Late fall is a wonderful time to feast with friends and family. I offer gratitude to the land and the hands that feed me. Try these seasonal recipes to spice up your fall feasts and bring a healthy twist to traditional dishes.

Quinoa Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped (about 4 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
  • 1⁄4 cup fruit-sweetened dried cranberries (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa: rinse well through a fine-mesh strainer.
  2. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Add salt and black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water is gone. Set aside.
  3. As quinoa cooks, chop vegetables. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Add carrots and celery. Sauté for 5 more minutes.
  5. Turn off heat. Add quinoa, minced parsley, and vinegar.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish with olive oil.
  7. Whisk mustard and 1/4 cup water together.
  8. Place quinoa in baking dish. Pour mixture over it and bake for 15 minutes.

Olive oil: monounsaturated and liquid at room temp., first cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.

Onions: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Quinoa: not actually a grain but a seed related to beets and chard, quinoa is nutrient dense, high in protein, hypo-allergenic, gluten-free complex carbohydrate. It offers a balance of B vitamins to support digestion and provide consistent energy.

French Lentils and Brussels Sprouts

Instructions

  1. To soak dry lentils, place 1 cup in a large bowl and cover with 1 inch water. Soak for 2 hours.
  2. Pour lentils through strainer and allow to drain. Rinse with water until liquid runs clear through strainer.
  3. Pour into a stock pot with 3 cups water. Cover pot and turn heat on high.
  4. Add 1 inch kombu seaweed if it is available to you (I use Ironbound Island seaweed from the coast of Maine).
  5. Bring to a boil, watching carefully to make sure that lentils do not boil over. Once the pot has come to a boil, remove lid and reduce to medium heat.
  6. Foam will form on top of the water. Use a spoon to skim off the foam. Repeat this step periodically as you notice more foam.
  7. Cook lentils for 1⁄2 hour or until tender. Strain and rinse once more.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  9. Chop the ends off of 1 pound of Brussels sprouts. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and thyme.
  10. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
  11. Remove from oven and place in a serving bowl.
  12. Add cooked, rinsed lentils to the Brussels sprouts. Enjoy!

Dark, leafy greens: collards, kale, and Brussels sprouts are rich in folic acid, calcium, and fiber.

Lentils: high in plant protein and fiber, these members of the legume family are easy to digest and cook quickly.

Gingered Winter Squash Mash

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place a medium-sized pumpkin or kabocha squash into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until soft when poked with a fork.
  3. Once squash is cooked, peel it, de-seed it, and place it in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add 1 inch fresh, chopped ginger root
  5. Add 1⁄2 teaspoon of nutmeg, cinnamon, salt
  6. Simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown. Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  7. You can purée it or leave it as is. Serve as you would mashed potatoes. If you like, you can use this as a filling for a nutty pie crust. Delicious!

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms.

Winter squash: high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity; rich in carotenoids, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity; contain B vitamins, which help reduce stress.

Nutty Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup ground pecans or sunflower seeds
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Oil a pie plate with coconut oil.
  3. Grind sunflower seeds / pecans in an espresso beam or spice grinder.
  4. Mix with all other crust ingredients and press into pie plate.
  5. Keep the coconut oil solid and cut into small chunks as you mix the dough.
  6. Spread your favorite filling over the crust, and bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.

Coconut oil: a saturated fat, solid at room temperature, is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility; its anti-bacterial benefits make it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites.

Nuts: almonds, walnuts, and cashews are rich in fat and protein. A handful goes a long way in providing strength, stamina, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, plus Vitamins A & D.

Writer Lisa Mase is a culinary medicine coach, food writer, translator, and folk herbalist living in Vermont. For articles and recipes, visit Lisa at www.harmonizedcookery.com.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.