As the weather gets colder, it’s time to incorporate the nutritious seasonal produce of autumn into our diets. Eating fresh, vitamin-packed meals overflowing with fall flavors can help strengthen immunity and provide key nutrients our bodies need. Focus your meals on these eight hearty, healthy options available in the fall months.
1. Kale Salad
This leafy green is at its best in terms of flavor and texture during the fall and winter. Kale delivers a hefty dose of vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains antioxidants to help reduce inflammation. The hardy texture of kale leaves can be softened by massaging the leaves with lemon juice and olive oil before assembling the salad. For a dish that celebrates autumn flavors, top the kale with sliced apples, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. The combination of bright, crunchy kale with sweet apples, tart cranberries, and earthy nuts makes this salad a great way to enjoy the taste of freshness in the fall.
2. Apple Cider Vinaigrette Salad
Apples make their debut in the fall, so take advantage of this crunchy fruit while they are at peak freshness and flavor. Enjoy thinly sliced apples over a leafy green salad dressed with a sweet yet tangy apple cider vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar and olive oil. The natural pectin fiber in apples can aid digestion, and antioxidants like quercetin and vitamin C in apples may give your immune system a lift. To make this a hearty fall meal, add toasted walnuts for crunch and crumbled gorgonzola or goat cheese for a creamy, tangy accent. The combination of crisp apples, nuts, and cheese perfectly complements the salad greens dressed in the fruity vinaigrette. If you are not much of a chef and are looking for easy fall salads, then this is perfect for you.
3. Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash comes into season in autumn, making it the perfect time to enjoy this orange-fleshed gourd. Packed with immunity-boosting vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium, butternut squash is an exceptional source of important vitamins and minerals. Transform cubed butternut squash into a velvety, steaming soup by roasting or simmering the squash before pureing it to a creamy consistency. Top the soup with toasted pumpkin seeds, roasted squash, or a swirl of coconut milk for extra richness and texture. The sweet, earthy flavor of the squash shines through for a comforting, nourishing meal on chilly fall days.
4. Roasted Beet Salad
Available throughout fall and winter, beets reveal a vibrant fuchsia interior when sliced open. Beyond their eye-catching color, beets serve important nutrients like folate for healthy cell function, manganese for bone health and metabolism, and potassium to keep blood pressure in check. Roasting beets deepen their natural, earthy sweetness while creating a tender interior and caramelized exterior. Arrange slices of roasted beets over baby arugula, then top with crumbled goat cheese and toasted walnuts. Finish with a bright, citrusy vinaigrette to balance the earthiness of the beets. The combination of flavors and textures makes this a stand-out fall salad.
5. Pomegranate Arugula Salad
Pomegranates come into season in the fall, yielding glistening ruby-red seeds packed with refreshing pops of sweet yet tart juice. Pair these jewel-toned seeds with peppery arugula, which supplies plenty of immune-supporting vitamin K and vitamin C, along with folate for red blood cell production. A simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper allows the flavors of the ingredients to shine. Toast pecans or walnuts and sprinkle over the top for crunch. Pomegranate seeds add texture,and their unique sweet-tart pop balances the peppery greens for a lively seasonal salad.
6. Pumpkin Salad with Pepitas
Pumpkins usher in the fall season in abundance. For a savory pumpkin salad, roast cubed pumpkin with olive oil, salt, and pepper to intensify the flavor. Toss the roasted pumpkin with mixed greens, a diced Granny Smith apple, crumbled goat cheese, and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Pepitas provide magnesium to support bone health and zinc to aid immunity. Combined with the antioxidants from the pumpkin and tart apple, this salad offers a powerhouse of important nutrients. The mix of flavors and textures, from the crisp greens to the creamy cheese, sweet apple, crunchy pepitas, and earthy roasted pumpkin, come together for an irresistible fall salad.
7. Pear Gorgonzola Salad
Juicy pears start arriving in markets in the fall and remain available through early winter. Take advantage of their peak season by using fresh pears in an autumn salad. Pair mixed baby greens with sliced pears, toasted walnuts for crunch, and crumbled gorgonzola for a tangy, creamy accent. The antioxidants in pears provide cell protection, while the gorgonzola adds a sophisticated savory goodness. For the dressing, a simple mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil lets the flavors of the salad components take center stage. The interplay between the juicy sweet pears, the crunchy toasted nuts, the rich cheese, and the delicate greens makes this an elegant fall salad.
8. Persimmon Caprese Salad
Once winter frosts sweeten up this fall fruit, slice persimmons and use them in place of tomatoes in a seasonal spin on a Caprese salad. Pair persimmons with fresh mozzarella and whole basil leaves. Persimmons contain antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene to support your immune system, while the mozzarella provides calcium for strong bones. The sweetness of the persimmons contrasts nicely with the creamy mozzarella and aromatic basil. Putting a fall twist on this classic salad combination makes for an elegant dish perfect for coldweather.
As the weather cools down, warm up with hearty, nourishing meals overflowing with fresh fall produce. Focus your fall meals on flavorful in-season ingredients like kale, squash, apples, beets, pomegranates, pumpkins, pears, and persimmons to get an extra dose of vitamins and antioxidants. Eating seasonal salads will energize your body and keep you feeling your best all autumn and winter long.