Three Delicious Ways to Prepare Veggies for Your Fall Menu

The seasons are changing and so have people’s eating habits, according to a survey my company conducted earlier this year. This global survey included 2000 American respondents, and found that 47% of them have shifted towards a plant-based diet during the pandemic.

While I’m always a champion of ensuring you have plenty of veggies on the table, now more than ever, it seems like veggies may be in high demand this holiday season. To help you prepare nutritious vegetables for your guests, here are three great ways to prepare your fall vegetables:

Roasting Vegetables Mellows the Flavor
One of my favorite ways to prepare veggies is by roasting them—especially carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. The oven’s dry heat caramelizes their natural sugars and brings a depth of flavor to fruits and vegetables.

  • Root Veggie Roast

If you’ve never roasted root vegetables, you should give it a try. Roasted carrots are particularly delicious. Toss them with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then spread out on a cookie sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about a half hour until they’re tender. The vinegar turns into a sticky, syrupy glaze that coats them irresistibly. You can give the same treatment to sweet potatoes, asparagus, green beans or beets—tossing them with something tart before roasting, like lemon or lime juice, vinegar, or even pomegranate juice to contrast with their natural sweetness.

  • Cauliflower Comfort

I was never much of a cauliflower lover until I started roasting it; now it’s become a fall staple at my house. Roasting softens the strong flavor. The cauliflower gets sweeter, and the texture becomes almost meaty. I coat the florets and some sliced onion with a dash of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and curry powder and then roast– you now have a new delicious, and healthy comfort food option.

  • You can roast fruits, too.
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Fall apples are fantastic when they’re prepared this way. Pretty much any variety will do, and you don’t need to peel them. Just cut in halves or quarters, remove the core and spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, sprayed with nonstick spray and roast like you would the veggies. You can toss them with a little lemon juice, apple juice or, if you want, spices first. But if you start with tasty fresh apples, they’re really good on their own.

Crispy Veggies for the Win
When vegetables are overcooked, their texture suffers, and they can lose a lot of their fresh flavor. On top of that, overcooking veggies can destroy the beautiful bright colors, which makes them a lot less appetizing to look at. To preserve taste, texture and color, most vegetables are at their best when they’re cooked until just tender-crisp. That means they’re heated and cooked through, and you can easily bite them—but they’ve still got a bit of a ‘snap’ to them. 

Improve Flavor with Blanching
Blanching your veggies in hot water for just a minute takes away much of the raw taste but minimizes vitamin losses because the process is so quick. This works really well with strong-tasting, firm vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower florets. Bring a pot of water (salt optional) to a boil, then drop in the veggies and leave them for about 45 seconds. Drain, then give a quick rinse with cold water and drain again. They’re now ready to stir-fry, or just chill and add to salads or use for dipping. Another top vegetable tip: Hot vegetables carry odors. So, if that’s what stops you from eating them, this blanch-and-chill method might work really well for you.

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