It’s that wonderful time of year where farmers markets everywhere are overflowing with a bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables that thrive when temps begin to dip. They not only add a major nutritional boost to any meal, but a bonus comfort food feel. Here are the foods to load up on this fall, plus new easy dinner recipes that let these fall seasonal staples shine.
Monday: Turkey Parsnip Salad with Maple Dressing
Nutty-tasting parsnips are a good source of fiber, which acts like candy for the beneficial bugs in your gut so they can flourish and get to work on improving your digestive and immune health. Makes 4 servings.
1. Divide 8 cups baby kale, 2 shredded medium parsnips and 2 shredded medium carrots among serving plates. Top with 2 cups sliced cooked turkey meat, 2 sliced apples, 1/4 cup sliced pecans and 3 oz crumbled soft goat cheese.
2. In a bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tsp Dijon-style mustard, 2 tsp fresh thyme, 1 chopped garlic clove and 1/4 tsp salt. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Tuesday: Pear Prosciutto Pasta
Consider the humble pear the multivitamin of the fruit aisle. It delivers a wide range of nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin K, the latter of which has been linked to a lower risk for heart health woes. Makes 4 servings.
1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups thinly sliced fennel and 3 chopped garlic cloves. Heat until fennel is tender.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 3⁄4 lb. whole grain fusilli or rotini pasta and cook until al dente. Drain well.
3. Toss pasta with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and then mix in fennel, 3 oz sliced prosciutto, 2 sliced pears, and 2 cups arugula. Serve garnished with chopped walnuts and shaved Parmesan.
Wednesday: Brussels Sprout Frittata
Ring in sweater weather by welcoming Brussels sprouts back into your kitchen. This member of the cruciferous veggie family is a nutritional powerhouse with healthy amounts of antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin C and folate (which appears to help keep blood pressure numbers from boiling over). Makes 4 servings.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together 8 large eggs and 1/3 cup milk. Stir in 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp paprika and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
2. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium heat. Add 3 cups sliced Brussels sprouts, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, 2 chopped shallots and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Pour egg mixture into pan. Cook 3 minutes, without stirring.
3. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center leaves a clean cut and liquid does not fill the cut.
Thursday: Seared Scallops with Curry Butternut Mash
Cold-loving butternut squash will delight your palate with its sweet, nutty flavor while still delivering clutch nutritional value. Namely, it contains off-the-chart levels of beta-carotene, a nutrient that can be converted to vitamin A in the body to improve immune, bone, and eye health. Makes 4 servings.
1. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 medium peeled and cubed butternut squash and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover pan and heat until squash is slightly tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and simmer until squash is very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain any excess water and mash squash with 1 1/2 tsp yellow curry powder, 1/4 tsp cayenne and 1/4 tsp salt. Cover to keep warm.
2. Pat 1 lb. large sea scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place scallops in pan and allow to cook undisturbed until bottom edges are golden and they release easily, about 2 minutes. Gently flip scallops, add 2 tsp unsalted butter to pan, and sear until browned underneath, about 1 1/2 minutes.
3. Spread butternut mash on serving plates and top with scallops. Sprinkle on sesame seeds and cilantro.
Friday: Chicken Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa
The health benefits of pomegranate seeds (also known as arils) have largely been attributed to their payload of antioxidants, compounds that mop up cell-damaging free radicals to help fend off certain diseases, and maybe even hasten recovery from your toughest runs. Makes 4 servings.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Stir together 2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Rub mixture onto 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs. Place chicken on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 20 minutes. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes and then slice.
2. In a bowl, toss 1 cup chopped cucumber, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 1/3 cup sliced Kalamata olives and 1 finely chopped jalapeño. Stir in 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp tahini, 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1 grated garlic clove.
4. To serve, spread 3/4 cup prepared hummus on 8 warmed tortillas. Top with chicken and pomegranate mixture. Drizzle on tahini sauce. Sprinkle on crumbled feta and chopped parsley.