October is here and it’s feeling like time to roast some vegetables.
Fall is here bringing with it root vegetables like beets, parsnips, and sweet potatoes, and of course our favorite autumn vegetable, pumpkins — which are actually in the gourd family (so they grow on top of the ground from tendrils that leaf, flower and then grow pumpkins, cucumbers and squash). We try to eat seasonally at Countertop, and we are lucky as it is easy in California with so many fantastic grocery stores and farmers markets up and down the golden state. Back to the root vegetables, here are some easy ways to amp up your vegetables with Countertop, cooking with warming, mineral filled spices and healthy fats to help make the food you already cook a powerhouse of flavor and functional health.
Beets are the wonder vegetable of fall. We love beets, not only because of their earthy flavor, but because they are high in iron and folate (they feed the blood), Vitamin C and are anti-inflammatory. They are also a sexual tonic for both men and women, nourishing and protecting the reproductive systems.
Roasted beets are delicious, roasting brings out their sweetness beautifully. Preheat oven to 400F. Peel and cut beets into quarters, dab with Golden Butter and sprinkle Poultry Blend like you would a salt and pepper, put on a sheet pan and into the oven for approx 30 mins, turning once or twice, cooking through and evenly.
Let’s not forget about beet greens, one of the most health greens available. High in Vitamin B 6, potassium and copper, beet greens pack a big punch of health benefits and cook in under a minute. Wash and saute in a pan with 1 TBSP of Golden Butter until just wilted, really less than a minute. Top rice bowls or ramen or use them as a perfect side to all main courses. Plus beet greens help you feel good about using the whole vegetable – zero waste!
The star of October is our favorite fall vegetable – the pumpkin. Pumpkins are delicious and so good for you; high in beta carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A which helps protect the eyes, bones and immune system. Pumpkins are also high in fibre, vitamin C and E (read collagen boost). Pumpkin is a vegetable with great flavor and benefits and they are not just for Halloween! The green skinned acorn squash or the kabocha is readily available and makes for great baking.
Pumpkins are so versatile to cook with, once you get over having to prepare them, but a sharp knife, a study cutting board and some focus is all you need. Add pumpkins cubed to kitcheri or into a soup, mash them, hasselback and roast them! Roast pumpkins but cubing and 1-2 TBSP (depending on how big your pumpkin is!) coating each side and put into a 390F oven for 25 mins, checking at 15 mins and turning. Have these on hand as part of your meal prep and add as a side from everything to eggs, leftovers, grain bowls.
Sweet potatoes are available all year round but we had to give them a shout out. This delicious root vegetable is packed with vitamin A & C, potassium, magnesium, iron, and fiber. Sweet potatoes are easily available and so versatile (have you seen sweet potatoes toasted like a piece of bread in the toaster?) and are a staple for most of us these days.
Golden Butter mashed sweet potatoes, are delicious! Cube 2 sweet potatoes and put into a pot with with ½ cup water (yes, sweet potatoes have a lot of water, so you can cook them in a little amount of water) on low with the lid ajar for approx 25 mins. There shouldn’t be too much water, but drain off any excess and stir in 2 tablespoons of Golden Butter, a pinch of salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Yum.