Fall is an exciting time for vegetables, especially if you are going to farmers’ markets or local farm stands. Much of summer’s bounty is still available (September is my favorite time of year to make ratatouille after all!) but autumn’s vegetables are beginning to make an appearance, so to help you make sense of what’s in season at this time of year, we’ve put together a little guide in the hopes you might add something new to your dinner plate!
Fall is the season that root vegetables shine! Things like beets, kohlrabi, parsnips, and turnips are all in season in the fall months.
These root vegetables love to be roasted. Try seasoning them with all sorts of spice blends until you find what you love. Personally, I love Urban Accents’ balsamic and onion seasoning!
Here are some guides to roasting veggies:
How to Roast Any Vegetable
How to Roast Vegetables (Plus 6 Ways to Enjoy Them)
Is There A Right Way to Roast Vegetables
When in the store looking for root vegetables, smaller is often better, especially when it comes to turnips and kohlrabi. When these root veggies are larger, they tend to be more bitter and less tender. Look for small, firm turnips with a good color and bright green kohlrabi. If you’re lucky enough to get beets, kohlrabi, or turnips with the greens intact and not crushed, don’t discard them, sauté them with garlic and olive oil! They’re edible and delicious.
Here are some recipes to get you started:
Kohlrabi, Apple, and Mint Slaw
Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese, and Avocado Sandwich
Parmesan Crusted Crushed Turnips
The difference between winter squash and summer squash is primarily in their skin. Summer squashes have tender, edible skin while winter squashes have been left in the field to develop a tough outer skin that make them good for storing.
Everyone is familiar with the delicious butternut squash, but you may want to try some of the other tasty varieties around!
Delicata squash is delicious roasted with a chili lime seasoning like tajin. Its skin is edible, so it just needs the seeds scooped out and seasoned and it’s ready to roast.
Kabocha, sometimes called Japanese pumpkin, is another tasty variety to try. Cut in half, with the seeds removed, it roasts up creamy and sweet.
Spicy Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe
Roasted Kabocha Maple Syrup and Ginger
Butternut Squash Risotto
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Leeks and Fennel
Leeks are a member of the allium family, which includes things like garlic and onions. They are delicious and make everything taste special. When in the store look for bright whites and crisp greens. Leeks go great in everything from quiche to soups, so be sure to try these yummy aromatics in your next cooking experiment.
How to Clean Leeks
Leek & Gruyere Tart
Chicken Pea Tray Bake
Fennel, also known as anise, is my favorite vegetable. It’s so crisp and has the most delicious smell. This licorice scented veggie loves citrus, and in the fall and winter, the way I prepare it most often is in a salad with arugula, parmesan, dried dates, and whatever citrus is on sale that week. It’s so good raw, it took me years to finally roast it, but this versatile veggie also loves heat. Fennel is also used as part of sofrito in certain parts of the world. If you are lucky enough to purchase it with its lacy, green fronds intact, don’t discard them, they are edible and can be chopped and used as a fresh herb or garnish.
How to Cut Fennel
Teri’s Sliced Orange Salad with Arugula, Fennel & Shaved Parmesan
One Skillet Lemony Chicken with Fennel and Tomatoes
Familiar Veggies With Colorful Takes
This fall, look for familiar veggies in unexpected colors! Cauliflower, which is in season during the fall, comes in some lovely shades like purple, orange, and lime green. Carrots can be purple, orange, red, or yellow. Radishes can come in easter egg colored bunches, as well as watermelon (green on the outside with a pretty pink center) or black!
Just be careful! Some these colorful varieties will make dishes look unpleasant because their colors will bleed, purple carrots and purple cauliflower are the most likely culprits.
Carrot Tart with Ricotta and Feta
Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter Lemon and Radish Tops
Rainbow Cauliflower Rice
I have made this carrot salad so many times over the years, I don’t remember where I got the original recipe!
Ribboned Carrot Salad
8-10 colorful carrots
1 handful fresh mint leaves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1-1 ½ limes, juiced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
½-1 cup roasted pistachios
10-12 dried dates (plump and sticky ones!)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 tablespoons Pomegranate arils (optional)
- Using a vegetable peeler, ribbon your carrots into a large bowl. You will have a core of each carrot left, usually I just munch on these or share them with the dog. You can save them for use in a salad later, or freeze them with other veggies for use in stock. Here is a video showing how to ribbon carrots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3yuK3ybBTU
- Finely chop the parsley, making sure you have discarded the tough stems. Sprinkle parsley onto the ribboned carrots.
- If your dried dates are pitted, make sure to remove the pits, then finely chop and add to the carrot and herbs.
- Add the roasted pistachios. I love pistachios so I add about a cup, but a half a cup or so is also fine!
- Add the olive oil, the lime juice, and the seasoning and mix everything together thoroughly. Taste and see if it needs more olive oil, lime, salt, or other seasonings. Sometimes when I make this, it is very dry, so I need to add another glug of olive oil and some more lime juice. I also like things really seasoned, so I often end adding more than a teaspoon of each Aleppo pepper and cumin. It’s really up to you and how you like your salad!
- Once everything is seasoned to your satisfaction, add the pomegranate and a sprinkle of feta, if you are using it. I usually just pull a chunk of the feta from the block and sprinkle it in. Remember, this step is super optional and gilding the lily at this point!
If you want more veggie info, the companion video to this piece is on our Facebook page and keep an eye out for even more posts and videos featuring all things Culinary Literacy!