Need inspiration for cooking with fall veggies? Check out these 5 recipes

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By: Lydia Sheaks
lsheaks@flavor574.com

If you’ve recently faced down a produce aisle full of misshapen squash and stacks of bright orange pumpkins, you might have wondered what in the world to do with fall’s plentiful vegetables. 

There are several to choose from — beets, carrots, pumpkins, spinach and acorn squash are all just a few of the vegetables in season during October and November, according to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s fruit and vegetable harvest calendar

Here’s five recipes that might inspire you to cook with seasonal vegetables this week. 

Beets

This Beet and Sweet Potato Salad from food blog A Spicy Perspective is everything a fall recipe should be: healthy, colorful and super-easy. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 bunch beets (3-4)
  • 4 scallions
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (pumpkins seeds)

Directions: 

Peel the sweet potatoes and beets.

Use a spiral cutting tool (like the Veggetti) or a standard veggie peeler to cut the veggies into long curly strips. Use a pair of kitchen sheers or a knife to cut the pieces into manageable lengths.

Mix the beet and sweet potato ribbons together in a large bowl.

Cut the scallion tops on an angle to make long rings and sprinkle the salad with scallions and pepitas. Serve with a vinaigrette.

Carrots

You’ve probably heard of sweet potato fries. But have you heard of Carrot Fries? This recipe comes from Wishful Chef

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 carrots, washed and cut into 1/2 inch wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried herbs (parsley, rosemary or thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut carrots into french fry strips. Toss carrots with olive oil, dried herbs and salt and pepper, then place on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Keep an eye on the carrot fries and flip a few times so they don’t burn. 

Pumpkins

This recipe for Pumpkin Chili from Country Living also incorporates black beans and beef — but leave the beef out and swap vegetable broth for the beef broth, and you’ve got an easy vegan entree. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground round
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups sweet pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 can (15-ounce) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (14-ounce) low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cups chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced fresh jalapeños

Directions:

Cook beef in a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until the beef crumbles and is no longer pink, then remove with a slotted spoon.

Cook onion, red pepper and garlic in the meat drippings for 7 minutes.

Stir in chili powder, oregano and cumin and cook 1 more minute. Stir in pumpkin, black beans, diced tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with jalapeños and sour cream, if desired. 

Spinach

Dinner in pie form is not too common, but is easy and tasty. Try it tonight with this easy Spinach Quiche from The Food Network

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, fitted to a 9-inch glass pie plate

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender.

Layer the spinach, bacon, and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Acorn squash

This recipe for Acorn Squash with Cranberry Stuffing from Taste of Home is recommended for your Thanksgiving table…or for your weeknight dinner rotation. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions: 

Cut squash in half; discard seeds.

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of squash halves so they sit flat.

Place squash hollow side down in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

Add 1/2 in. of water. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute celery and onion in butter until tender.

Add the apple, salt, lemon juice and pepper.

Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until apple is tender, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the cranberries, sugar and water. Cook and stir until berries pop and liquid is syrupy.

Turn squash halves over; fill with cranberry mixture. Cover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until squash is tender. 

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks
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