Ready for More Healthy Fall Cooking? So Are We!
We’ve been talking a lot about healthy comfort foods… and we’re not done yet! There’s still a lot of the fall season left, and that means plenty of opportunities for rich, hearty meals to match the cooler weather.
So cozy down with your favorite type of tea, and get your shopping list ready, because we’ve got a few delicious recipes for you to try. The family will love them, and you won’t have any post-meal guilt. These are great for your mood and your health. But enough chatter. We know there’s nothing worse than scrolling to find the recipe, so let’s jump right in.
Savory Baked Pumpkin
This yummy recipe makes an excellent side dish. Make sure to save the seeds from the pumpkin — you’ll be able to use them for one of the recipes further down! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help those with heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Many people are intimidated by cooking with pumpkins, but you shouldn’t be — they are really easy to work with, super healthy, and delicious! This recipe only has a few ingredients and is extremely easy to make, but it’s bursting with autumnal flavors.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 sugar pumpkin or other small pumpkin — your local Farmer’s Market should be loaded with tons of pumpkins to choose from.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric or curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 425°F and set an oven rack to the lowest position. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash the pumpkin and cut the stem off. Place in the microwave for 1 minute on high to soften.
Remove from the microwave and carefully cut the pumpkin in half. Use a large metal spoon to remove the pulp and seeds. Remember to save the seeds!
Next, you’re going to want to cut the pumpkin into four 1-inch thick half-moon slices. Peel the skin with a peeler and cut the pumpkin slices into 1-inch pieces.
Spread the pumpkin cubes on the parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, turmeric or curry powder, and garlic powder, and gently toss to coat the pumpkin evenly.
Bake the cubes for about 30 to 40 minutes, until tender, tossing them once about halfway through. Enjoy immediately!
Pumpkin -Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Fall is soup season, but this version is free of cream, and butter, and low in salt. It blends all the flavors of fall — hearty squash, crisp apples, and cinnamon. Plus, the chipotle gives this healthy, super filling soup a little extra kick.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 4 cups cubed, peeled fresh organic butternut squash
- 1 large organic Granny Smith apple, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons organic pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- ¼ cup filtered water
- pumpkin seeds for topping
Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Arrange the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. You want to be able to pierce the squash with a fork, and it should be slightly browned.
Once the squash is nice and roasted, remove from the oven and set aside while you place the remaining olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven and heat over medium.
Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Next, add the squash, apples, spices, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the apples are tender.
Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth. A standing blender will work as well — you'll just have to transfer the mixture and blend in batches. Add the water and stir to combine.
Hearty Chicken Casserole
As a main coarse, you can’t go wrong with a warm, filling, fall casserole!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- ½ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- ½ teaspoon sage
- ½ cup low-sodium or unsalted chicken broth, divided
- 2 to 3 cups cooked wild rice
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with a little olive oil.
In a large skillet, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, cooking until cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Let cool for about 10 minutes and cut into 1-inch cubes.
Heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic, thyme, paprika, rosemary, and sage. Season with a little salt and pepper and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes more.
Place the cooked wild rice in the greased baking dish, and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the chicken, cooked vegetables, and remaining ¼ cup of broth. Stir to combine, top with the sliced almonds, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. The casserole should be heated through and the almonds should be toasted. Sprinkle with some fresh herbs and sea salt and enjoy!
Healthy Cinnamon Skillet Apples
Ready for dessert? These are a healthy alternative to fried or even baked apples, which usually call for a lot of sugar and butter in their recipes. These skip the saturated fat and refined sugar but don’t skimp on flavor.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- 6 organic granny smith apples
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
To make this delicious fall delight, peel and chop the apple into small, uniform pieces, about ¼ inch in size.
Next, heat the water over medium-low in a medium-sized skillet. Add the apples and cinnamon, and stir the mixture until the apples become soft, about 6 to 10 minutes. If the water evaporates, add a little more as the apples cook.
To serve, spoon the apples into bowls and top with chopped walnuts or pecans.
Roasted Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Seeds!
Pre-heat your oven to 350°F
Take those seeds you saved earlier, and using your fingers, pull them away from the pulp, as best you can. Put all the seeds in a colander, rinse, and drain really well. In order to roast these seeds — and not steam them — you need to really dry them with a paper towel. Put them out on a cutting board and really press them with the towel, absorbing as much water as you can. You want these crunchy, not soggy!
Toss your seeds with a little drizzle of olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper, and spread out on a baking sheet.
The seasoned pumpkin seeds get roasted for about 15 to 30 minutes, tossing the seeds every 5 minutes to get evenly brown and crunchy. When the seeds give a nutty aroma and golden brown color, they are ready.
Let them cool and enjoy right away, use them to top all the other great dishes in this article, or store them in a mason jar and snack on them throughout the day!
There’s nothing like warm, savory meals as the sun sets earlier and the heat subsides, and there’s no such thing as too much comfort food. The whole family will love these tasty — healthy — fall favorites.