Food & Drink
Eat Your Vegetables
Make the most of seasonal produce with these recipes
By Sarah Stackhouse October 19, 2023
The parking garage is under a vitamin shop, across the street from an apartment complex. It’s trash pickup day so the garbage cans are stinky and overflowing. A few crows bounce through puddles in the alley, waiting for me to pass so they can get back to doing whatever it is crows do when no one is looking.
Stacked on top of a folding table, in the back corner of the garage, are about nine medium-sized cardboard boxes. One of them always has my name printed on it. Inside the box are two big yellow onions, a huge head of cauliflower, napa cabbage, and broccoli. There’s also a bag of brightly colored mixed salad greens and at least 15 carrots.
I collect my farm share subscription box from River Run Farm every Tuesday afternoon, and I must say it’s a weekly highlight. Sure, there are a lot of tubers this time of year, but if my family and I have had enough of something, we give it away. It’s part of the fun.
Whether you’re sourcing produce from one of the region’s open-air markets, the grocery store, a warehouse club, or your own abundant fall garden, it’s essential that you eat these nutrient-rich dirt lovers, especially as we head into winter and direct sunlight becomes less frequent. Aside from being nutritious, seasonal produce supports sustainability and can be less expensive because, in theory, there’s an abundance. I’ve been loving these three recipes that highlight the current harvest.
Roast cauliflower chickpea curry is a delicious recipe from Chetna Makan, a culinary star known for her appearance on season 5 of The Great British Bake Off. She has numerous cookbooks and loads of cooking videos online. You may need to buy a few new spices upfront but if you stick with her you’ll use them regularly. Note: I use two cans of chickpeas for this recipe, instead of the dry beans listed. I also love Chetna’s masala chai tea. It’s easy, delicious, and makes for a cozy gift during the cold season.
Minestrone is a straightforward, hearty tomato-based soup. It’s full of beans, vegetables, and a handful of noodles. Keep in mind that minestrone has a formula. The vegetables can be anything seasonal. You simply need about four cups total: two cups of chopped veggies and two cups of cabbage (or any robust leafy green.) You can use potatoes in place of traditional green beans, and just about any squash will do. You don’t have to limit yourself to zucchini. The same goes for herbs. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, fennel. Mix and match if you’d like or, just pick one. The only herb I find mandatory is a single bay leaf. Red pepper flakes are always an option if you want the extra kick. For broth, you can use chicken or vegetable. Serve with your favorite crusty bread. Macrina, Essential Baking Co., Grand Central, and the local store brand are all solid choices.
Brussels sprouts are a delicious autumn vegetable. I particularly enjoy the contrast between their bitterness and the sweet pear used in this recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts with pears and pistachios. Start by halving a generous portion of Brussels sprouts and a ripe pear, then roast in a hot oven until they caramelize, turning them over midway. In the final five minutes, sprinkle on the chopped pistachios and roughly chop the pear. Finish with a spritz of lemon and season to your taste.
I hope you’re feeling inspired to fill your kitchen with the smells, colors, and tastes of the season. Next, I’m going to try these blended apple pancakes. This beautiful fall salad has so many fun textures!