Let’s cut to the chase. It’s pumpkin! Nah, I’m just kidding. Fall is coming and pumpkins are everywhere. In lattes, cereals, hummus and everything else that people feel the need to add it to. Restaurants and cafes are getting creative every year. Although I’m not going to deny that pumpkin in its purest form, it can be a great source of fiber, it’s low in calories and is even rich in vitamins A and C and other antioxidants. Sure, they’re healthy, but we can’t eat them all the time just because it’s fall.
There’s more to fall than just pumpkins. Autumn offers bright harvests of warm and inviting flavors that will help you feel cozy despite the dropping temperatures as the holiday season approaches. Below are the fall superfoods that are guaranteed to keep the sniffles away!
Just like pumpkins, they’re rich in fiber and vitamin A. It’s the perfect alternative to pumpkin and it’s definitely one of the best superfoods out there. It’s also low in sodium but has more sugar than white potatoes. However, it has lower calories.
You can bake sweet potatoes by pricking it with a fork then baking it at 400° for about 40 minutes until it’s tender. Slice it in half and add a dash of cinnamon for added taste. If you want sweet potato fries, cut it in french fry slices and coat in olive oil, garlic powder, and a little paprika. You can roast these for about 350° for about thirty minutes.
If you want something pureed, you can try this Curried Sweet Potato Puree recipe:
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 4 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 lime
- Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish, optional
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap each sweet potato in foil, put on a baking sheet and bake until soft, 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
- Combine the almond milk, curry powder and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by a third, about 5 minutes. Discard the ginger.
- Pour any sugary juices from the sweet potato foil wrappers into a food processor. Peel the sweet potatoes and add the flesh to the food processor. Add the almond milk mixture and 1/2 teaspoon salt and puree until smooth.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and squeeze the lime over the finished puree. Garnish with almonds and cilantro if desired and serve warm.
Cranberries are only 45 calories per cup and are a great source of vitamin C. It’s very rich in disease-fighting antioxidants too! This will definitely strengthen your immunity as colds start to spread during these colder months. However, we’re not talking about the canned gelatinous stuff that’s full of sugar during Thanksgiving. We’re talking about dried or fresh cranberries that you can add to cereals, oatmeal or turn into smoothies. You can even use fresh cranberries when you bake your favorite muffin or bread.
Here’s a simple recipe of a Banana Cranberry Oatmeal Bar:
- 1/4 cup almond milk (or other)
- 1/2 cup Sucanat or brown sugar
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or other light tasting oil), melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 medium very ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup cranberries or raisins
- 1.5 cups regular oats
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or other flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8th tsp kosher salt
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, ground flax seeds, soymilk, oil, and vanilla. Whisk together.
- Cut the bananas into chunks and stir into the wet mixture. Grab a fork or potato masher and mash the banana into the wet mixture. It is ok if some small chunks remain. Stir in the cranberries or raisins. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Scoop the granola batter into the pan. Smooth out with a spoon or hands and press it down firmly.
- Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes until the edges begin to golden and it is slightly firm to touch. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack and cooling completely. Slice into 8-10 bars.
Aside from pumpkins, cinnamon is a very common spice during the fall season. Its sweet and spicy aroma is very comforting–and healthy! Cinnamon is so much more than just nostalgia and comfort. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and even antifungal properties. For women who have PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome, it can help by managing insulin resistance and heavy menstruation.
There are different kinds of cinnamon and they differ in nutritional value. Look for cinnamonum verum or Ceylon cinnamon variety. The more common type is called Cinnamomum cassia or also known as Chinese cinnamon or Cassia cinnamon. The latter does not offer the same nutritional value as the first one and can even be toxic if you consume more than 6 grams. You can try sprinkling cinnamon to almost anything, from tea to your carrot fries, you can! Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a quick Cinnamon Pancake recipe, here it is:
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 2 1/2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups all-purpose, einkorn or Spelt flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons Melt Rich & Creamy Spread, melted, plus more for greasing the skillet
- 4 tablespoons Melt Rich & Creamy spread, melted
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Maple syrup for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax seeds and water. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until thickened.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and sea salt. Whisk in the flax seed mixture, milk, vanilla extract and Melt until just combined.
- For the cinnamon swirl, in a small bowl, stir together the Melt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Scrape into a Ziploc bag or a disposable pastry bag.
- Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and grease with a tablespoon of Melt spread. Using a 1/4 cup scoop, scoop the batter onto the hot griddle. Cut one of the corners of the Ziploc bag or the tip of the pastry bag with the cinnamon swirl mixture in it and make a concentric circle on each pancake, starting from the center and swirling outward. When small bubbles start to form and pop on the edge of the pancakes, about 2-3 minutes, flip them and cook on the opposite side for another 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve topped with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Enjoy the fall season with these healthy superfoods, everyone!