It's that time of the year again, Autumn! Golden leaves falling in the cool autumnal breeze. The nights are growing longer and darker, the days stormy and grey.
Evenings are for snuggling on the couch, in a warm knit jumper and a hot cup of coco!
Food wise; Autumn in Europe is time to get the hands muddy and reap what was sown in the Spring time. The harvest provides us with hearty seasonal vegetables and fruits.
So why not take advantage of more seasonal, local food this Autumn?
We have compiled breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes that are plant-based, easy to make, are made of only local and seasonal ingredients, provide you with all the nutrients you need and are heavenly delicious. The perfect comfort food you can enjoy on a rainy day!
Breakfast: Porridge with Apples, Pears and Nuts
A wonderfully healthy, plant-based and nourishing food for breakfast that will fill you up and provide you with all the nutrients to start your day on the right foot, is porridge or oatmeal!
There are so many different options for porridge, but one Autumn and Winter favorite is with grated apples, pears and walnuts.
To prepare, place ca. 150g oats together with 500ml plant-based milk (oat/soy milk) in a pan over medium heat.
Add a pinch of sea salt or Himalayan salt, stir the oats and let them simmer for about 5 minutes, stir it as often as you can to guarantee a smooth and creamy porridge.
In the meantime, grate the apple, cut the pear in little squares and chop the walnuts into small pieces.
To serve; Scoop into a warm bowl and top it off with the fruits and nuts. Sweeten as you wish or add spices like cinnamon to refine.
Oats are a great source of fiber that lead to a great digestion, increased fullness and appetite suppression. They also contain a good amount of protein and other vitamins like manganese (important for metabolism), phosphorus for bone health, iron, zinc for a healthy immune system and selenium for a good immune system.
Apples and pears are great locally harvested fruits for the autumn and winter months and are rich in vitamin C, fiber, antioxidants and potassium. Apples and pears are also important for a healthy heart.
Walnuts are a great source of healthy fats, omega-3s, are rich in antioxidants and they help decrease inflammation, promote a healthy gut and help lower blood pressure.
Lunch: Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato Soup
After a heart and soul warming porridge in the morning, we continue with some fresh, easy and delicious comfort food for lunch. Many root vegetables are locally in season in the autumn months, and what could be a better autumn lunch than a tasty pumpkin soup refined with carrots and potatoes?
Roughly chop 1 large onion, 1 whole squash, 3 carrots, 3 medium-sized potatoes and 2 cloves of garlic. Grate some ginger, for extra flavor .
(Tip: Keep the pumpkin seeds for a snack - they are one of the richest plant-based sources of iron and manganese!)
Heat a splash of olive oil in a pot and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for two minutes and then add the pumpkin and carrots. Sauté for another 5 minutes, until golden.
Add about one liter of organic vegetable stock, chopped potatoes and grated ginger. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Add spices like black pepper, sea salt, turmeric, paprika powder, fresh ground nutmeg, ground coriander and a tiny pinch of cinnamon and vanilla. Blend again.
Let the soup simmer for another 5 minutes.
(Tip: Before you serve the soup, squeeze the juice of half an orange for an extra tangy flavour.)
Root vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, squash and (sweet) potato are great sources of vitamins A, B and C, antioxidants, manganese, potassium in the autumn and winter time. Turmeric and ginger are one of the greatest natural anti-inflammatory foods, providing a natural remedy against cold and flu.
Dinner: Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower and Fennel Gratin
For dinner, we have a vegan gratin with Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower and Fennel.
Packed full with nutrients and minerals, this dinner is most certainly healthy, comforting and yummy!
Start by cooking the Brussel sprouts in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes.
Add cauliflower; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
Drain and transfer vegetables to a bowl of ice water to cool.
Vegan cream for the gratin, cooking method;
Soak cashews in water or use cashew nut butter. Mix in a blender with water, a pinch of salt, pepper and nutritional yeast and blend well.
Chop 2 shallots, fresh sage and fennel and add it to a large saucepan together with the creamy sauce. Bring to boil and then reduce heat.
Simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat.
Prepare a baking dish and arrange the vegetables in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour cream mixture with fennel evenly over. Top with split almonds, cover the gratin with foil.
Bake in the oven at 200°C for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Voila!
Brussel sprouts are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C for immune health. Cauliflower provides big amounts of fiber and choline for brain development and fennel is a wonderful winter vegetable and rich in vitamin C, contains many antioxidants for cell reparation and potassium and magnesium for healthy bones. Almonds that are sprinkled on top of the gratin are rich in unsaturated fats and great for cardiovascular diseases.
Cooking fresh and seasonal is not only the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way, but on top of that it also provides great varieties of fresh, organic food and delicious, healthy, nourishing recipes that will get you excited for the seasons. The rich autumn harvest provides all the nutritional value you need to get you going, so you don’t have to resort back to buying imported foods.
We hope you try and enjoy these recipes and let us know how they turned out for you in the comment section!