With leaves changing color and Fall in the air, it’s time to think about cooking in season. Whether or not you have your own vegetable garden with an overabundance of produce, this a great opportunity to experiment with vegetables that are usually found this time of year at your neighborhood grocery. Check out a few delicious favorites as well as a couple of not so well-known varieties that are nourishing for both body and soul.
Red Peppers: Red peppers are an extremely versatile vegetable. For fall, try an Italian recipe like Peperonata. Combine the following in a pot: 6 cloves of peeled and smashed garlic, 2 large thinly sliced onions, and 8 peppers layered along with 1/3 cup of olive oil. As the pot heats and the veggies start to sizzle, stir for twenty minutes and add a cup of tomato puree. From there you can cook for another 15 minutes while stirring until the peppers are tender. Finish up by adding about 20 Italian basil leaves, 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes for added heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.
Jicama: The jicama has its origins in Mexico and offers a wide range of possibilities when it comes to preparation. The great thing about the jicama is that it can be eaten raw (or with a little bit of lime and chili powder), prompting some to describe it as a “savory apple.” Jicama also makes for a wonderful substitute for potatoes when making French fries, as it offers Vitamin C and high fiber. You can also try it in stir-fries.
Belgian Endive: The Belgian endive, which has been nicknamed “White Gold” by Belgians themselves, is one of the most underrated vegetables in the United States. You’ll recognize the Belgian endive by its white leaves and yellow edges. There are many ways to prepare this delicious and copper rich food this fall. Sautee it, put it on pizza, or keep it fresh as a simple salad with olive oil, salt, and pepper. The olive oil balances out the leaves which carry a slightly bitter flavor.
Leeks: There is no food that says fall like leeks. Warm and comforting, leeks pack a lot of nutrients, especially Vitamin K. Like onion and garlic, leeks are part of the allium family, which are believed to be beneficial in cancer prevention. You can eat them sautéed or for a comforting leek soup, you will need to have chicken or vegetable stock, heavy cream, thyme and bay leaves, celery, and potatoes.
Tomatillos: Like the Jicama, tomatillos are native to Mexico. These mini green tomatoes are technically a fruit and are recognized by their husks. Once cleaned, they make a great charred or grilled dish. They can also be used to make a green salsa or a lighter guacamole by using less avocado. For the main dish, you can try adding them to a hearty stew or adding red pepper flakes for added heat if you wish. The possibilities are endless!
Whether you are serving these alone as a snack or as an addition to a meal, these options are a great addition to the usual routine, packed full of nutrients and full of fall comfort.
By Ana Mitrovici