Comfort food is so much more comforting when it’s cold out. Soups, stews, roasts, mashes and more suddenly begin populating seasonal menus, while the produce section grows rich with hearty veggies. Don’t grow any in your garden? Our presenting sponsor, Mariano’s, is the best place to find fresh, in-season produce—and they even have the recipes to boot! Here are some of our favorite fall vegetables.
Pureed to stuffed, squash is a fantastic vegetable to incorporate into your kitchen this time of year. Cube it and toss it into a soup or serve it as an entree filled with a savory center—squash is a delicious crowd-pleaser that’s rich in vitamins A, C, B6 and K, as well as potassium and folate.
Mariano’s recipe: Spaghetti Squash Pancakes
Tip: Pick squash that are very hard to the touch, with a matte finish and attached stem.
2. Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts
Once despised by children everywhere, Brussels sprouts have been given a new life in the farm-to-table cooking world, where they are now ubiquitous. Cabbage and sprouts flourish this time of year, and are rich with vitamins and cancer-fighting glucosinolates. They’re a versatile, hearty addition to any dish.
Mariano’s recipe: Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Tip: Ever-hardy cabbage lasts a long time when refrigerated in a plastic bag.
3. Leafy Greens
Beautiful greens like Swiss chard, kale and spinach are packed with super nutrients and bountiful in the fall. Leafy greens have been shown to reduce cholesterol, improve your vision and boost bone health. They’re great beyond salads too—try in ravioli, a smoothie or pop them in the oven for some chips.
Mariano’s recipe: Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Quesadillas
Tip: Massage kale with olive oil to soften the texture and bitter taste.
4. Root Vegetables
A great costar to any entree, root veggies like turnips, carrots and rutabagas shine during the cooler months. A great source of calcium and fiber, root vegetables are the perfect alternative to starchy potatoes and add a hearty, earthy flavor to your favorite comfort foods.
Mariano’s recipe: Hashed Brown Turnip Cakes with Ham and Eggs
Tip: Store your root veggies in a cool, dark, humid room, or in a bag in the refrigerator—storing them uncovered will lead to softening.
Yes, beets are root vegetables as well, but this ruby, juicy veggie deserves its own spotlight! When it comes to beets, the options are endless. They’re chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories and taste good raw or roasted, and even better alongside goat cheese and some nuts.
Mariano’s recipe: Winter Borscht
Tip: If the stems are still attached, remove before storing. Beet greens take all the moisture from the “meat” of the beet.
What are some of your favorite fall vegetables and recipes? Share below! If you’re interested in learning more about cooking seasonally and sustainable, don’t miss our Garden Gourmet chefs at the 2015 Chicago Flower & Garden Show—get your tickets online now and save off the box office price!