onion. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add diced onion. Saute 3 minutes until starting to soften and add squash, continue sauteing 5 minutes until squash starts to brown. Add coconut milk, stock, and spices and bring to simmer. Simmer about 20 minutes until soft.Use a blender or hand blender to puree until smooth and serve warm or make ahead to reheat for a fast meal.