With colder months ahead, it’s time to start building up a repertoire of wholesome, hearty, and healthy meals to keep the family fed and happy through the fall and winter seasons.
With the spring and summer growing seasons out of the way, we often assume there will be a shortage of local produce to work with, but in fact, many fruits and vegetables such as apples, sweet potato and pumpkins flourish in the fall. So there are bountiful ingredients to work with and plenty of delicious flavor combinations to explore.
Here are three tasty fall recipes which are all easily adaptable for many dietary needs. These are great for using up any excess home grown produce, emptying the veggies from the freezer, or simply using up whatever canned goods you have available in your pantry that day.
Fall vegetable soup
When thinking of the transition into the fall season and deciding which recipes to try, the one that immediately springs to mind is a warm bowl of rich and nutritious vegetable soup – and for good reason! Vegetable soup is versatile, delicious, healthy and affordable, making it a great recipe to feed the family without breaking the bank.
Although a vegetable soup can be made from practically any vegetables, this time of year it’s great to try and use seasonal ingredients such as carrots, squash, potatoes, and kale- then spice these up with comforting fall favorites such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic.
Soup is very forgiving so don’t be afraid to try new vegetables and flavor combinations if you have certain ingredients that need using up. To make the soup more hearty or to replace the addition of bread, try adding some baby potatoes, lentils, or butter beans for some bulk.
Here’s a quick recipe for a healthy fall vegetable soup that will serve a family of four as a main course and can even be made ahead and reheated later for convenience. If you like your soup chunky then leave your veg pieces larger, if you like it smooth then chop them more finely or blitz them with a blender after cooking and before serving.
For the soup you will need:
- 2 tbsp of butter or coconut oil, whichever your preference
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, washed and roughly chopped, no need to peel them
- 2 cups of diced squash or pumpkin
- 2 cups of fresh greens (kale or cabbage works great, as does spinach)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained
- 1 can of diced tomatoes (or use fresh if you like, simply chop)
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated or finely minced
- 1tsp of ground cinnamon
- A pinch of chilli powder, (or more if you like it a little spicier)
- A sprig of fresh thyme or 1tsp of dried thyme
- 4-5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you will be making it for a vegetarian)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- (I double this recipe for our family)
- Add the butter or oil, whichever you are using, to a heavy based saucepan that is large enough to fit in all of the soup ingredients.
- Once the butter is melted, cook the onions and carrots until they start to soften and brown, this will take a couple of minutes.
- Next add the squash or pumpkin to the pot alongside the crushed garlic and stir for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Then add the grated ginger, thyme, and spices. stir to combine, before adding in the chicken or vegetable broth, and your tomatoes.
- Bring the soup to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Next add the canned chickpeas and your greens and simmer for a further 10 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked. This may take longer for very chunky soups and may take less time if you have diced everything finely.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with a slice of chunky bread to sop up all the juices.
This recipe is tremendously versatile, healthy. You can add a scoop of collagen peptides to any soup or meal to make it even more beneficial to skin, hair, and nails! Classic Pumpkin Risotto
As the days get colder and the nights draw in, we are naturally drawn to more comforting food options that make us feel full and warm from the inside out. A family favorite, and great alternative to traditional pasta dishes, is the classic risotto. Delicious creamy rice served hot and packed full of seasonal vegetables is a winner with the whole family. Once again it can be made in advance and easily reheated.
This recipe will also serve a family of four as a main course or six as a starter.
Fall Family Risotto
- 1tbsp of butter
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- A handful of sliced mushrooms, approximately a cup
- 1.5 cups of risotto rice such as Arborio
- 1 cup of diced pumpkin
- 3-4 cups of stock (veg or chicken)
- ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Add the butter and oil to a heavy based saucepan and melt together, then cook the onion and garlic until fragrant. Keep the heat low to avoid too much browning, or the garlic will become bitter
- Add the raw rice to the onion and garlic mix and stir to coat in the fragrant butter and oil mixture and cook for about one minute until the rice begins to go slightly translucent at the edges.
- Now add the mushrooms and pumpkin and cook for another 30 seconds so that they start to soften.
- Next add in 1 cup of your chosen broth and stir often until the liquid is almost absorbed.
- Continue stirring and adding stock a little at a time until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked through and tender. No need to stir continuously, you just want to stop the rice from burning to the bottom of the pan.
- Finally stir through the parmesan cheese (or a little goat cheese if you can’t do cow dairy) and season with salt and pepper to taste, remember that the stock and parmesan are both quite salty, so check the risotto before adding any additional salt to the recipe.
- If using, garnish with fresh parsley and serve straight away.
This risotto dish is fantastically easy and can be customized with different vegetables and seasoning to suit your palate. Why not try making it with other seasonal ingredients such as kale, sweet potato, beetroot or using different cheeses to add a subtle difference to the flavor.
Cinnamon spiced oatmeal cookies
Fall isn’t just a fantastic time of year for savory dishes but for sweet treats too. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to ordinary cookies, then give these cinnamon spiced oatmeal cookies a try – they’re gooey and soft, and great served straight from the oven.
This recipe produces between 12-18 cookies depending how big you make them. If you’re not a fan of fruit in your cookies then you can always substitute in chocolate chips (yum!), chopped nuts or even leave them plain.
- ½ cup all purpose flour (or gluten free flour)
- ½ cup of wholemeal flour (if not using then add an additional ½ cup of plain all purpose flour)
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- ⅓ cup of vegetable or coconut oil
- ⅔ cup of dark brown sugar or coocnut sugar
- 1tsp of vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup of dried fruit such as cranberries, sultanas or raisins
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- 1 large egg
This recipe really does have a ‘throw it all in the bowl’ method and is a great one to try with your kids. Before you start have all your ingredients weighed out, this will make things easier or alternatively weigh them directly into the bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking trays with parchment
- In a bowl mix together all of your dry ingredients
- In another bowl mix together you wet ingredients (you may need to melt the coconut oil)
- Combine the two mixtures to create your cookie dough
- Roll the cookie dough into balls and place on the trays leaving ample space for them to spread a little as they cook
- Bake until browned which will take roughly 15 minutes
- Allow to cool on the baking tray and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or alternatively eat them whilst they’re still warm and gooey!
Fall is such a magical time of year, the trees begin to change color from green to gold, the temperature drops, and the days get shorter. It’s the perfect time to be creative in the kitchen and use up delicious seasonal produce.
Which one of these recipes will you try?
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