The cold weather is brewing and now is the perfect time to turn toward the more warming, autumn harvest foods that are in season. Root vegetables are abundant this time of year. You can find fresh carrots, potatoes, beets, garlic and onions at your local farmer’s market. Fresh herbs include rosemary, sage, basil and parsley. Yum! Warm vegetable soup anyone? To find a complete list of seasonal produce in your area, head to this website: Sustainable Table
There are several reasons why eating seasonally is best for the body and our taste buds!
- Flavor: freshly picked produce keep the highest concentration of nutrients, which enhances flavor. The longer picked produce waits to be used, the weaker the taste. Tomatoes are the perfect example.
- Nutrition: fresh produce will provide the most antioxidants our bodies crave!
- Variety: our bodies love a variety of food! Getting creative with spices (ginger, cardamom, mustard seeds) and trying new produce (celery root, rutabaga, kohlrabi) can boost our immune system by stimulating our digestion and gut bacteria to adapt to new foods.
- Environment: purchasing in-season local produce reduces pesticide use, reduces the load on the environment, and supports our local economy!
It’s a great time of year to get out to the farmer’s markets and start conversations with our local farmers! Although the temperature is dropping, they are outside everyday digging up delicious offerings for us to indulge in. Your smile keeps them going each year!
Quinoa Vegetable Soup
Author: Cookie and Kate
This healthy homemade vegetable soup recipe is full of seasonal veggies, kale and quinoa. It’s easy to make and good for you, too! This soup makes great leftovers.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 to 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables, like zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, sweet potatoes or butternut squash
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 can (28 ounce) diced organic tomatoes, drained
- Scant 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh colander
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 can (15 ounces) great northern beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup or more chopped fresh kale or collard greens, tough ribs removed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Optional garnish: freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, seasonal vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened and is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 1 minute. Pour in the drained diced tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.
- Pour in the quinoa, broth and the water. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 2 bay leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
- Cook for 25 minutes, then remove the lid and add the beans and the chopped greens. Continue simmering for 5 minutes or more, until the greens have softened to your liking.
- Remove the pot from heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt and pepper until the flavors really sing. (You might need up to ½ teaspoon more salt, depending on your vegetable broth and your personal preferences.) Divide into bowls and top with grated Parmesan if you’d like.