It is official, we are deep into the fall season. While some of us are mourning the end of summer produce (peaches, figs, plums… sigh…), the change in seasons forces us to change our food habits and soak up this cozy time of year.
While summer produce is prime for quick, no-cook preparations, fall foods tend to warrant slowing down, turning on the oven or pulling out the soup pot, and cozying up at home. Fall foods also are full of the nutrients our bodies are asking for this time of year – deeply colored phytonutrients along with vitamin and mineral antioxidants boost our immune systems to ward off circulating illnesses.
What vegetables are in season right now? Garlic, beets, chard, broccoli, carrots, celery, all sorts of mushrooms, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, hard winter squash, watercress, spinach, fennel, mâche, turnips, onions, parsnips, leeks, sunchokes, and salsify.
Plenty of fruits make their way into the market this time of year as well: clementines, persimmons, kiwi, mandarins, mango, pears, apples, pineapple, pomegranate, and avocado.
Did you know that seafood can be seasonal? In fact, the seasonally changing weather has an impact on the types of seafood that is available and in its prime. Shellfish starts to make an appearance: oysters, langoustines, mussels, and clams are in their prime. Also keep an eye out for haddock, anchovies, sea bass, cod, mackerel, whiting, and sardines.
Meal ideas to consider If you are looking for some inspiration to keep the food on your table seasonal, here are some meal ideas to consider:
linguine with clams along with a mâche and shaved fennel salad;
squash panzanella (see our upcoming Message Magazine Winter 2022 for the recipe!);
marinated sardines on whole grain toast with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt;
spinach salad with pomegranate, pear, and toasted walnuts;
roasted carrots with a drizzle of tahini and toasted pumpkin seeds;
pan-seared cod with a salsa of clementines, onion and jalapeño served with roasted broccoli or cauliflower.
Or why not try a shaved sunchoke and mushroom salad? It makes the perfect vegetable side to pair with a simply cooked whole grain and your protein of choice (seasonal fish, meat, lentils, eggs... whatever you prefer!). Check out the recipe below!
Shaved sunchoke, mushroom and Brussels sprout salad
1 large handful of hazelnuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
Juice from ½ lemon
½ tsp honey (omit if you are vegan)
Salt and pepper
300g sunchokes, scrubbed and thinly sliced (you can peel them if you prefer)
300g mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
500g brussels sprouts, washed and thinly sliced
Shaved parmesan cheese (if you are vegan or avoid dairy, this can be omitted)
1. Heat oven to 200 degrees. Put hazelnuts on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until toasty and fragrant. Alternatively, you can pan roast hazelnuts in a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until toasty and fragrant. Roughly chop the toasted nuts and set aside.
2. Make the dressing: combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.
3. Assemble salad: in a large bowl, combine sunchokes, mushrooms, and brussels sprouts. Drizzle dressing over the mixture and mix to combine.
4. Transfer to a platter or divide onto individual plates. Top with hazelnuts and shaved parmesan cheese and serve.
About the author:
Stephanie Rink, MS, RD, LDN is a US-trained Registered Dietitian with nearly 10 years of experience helping expat families feel confident about food choices for themselves and their growing families. She offers nutrition coaching services for families looking to expand, pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children through a family-inclusive and intuitive eating lens. littlesproutnutrition.com
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of Message.