One of the best things about fall is the plethora of seasonal vegetables that come with it, which are versatile, beautifully colorful, nutritious and so delicious! While most produce is available all year, in-season produce often has more nutrients, is higher quality, and is more likely to be grown locally. Since seasonal, locally grown produce doesn’t have to be imported from faraway lands, it is often more affordable is a great way to support local farmers and shop in an environmentally-friendly way.
Here are some great fall vegetables to experiment with, and some healthy recipes to try for each one:
Brussels sprouts: this very trendy and very cute little powerhouse is packed full of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants that may help to reduce inflammation, promote healthy blood sugar levels, and protect against cancer.
Cabbage: It may look like lettuce, but it sure doesn’t taste like it! This superstar is rich in fiber and vitamins C, K, and folate. Similar to the brussels sprout, it contains powerful antioxidants that protect against cancer, heart disease, and free radicals. It helps to reduce inflammation, can improve digestion, may help to lower cholesterol, and is an inexpensive addition to many recipes.
Butternut Squash: This oddly shaped, incredibly sweet and creamy vegetable is also low in calories, making it a versatile and health-promoting vegetable to use in a plethora of dishes, including desserts! Butternut squash is rich in fiber, magnesium, potassium, Vitamins A and C, and antioxidants, and is an amazing source of carotenoids, which is beneficial for eye, skin, and hair health.
Beets: Not only are beets one of the most beautiful of fall vegetables, but they have a wide variety of health benefits! Beets contain high levels of nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in the body and have an acute blood pressure-lowering effect. Therefore, beets are helpful for regulating blood pressure, and are also good for your brain, as nitrates can improve oxygen flow to the brain, improving its function. Beet juice is beneficial for athletic performance by delaying fatigue and improve mitochondrial efficiency, and beets contain betanin, which is an antioxidant with cancer-fighting properties that can help boost immunity. A word of caution: the deep fuchsia color of beets tends to stain, so cook with caution!
Sweet Potatoes: Nothing screams fall like a roasted sweet potato! Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and beta-carotene, which come together to protect your body from inflammation, chronic disease, and free radicals. One of the best things about sweet potatoes is that they can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, and sweet potatoes can be a great way to get your carb fix with the added benefit of a variety of nutrients.
Mushrooms: As peculiar as they may look, this edible fungus contains a variety of important nutrients, including fiber, protein, B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, potassium, choline, and selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that protects the immune system. Mushrooms are actually the only vegan, nonfortified source of vitamin D, and the B vitamins in mushrooms are important for the health of your brain and red blood cells. For a vegetable, mushrooms are high in protein, making them a great staple in a vegan (or any!) diet. Sautéed with some fresh fall herbs such as rosemary and thyme, cooked in a soup or sauce, or simply grilled, mushrooms are an excellent, wholesome addition to any fall-inspired meal.