Savory & Sweet Fall Cravings

There's nothing like being hit with breezy temperatures this past weekend to finally let us fully embrace fall. Or is this just another tease? Either way, I've been looking forward to a nice big bowl of butternut squash soup, however that only seems fitting when the colder temperature outside nudge me to come inside and enjoy something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Thankfully, I (and we) can now do that. Latching on to these colder temperatures only means one thing. My tastebuds go crazy for nourishing fall dishes that warm me up from the inside out. The suspects are typical - savory beets, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes...but what about the sweet bite from apples, figs and pomegranate?

Thanks to McKel Hill, dietician and nutritionist behind the beloved blog Nutrition Stripped, fall is made healthy and delicious by way of her Fall Produce Guide.  It's filled with the season's top fruits and vegetables along with inspiring recipes to help you find creative ways to use these ingredients. I've narrowed her list down even further to focus on the top fruits and veggies that I've been craving this season, accompanied by delicious recipes that I've gathered from around the interwebs - including a few from Nutrition Stripped. These recipes are to serve as inspiration, a playground if you will, for a place to start as you begin to hibernate and cook more this season. So cheers to that! Enjoy & be well.

Photo courtesy of @roxanneleclerc

Photo courtesy of @roxanneleclerc

Apples

As we all very well know...if there's a time for apple picking, it's now. Skip the grocery store and take advantage of fresh picks from your local farmer's market. Always opt for organic, otherwise you risk going home with a batch covered in pesticides. Your nose is the best indicator of how ripe and sweet an apple is, so try to find apples that are rich and bold in smells like Fuji or Pink Lady. They're low in calories, high in fiber and Vitamin C, contain rich antioxidants called polyphenols that are excellent for your cardiovascular system and help to regulate blood sugar levels. As they say, an apple a day...

Cinnamon Apple Pear Amaranth Porridge, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Cinnamon Apple Pear Amaranth Porridge, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Start your morning with this Cinnamon Apple Pear Amaranth Porridge, a healthier version of grits using amaranth and stewed apples with pears and cinnamon.

Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

To sweeten a lunchtime kale salad, try this Fuji Apple Kale Salad with Maple Spiced Hazelnuts. Make it more of a filling entree by adding vegetarian proteins including chickpeas, tempeh, tofu and/or lentils.

Apple Cinnamon Sweet Bread, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Apple Cinnamon Sweet Bread, courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Get a satisfying and yet nourishing dose of protein and fiber with this Apple Cinnamon Sweet Bread that incorporates warming spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. Intended for dessert, it can easily be enjoyed for breakfast as well. Better yet? Whip up this Raw Caramel sauce to drizzle on top for something even more rich and indulgent. 

And sometimes, simple is better. Yesterday, I enjoyed some downtime with an old favorite: apples & almond butter. You can even get crazy and make this roasted pecan butter if store bought nut butters become too boring for you. Create a dipping station when having guests over that includes different kinds of flavors that can serve as a healthy dessert corner.

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Figs 

Growing up, I always associated figs with fig newtons (of which I was not a fan), however I've come to really enjoy them in salads or even alone as a quick snack. They are rich in minerals including magnesium, calcium, and potassium - all of which are important for cardiovascular health, bone health, and reducing blood pressure. 

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blackened Figs, courtesy of The Blonde Chef

Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blackened Figs, courtesy of The Blonde Chef

Combine figs with sliced bananas in this nourishing bowl of Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Blackened Figs. Coconut cream and almond butter add depth, so all you need to round it out is a hot cup of brewed coffee or tea and your favorite morning reading material. 

Fig & Coconut Chia Pudding, courtesy of Soni's Food

Fig & Coconut Chia Pudding, courtesy of Soni's Food

Alternatively, try this Fig & Coconut Chia Pudding as a morning staple that you can easily make ahead the night before. All you need are some chia seeds, coconut or almond milk, vanilla extract, brown sugar and fresh figs. 

Kale and Fig Salad, courtesy of In The Kitchen With Amy Jo

Kale and Fig Salad, courtesy of In The Kitchen With Amy Jo

When in doubt, toss them into greens! This delicious Kale and Fig Salad is combined with avocado and hemp seeds to make quite the nutritious bowl filled with easily digestible proteins, essential fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote a healthy metabolism and boost the immune system.   

Please your guests (while satisfying your own sweeth tooth) with these beautiful, vegan friendly desserts: Vanilla Bean & Fig Shortbread drizzled with Honey Glaze and Salted Honey and Fig Cheesecake. I imagine that they do not need much of an intro, huh?

Pomegranate

With regular consumption, these little suckers help reverse heart disease and support a healthy blood pressure. They have powerful anti-aging effects, may help protect your kidneys and liver from harmful toxins and boost your immune system thanks to its high content of Vitamin C. I prefer to buy mine already packaged for the sake of time, but sometimes it's fun to dissect a pomegranate and try to dig out every little last seed. With the holidays around the corner, there are plenty of festive recipes where pomegranate seeds can have their moment to shine.

Autumn Salad, courtesy of The Smoothie Lover

Autumn Salad, courtesy of The Smoothie Lover

Have it all with this Autumn Salad featuring pomegranate, roasted squash, maple caramelized pecans and tahini dressing.

Apple Cider & Pomegranate Mocktail, courtesy of MerryThought

Apple Cider & Pomegranate Mocktail, courtesy of MerryThought

Here's an Apple Cider & Pomegranate Mocktail, however by all means, feel free to make it a little boozy when sipping and socializing with friends, family and loved ones. 

And enjoy this Quinoa Pomegranate Salad as a nice side dish that's both savory & sweet. Nutty quinoa + creamy chickpeas + sweet pops of pomegranate + the richness of the caramelized onions + the freshness from the parsley. Quinoa umami?

Beets

This rich, red root vegetable is incredibly rich in antioxidants and fiber and helps support detoxification from our liver. For some, they are an acquired taste, but it only takes a good batch of roasted beets to change that apprehension. In everything from veggie burgers to salads and even simply roasted on their own, there are several ways to get your beet fix. 

Kickstart your morning with these Runny Fried Egg, Kale and Beet Toasts for a protein and antioxidant fix to get you going on a high note. A little like Eggs Florentine, but with kale instead of spinach. 

Veggie Burgers have stepped up to the plate much more recently. I've overheard several people talk about "this or that" restaurant that makes a mean veggie burger - even from meat eaters themselves! Take a hint from this Divine Veggie Burger which consists of beets, shiitake mushroom and a chipotle tomato jam or this Roasted Beet, Brown Rice & Chickpea Burger with Crispy Kale & a Thyme Tahini Sauce. Yes, they will require time and careful attention, but yes, they are indeed worth it. Serve with a side of sweet potato fries and you have yourself the perfect fall meal. 

When in doubt, bake them into something delicious like these Baked Rosemary Beet Chips. Anything that calls for rosemary is sure to be a palate pleaser! You'll be spoiled with these and may not want to go back to regular potato chips...

Brussels Sprouts

As kids, I'm sure we all used to cringe at the thought or sight of brussels sprouts. Nowadays, it seems like we can't get enough and seasonal menus are pouring over with the types of dishes that incorporate these healthy little nuggets. They contribute to better heart health, cardiovascular support, digestive support, detoxification and even help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Enjoy them steamed or crispy and just remember the benefits that you're reaping with each and every bite. 

Get fancy with these surprisingly simple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts & Red Grapes that's deliciously sweet yet savory and earthy.

Enjoy this Maple Shallot Brussels Sprouts Salad on its own to bring you warmth, comfort and nourishing during these colder months. This salad is joined by dried cranberries and toasted rosemary almonds for a chewy-crunchy combination that is highly addictive and will have you longing for even more.

Sweet Potatoes

Besides pumpkin, sweet potatoes are my absolute favorite. Favorite of favorites. They’re starchy, sweet, filing, and an incredible source of vitamins A and C. You really can't go wrong when it comes to enjoying these - either on their own with a dollop of coconut oil, sprinkled with cinnamon or drizzled with tahini. Fatten them up (in the good, healthy way) with black beans, avocado and other of your favorite toppings for that matter. 

This Big Comfy Sweet Potato is killer. As in one that you're going to want to add to the very top of your list this fall because I don't think there's any void that this recipe doesn't fill. Owe it all to the red blanket sauce that you can generously dollop on top - deemed worthy enough to knock your wool socks off. 

There's also a lot to love about these Sweet Potato, Red Bean & Kale Enchiladas consisting of cumin roasted sweet potato and grilled corn rolled up in a soft tortilla with a red bean hummus and braised kale, all topped off with a smoky sweet pepper sauce and zingy coriander chimichurri.

And since they're already sweet, it only makes sense to enhance that sweetness by using it as a base for these Sweet Potato Brownies. Most desserts call for way too many ingredients, but this list is minimal and you can lick the bowl clean, and feel really good about it. 

Here's to nourishment, deliciousness and finding creative ways to welcome and savor the best that this season has to offer.

Be well,

Allison

Allison WaltonComment