Make the Most of Fall Vegetables

Slow Cooker Bean Tortellini Soup

Ingredients

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 lb dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

6 cups water

1 bunch of kale, stripped from stalks and sliced thin

1 cup shelf stable tortellini

salt and pepper to taste

optional: freshly grated parmesan cheese

Add onion through water to a slow cooker. Cook on low for about 6 hours or until beans are soft. Remove bay leaf. Add kale and tortellini, cook for an additional 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with fresh parmesan cheese if desired.

Make the Most of Fall Vegetables

By Marci Lutsky

Before you place that order for Amazon Fresh, stop and think about how you can shop local.  Yes, it is convenient to hit a few buttons and have food show up at your doorstep, but local farms still have plenty of fresh produce.  The Linwood Farmers Market has a fall season that goes until November 4th on Saturdays and the Galloway Green Market is held on Sundays until October.  Support your local growers by shopping at the markets and stocking up.  Fall is a great time for fresh vegetables and here are some of my favorites.

Winter squash comes in so many varieties. My two favorites are butternut squash and spaghetti squash.  If the thought of cutting up a squash is intimidating, stop and breathe.  You can do it!  Butternut squash is great in soups, giving it a creamy texture while keeping it non-dairy.  I also love roasting butternut squash and serving it as a side dish.  Spaghetti squash is really fun to cook with, especially if you follow a low-carb diet because it has the feel of noodles. Recently, I made spaghetti squash burritos that my family loved.

Winter greens are some of my absolute favorites.  My family thinks that I sometimes get carried away with kale, but my obsession with it is real!  I love a good kale salad (add roasted butternut squash) but I also love it in soups.  Since kale is such a hearty green, it holds up really well.  I make a great slow cooker white bean and tortellini soup that gets kale added at the end. It freezes beautifully, so I usually make a big batch as the weather turns cooler.

Don’t pass on the beets! Beets are so good for you because they help with inflammation and provide essential nutrients like potassium and magnesium.  So, what do I like to do with beets? Believe it or not, I love eating them raw.  If you don’t have a spiralizer, order one immediately and start spiralizing beets. They make a great addition to salads.  I make a great beet pesto that we enjoy on pizza and paninis. My daughter is the only one who brings beet pesto sandwiches to school. Beets are also great roasted.  On my blog you can find a great recipe for roasted vegetable enchiladas, using beets and carrots. Make sure you don’t toss those beet greens because they are full of vitamins.  Cook them in some olive oil with garlic like you would spinach.

The only thing I’m obsessed with more than kale is Brussels sprouts.  Brussels sprouts don’t have a good reputation which I think is completely unfair. They are delicious and full of possibility. Toss them with olive oil and seasoning and roast them at a high temperature for about 20 minutes.  When the leaves start to get charred, you know they are ready.  I also love them shredded. I make a great shredded Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries and avocado.  As if that wasn’t enough to make you hungry, also consider using shredded Brussels sprouts in sandwiches.  I’m so grateful that my daughter shares my love of this vegetable.  When we pass them at the farmers market she always insists that we buy some.  

Other great fall vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower which are both delicious in soups.  Don’t forget sweet potatoes!  If you only buy sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, you are missing out.  Sweet potato fries are a must and since you just ordered that spiralizer, start making sweet potato noodles.

Stop by one of the great local farmers markets this weekend and pick up some fall vegetables. If you make a weekly menu, let these vegetables help shape your plans.  If you see a vegetable that you aren’t familiar with and need some inspiration, send me an email. I would love to help!

Marci Lutsky is a food blogger at Vegging at the Shore, www.veggingattheshore.com and can be reached at veggingattheshore@gmail.com.

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