For many, fall means pumpkin pie, dressing and green bean casserole. While those foods are delicious, they aren’t always the best options for overall health. Enjoying them in small portions, along with these similar, heart healthy recipes will help you get into the spirit! Here are several recipes you can enjoy with your family this fall.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
According to AARP and the American Heart Association, pumpkin seeds are chock full of fiber and magnesium, which are essential for heart health. If you’re looking for a tasty, crunchy snack, try roasting pumpkin seeds! This recipe from Simply Recipes is sure to hit the spot.
- One medium pumpkin
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cut open the pumpkin by cutting a circle around the stem end with a sharp knife (knife blade angled in), and pulling off the top.
- Use a strong metal spoon to scrape the inside of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and strings.
- Place the mass of pumpkin seeds in a colander and run under water to rinse and separate the seeds from everything else.
- Measure the pumpkin seeds in a cup measurer. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to the saucepan for every half cup of pumpkin seeds.
- Bring the salted water and pumpkin seeds to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the bottom of a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with olive oil, about a teaspoon or so.
- Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan in a single layer, and toss them a bit to coat them with the oil on the pan.
- Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown, 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. Small pumpkin seeds may toast in around 5 minutes or so, large pumpkin seeds may take up to 20 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the pumpkin seeds so they don’t get over toasted. When lightly browned, remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.
- Either crack to remove the inner seed or eat whole.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
If you have diabetes or are prediabetic, watching your starch intake is important. But you can’t ignore all carbohydrates, they are essential for your health! Luckily, sweet potatoes are prevalent during the fall, and a baked sweet potato is a great starch option! This simple recipe from Delish is an easy one to follow.
- 4 sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 4 tbsp. butter
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 425º.
- On a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork.
- Place the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes on it in the oven and bake until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 45 to 50 minutes.
- Let the sweet potatoes cool, then split the tops open with a knife and top with a pat of butter.
- Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Butternut Squash Chili
Chili is a cold-weather staple for many families. This healthier take on chili incorporates squash, which is a filling and healthy fall choice! Squash is rich in vitamin C, which is known to promote eye health and can even fight against cataracts. This recipe from the Washington Post contains not only squash, but several other superpowered ingredients that can boost your health! Don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables? Substitute for canned ingredients!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
- 3 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added navy, Great Northern or cannellini beans (from 2 15-ounce cans), drained and rinsed
- 1 small zucchini (8 ounces), trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 (4-ounce) cans mild green chiles with their liquid
- 2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo with their sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine table salt, plus more to taste
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s tender and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the beans, zucchini, squash, green chiles, chipotles in adobo, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder and salt, followed by the broth and quinoa. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover, and cook until the squash is fork-tender and the quinoa is fully cooked, about 20 minutes.
- Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice, taste, and season with more salt and/or lime juice, if needed. Serve hot.