Healthy Harvest Recipes
By Sarah Axtell, ND • July 24, 2014
It’s FALL! This means our favorite fresh berries and tomatoes are no longer readily available. But the good news is is that they are replaced with other delicious harvest goodies, such as pumpkins, squash, yams, and sweet potatoes.
These foods are nutritional powerhouses. They are are packed with beta carotene, a deeply colored red-orange-yellow pigment that converts to Vitamin A. Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, beta carotene is protective against many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
The antioxidant properties of squash, pumpkins and sweet potatoes promote a healthy heart. Beta carotene prevents the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Oxidized cholesterol promotes plaque formation and increases the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Decreasing inflammation is also a “claim to fame” for these fall favorites. These foods are anti-inflammatory, thus reducing your risk of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and cancer. Inflammation is thought to be the root cause of many, if not all, chronic diseases. Pro-inflammatory foods include dairy products, wheat/gluten, night shade vegetables, and refined sugar. Anti-inflammatory foods include deeply colored vegetables (ie. pumpkin!) and fruit, lean meats and fish, beans, and nuts.
Here are some ways to incorporate these squash varieties and root vegetables into your diet.
Spice-kissed Pumpkin Pie
Need I say more? Everyone likes a good slice of pumpkin pie. This is Cece’s favorite desert, which I think is quite appropriate due to her ginger locks. She insisted we have it for her 3rd birthday. Here is an anti-inflammatory (gluten-free, dairy-free) version that is to die for! I used gluten-free ginger snaps for an easy crust (availableat Trader Joe’s). Click on this link for the delicious pie recipe!
Don’t forget to save the seeds and roast them for a healthy snack the whole family will enjoy! Toss with grapeseed oil, curry powder, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.
Spaghetti squash is one of our favorites. Up until about a year ago, Cece didn’t know that real noodles (ie. rice noodles or wheat noodles). When we serve spaghetti squash, she exclaims with joy, “NOODLES! Oh I love noodles!” Toss with pesto or marinara sauce for an easy meal.
Chickpea and Squash Casserole
*Remember to soak the chickpeas overnight and boil until tender.
-2 cups fresh cooked chickpeas (or 1 can chickpeas)
-1.5 cans unsweetened coconut milk
-1/2 cup brown basmati rice
-1 cup water (to cook brown rice in)
-2 tbsps olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-1 tbsp curry powder (or tumeric)
-1 tsp dry mustard
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp ground coriander
-1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
-1 tsp salt
-1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
-1 tart apple, diced
-1/2 cup fresh parsley
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil 2.5 qt casserole dish.
2. Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup rice. Let simmer for 40 minutes until soft.
2. Mix chickpeas and coconut milk in a casserole dish. Set aside.
3. Heat olive oil over med heat, add onion and garlic. Add curry powder, mustard, cumin, coriander, ginger, and salt. Saute 3-5 mins until onion is softened.
4. Transfer onion mixture to casserole and add the squash, apple, cooked rice and parsley. Stir to blend well.
5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the squash and apple are tender.
Sweet Potato and Coconut Dahl
-1 lb. sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I leave the skins on for added fiber)
-1 cup dry lentils
-1 14 oz. can coconut milk
-2 cups water
-1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1 tsp. tumeric
-salt and pepper
1. Put the sweet potatoes into a saucepan with the lentils, coconut milk, and water. Bring to a boil, then leave to cook gently, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender and the mixture looks thick.
2. Stir in the ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, and salt and pepper. Then cook gently for a few more minutes to blend in the flavors. Can serve by itself or over rice.
*Note that the spices are added after the lentils are tender- if you add them at the beginning, they can prevent the lentils from becoming tender!
Sweet Potato Fries
Preheat oven to 400 F. Simply cut a few sweet potatoes lengthwise into strips. Place on baking sheet. Coat evenly with grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.