It’s officially autumn! One of my very favorite seasons. While this time of year may be known for its beautiful colors, the leaves aren’t the only colorful options out there. Your market is also bursting with seasonal produce, ripe for the taking (and baking!).
A quick note about eating seasonally, when it comes to produce. It’s a good idea for several reasons.
- You’ll spend less. Buying produce when it is considered in-season means that it doesn’t need to travel as far to get to you, or be stored for as long. Taking that link out of the supply chain means savings for you.
- You’ll enjoy it more. Because in-season produce has only recently been harvested, it is fresher. This also usually means tastier!
- It’s more nutritious. The quicker turnaround time between harvest & consumption also means the nutritional status is probably higher. For example, vegetables can lose between 15-55% of their vitamin C content within a week of harvest. Good reason to hit up that local farmer’s market, right?
Using those Autumn Veggies
Now that we’re officially into the fall months, I wanted to cook up a healthy fall dish using seasonal vegetables. Because I’m a busy working mom, it has to be something easy that all my kids will eat. Fortunately, I was blessed with perfect eaters (HA! gotcha. No such thing).
I have all the stages at home, a baby, a toddler, and a school-age child. Pleasing them all is…shall we say…not easy. But creamy, mashed-potato consistency stuff that tastes good? Usually a winner.
I used a nice fresh head of cauliflower and a medium-sized acorn squash for this recipe. Not only is cauliflower very much in season right now(along with all the whole family of cruciferous vegetables), but it’s also become a very popular alternative to higher carbohydrate foods. My clients with diabetes, or with weight loss goals find it to be a very satisfying substitute, with far less calories and carbs. Adding to it the sweeter & creamier acorn squash expands the nutrient profile and mouthfeel.
The carotenes in squash is important for healthy eyes, and healthy skin. And cauliflower is an excellent high fiber prebiotic fuel for our beneficial gut bacteria, and a good source of heart-healthy quercetin.
I chose to use vegetable stock & olive oil to keep this recipe vegan, however, you can use chicken stock if preferred. I also shredded some real parmesan cheese into ours to kick up the umami. Kids. They really love their cheese. But even if they don’t realize it’s in there, they will know it tastes darn good.
I also chose to roast both the squash and the cauliflower over other cooking methods. Roasting or grilling bring out a depth of flavor in vegetables that you don’t get from other methods. The dry heat released natural sweetness that is a good counterbalance to the bitterness of some raw vegetables. Give it a try someday if you generally don’t enjoy vegetables.
Lastly, this recipe will require either a blender, a food processor, or an immersion blender of some sort to get a good creamy consistency. I used a blender, but the other options should work just as well.
Creamy Cauliflower Acorn Mash
By: Lauren M. Koch, RDN (familyfoodnag.com)
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 45-60min
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash, and carefully halve squash using sharp chef’s knife, being careful to keep tip pointed away from you. Scoop out seeds. Rub olive oil on the fleshy surface, and season with salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme.
- Place on a baking sheet, skin facing down. Bake for 45-60min until a fork passes easily through flesh.
- Wash & separate cauliflower into florets. Toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40min until tender, and just starting to brown.
- While these are baking, chop your onion and garlic. Saute in a high-sided pan with oil over medium heat until soft and aromatic.
- When roasted vegetables are finished, scoop out flesh from squash. Combine in a blender or food processor with cauliflower, broth, onions, and garlic. Blend until smooth.
- Return to pan and warm through. Adding additional seasoning to taste.
Makes roughly 10-1/2cup servings, depending o the size of vegetables used.
So far, none of the rugrats have blinked an eye at this all-veggie mash. They didn’t have a chance, because they were eating it too fast.
Let me know how you like it below!!