What better way to spend a cool fall day than cooking up some seasonal delights? Hearty squash varieties and root vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned) are flavorful all on their own or can serve as a backdrop for sweet, savory or spicy stocks and sauces. Winter squash and root vegetables abound in the fall and can be found at local farms, farm stands, farmers markets and at your local grocery store. They are affordable and full of nutrients. Roasted, baked, boiled, sautéed or pureed, you can’t go wrong. If you are looking for inspiration and some recipes, keep on reading.
Try Making This Beautiful Beet Dip
This is a nutritious, colorful way to celebrate fall root vegetables! Recipe from Maine SNAP-Ed and FoodHero.org.
What you will need
- 2 cans (14 oz.) beets, drained, or 3 cups cooked from fresh (about 12 2″ round)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons sesame tahini (optional)
- Wash your hands, all produce, and surfaces thoroughly. Drain beets if using canned. Boil, steam, or roast if using fresh. Mince garlic. Squeeze lemon juice if using fresh.
- Combine beets, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and tahini if using in a blender or food processor. To make a chunky version, if you don’t have a blender or food processor, mash beets with a potato masher or fork to desired consistency.
- Add extra water or beet juice, as needed, to reach desired consistency.
- Serve with carrots, celery, jicama, or whole wheat crackers. Refrigerate within 2 hours.
- Watch video instructions for this recipe, created by SNAP-Ed Educator Alexis Guy
Spaghetti is a Family Friendly Meal… Why not try Spaghetti Squash?
If you have never had spaghetti squash before, you are in for a treat. This hearty squash is mild in flavor and works fantastically as a substitute for traditional spaghetti. When choosing a squash, you will want to consider the size you buy. A small squash will make more than enough for a family of two while a large one will feed up to six!
Steps to prep and cook your squash:
- Wash your hands, kitchen countertops and your squash before starting.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Carefully cut your squash in half lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds using a spoon and place squash on a lined baking sheet cut side up.
- Season with salt and pepper and add a bit of water where the seeds had been.
- Cover with foil and bake until the squash is tender and easily separates from the peel with a fork. Cook time varies depending on the size of the squash.
- Allow the squash to cool to the touch and then remove squash from the peel with a fork.
- Serve topped with your favorite pasta sauce.
Roasting vegetables is a fast and flavorful way to use the season’s bounty.
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees while you prepare your vegetables.
- Wash and if needed peel the vegetables you want to use.
- Cut your vegetables into bite size pieces and spread them out on a lined baking sheet. Spray them lightly with cooking spray and season with whatever seasoning you like. For mine I used a salt free Italian season blend (so I could control the amount of added salt) and then added a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake until veggies are fork tender.
- Your roasted veggies can be used as a simple side dish, added to soups/stews or tossed with pasta or rice. If you’ve cooked more vegetables than you can use, you can easily freeze extras in a freezer safe bag for later use. Make sure you date and label your bag, with a sharpie, to avoid waste.
Try Something New
There are at least 16 varieties of squash that can be grown in New England. Last year, I tried Delicata Squash for the first time and now it has joined my list of favorites. This squash, unlike many winter varieties, has an edible rind. It is sweet, easy to cook and tastes great on its own or tossed with pasta. Because the rind is thin, it does not have as long a shelf life as most other winter squash. You can even toast the seeds, so the entire squash is edible.
- To learn about roasting Delicata squash watch our YouTube Video created by SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator Alexis Guy.
Roasted Vegetable Breakfast Hash
Roasted Veggies make the perfect base of a breakfast hash by simply adding to a cooked protein like, breakfast sausage, ham or bacon and then topped with an over easy egg (or whatever, cooked egg, type you prefer).
Want more fall recipe ideas?
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