As the temperatures start to drop and the leaves begin to fall, its time to enjoy fresh Autumn produce. The flavours are rich and the nutrient content is high.
Here are my top 5 favourite Autumn vegetables.
A rich purple bulb. You can eat beetroot raw or cooked. For me there is nothing beats roast “Beet”. Wrap in tinfoil and roast in the oven. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to each parcel to enhance the flavour. Once cooked the skin will just rub off. Then add the cooked beetroot to salads such as this hearty chickpea, beetroot, feta salad.
Precooked beetroot as also available in packs in the fresh vegetables section of the supermarket.The flavour may not be as rich as the home roasted variety but they are convenient. All year round you can also buy the tinned versions although watch out for the sugar and salt content of these.
Eat beetroot raw thinly sliced into matchsticks or chop small to add to salads. As raw beetroot is quite hard its best to serve raw in small pieces. Raw beetroot is also ideal for juicing as its packed with nutrients.
If the leaves are still attached and they are young and fresh then use them as your greens by either steaming or frying until wilted.
As with the rest of my favourite autumn produce, Broccoli is part of the Brassica group of plants. Brassica are highly regarded for their nutritional value. Try to add as much vegetables to your meals as you can by using variety as well as mixing through and different shapes / sizes.
Broccoli (little trees) can be eaten raw or cooked. When cooking try to use as little water as possible as the water dilutes and damages the vitamins in broccoli. Steam gently or cook in the microwave until just softened.
If you have a blender then you can blitz up the broccoli and add to salads or meat dishes and no one will know its broccoli.
Many people hate sprouts. this is often due to having experienced them over boiled. These mini cabbages are one of my favourite vegetables.
I love them pan fried as they develop a nutty flavour. They go really well with Bacon and walnuts. Try Brussels Sprouts finely chopped and pan fried with bacon & walnuts add some pasta and a squeeze of lemon and you have a complete meal.
Cabbage is often not enjoyed as has been over boiled. I experience a lot of that at school meals. Or only ever eaten in coleslaw.
For cooked cabbage try as Colcannon ( and Irish side dish of potato and cabbage) or add to stews/ casseroles a few minutes before the end.
A wholesome warming Cabbage Noodle soup is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Asian salad with crispy noodles is one of my favourite uses of raw cabbage. Thinly slice carrots, cabbage and red peppers. Add some soy dressing and top with crispy noodles.
Cauliflower rice has become a popular, healthier alternative to regular rice. Pan fried it has a lovely nutty flavour.
Thinly slice and grill for cauliflower steaks.
Lightly steam and add a cheese sauce for childhood favourite of mine. Just ensure you drain off any water otherwise the sauce will become watery. Use white sauce recipe with added cheese. Top with tomatoes or breadcrumbs and grill.
Some other vegetables that are on our shelves in Autumn are Fennel, Celery and Leeks. These are all great for adding flavour to dishes. Carrots are autumn produce although now available all year round and are so versatile and cheap. Add them to as many dishes as you can to make up your vegetable intake.
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