It's time to say bittersweet goodbyes to summer produce. This was an amazing year for tomatoes and berries, and I hope you got your fill—they won't be as flavorful, inexpensive, or abundant until next summer. Still, I'm ridiculously excited to see fall's bounty hit the markets. Autumnal deliciousness starts with apples. If we chug through the alphabet, we'll also find: artichokes, arugula, beets, Brussels sprouts and cabbages, cauliflower, chard, cranberries, edamame, eggplant, fennel, figs, garlic, grapes, herbs, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lemongrass, lime, mushrooms, onions, pears, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radicchio, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. I cannot wait to break out my crock pot, roasting pan, and fall recipes. Here's what I'm most looking forward to in the coming months:
Roasted Lentil Vegetable Salad
There's nothing more delicious than a bed of crisp greens with warm roasted vegetables on top. The lentils bump up the nutrition by adding fiber, protein, and folate. To turn this salad into an entrée, I love adding a poached egg on top.
Time: 45 minutes
• ½ pound carrots, halved lengthwise
• 6 shallots, halved
• 1 small acorn squash, halved, seeds removed, cut into ½-inch cubes
• 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into ½-inch cubes
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• ½ cup dried French green lentils, rinsed
• 1 small red onion, diced
• 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 pound arugula
• 6 radishes, sliced into paper thin circles
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On two baking sheets, arrange carrots, shallot, squash, and apple; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning once, until caramelized and tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place lentils and red onion in a medium saucepan and cover with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and season with salt and pepper.
3. Combine the apple cider vinegar and mustard. Pour remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Toss lentils and celery with vinaigrette, and season with salt and pepper.
4. On four plates, equally divide the arugula. Top with ¼ of the lentils and equally distribute the roasted vegetables. Garnish with radishes.
Seriously Squash Soup
In the fall, sometimes I prefer to get my veggies by adding them to soup. I love the complexity of winter squash soups because they can be sweet, spicy, hearty, and warming. I love to throw all the ingredients into the Crock Pot as I'm making my morning coffee. When I get home at the end of the day, the house smells amazing and it takes me two seconds to plug in my immersion blender. Dinner is ready five minutes later. The recipes often call for butternut squash, but I have substituted acorn squash, pumpkins, and sugar pumpkins—I love them all. I'm not going to lie ... buying pre-cleaned and cubed squash saves loads of time!
Time: 8 hours in Crock Pot
• 2 large squash or pumpkins (about 4½ pounds) or 4 pounds peeled and cubed squash
• 2 medium Vidalia onions
• 3 cloves garlic
• 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
• 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1. Cut the squash or pumpkins in half. Take out the seeds, peel, and cube. Toss into the Crock Pot.
2. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, olive oil salt, and broth.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours.
4. Carefully use and immersion blender or blender to puree soup to a smooth consistency.
Consider topping with a tablespoon of Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche, a sprinkle of pepitas, or a diced Granny Smith apple.
Cider Roasted Apple Chicken
A staple in my family is roasted chicken. It's versatile because you can flavor it with anything you like: garlic and herbs, lemon and pepper, or salt and pepper, to name a few favorites. Roasting a chicken fits into my lifestyle because I can put the chicken in the oven, unpack and unwind from the day, and help the kiddos with homework—and dinner is ready with little prep. In the fall, I use apples and cider for a sweet and savory roasted chicken. Often I'll throw fall root veggies or a sweet potato in the oven at the same time, and dinner is always a hit.
Time: 1½ hours
Serves: 4 (with leftovers for soup!)
• 3½- to 4-pound roasting chicken
• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
• ¾ cup apple cider
• 1½ cups white wine
• 3 apples, cored and cut horizontally into ¼-inch donut-like circles
• 1 tablespoon Sugar in the Raw
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Put in a roasting pan with the onion. Pour the cider and wine over the chicken, and roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
3. After 45 minutes, surround the chicken with the apples, sprinkled with the remaining cinnamon and sugar in the raw. Baste with the cider-wine, and roast for about 45 more minutes, or until the apples are very soft and the chicken is cooked.
There you have it: the recipes I'm most looking forward to eating in celebration of fall. I hope you give these a try and put your own little spin on them. Don't forget to set a beautiful table, and share the bounty with friends. Even though these recipes are simple, they are celebration worthy, so make an excuse to gather around the table.
Hungry for more? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, concerns, and feedback.
Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the U.S. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored three books: Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on Youtube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!