Eating seasonally and locally means we’re consuming foods when they’re highest in nutrients and haven’t had to be transported thousands of miles overseas. The closer we can make the gap between the origin of what we eat and the plate we eat it off, the more we save the earth’s resources – so you’re being healthier not just for yourself, but for everyone!
In the UK, seasonal vegetables you’ll find in October are:
…. And that’s just to name a few! September and October are two of the most abundantly rich months when it comes to making the most of home-grown foods. So make the most of the harvest season and discover your local market or help a friend in their own garden or allotment to pick and prepare plant powered meals straight from the soil.
Autumnal foods tend to be satisfying, filling, hearty and ‘grounding’. They’re especially helpful for balancing those with a predominance of the Vata dosha in them, which is important when this time of year can often increase the amount of Vata symptoms (coldness, dry skin, cracking joints, stiffness, low mood and fatigue) in all of us. The fact that most of the ingredients in this recipe come from the ground is a little clue to the fact that they are really able to make us feel more grounded and balanced when life gets a little chaotic.
Ingredients: (serves 4-8, depending upon whether you use it as a main or side dish)
- 4 medium sized beetroot
- 8 medium carrots
- 1 fennel bulb
- 8 chestnuts (They’re seasonal and are a delicious and satisfying addition to meals at this time of year, with plenty of antioxidants and a small amount of protein and healthy fats).
- 2-3 large parsnips
- ½ a small pumpkin or 1-2 munchkin pumpkins
- sprinkle of thyme, 2-3 sticks of cinnamon and a few cracks of black pepper
- Glug of balsamic vinegar
- optional: add a few cloves of garlic for more flavour and a sprinkle of good quality salt
Cooking oils to use: Coconut oil or Red Palm oil
Coconut oil contains a huge amount of nutritional value, including beneficial medium chain fatty acids, the ability to boost the metabolism and improve digestion, and also the fact that it’s one of the only oils that doesn’t turn rancid when cooking at a high temperature. (Most other oils like olive oil, sunflower oil or vegetable oil turn rancid when used in cooking and end up being harmful to the body instead of beneficial.)
Red palm oil is considered one of the ‘new superfoods’ – although the term ‘superfood’ is of course thrown about a lot these days. It’s extremely high in beta cerotine (hence the bright orangey – yellow colour), antioxidants, and vitamins A and K. It has a rich and buttery taste, and also manages to keep all of its nutrients intact when used in cooking. Red Palm oil is also a very powerful anti-
inflammatory, helpful for easing any aches and pains you might pick up this season. If you’re making home-made popcorn, it makes a delicious and healthier alternative to butter as a topping.
Pre-heat oven to 180C
Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces and spread evenly onto a baking tray. Add the chestnuts but be sure to peel these before eating them!
Scoop out a large teaspoon of coconut oil or red palm oil and drop a few dots evenly throughout the veg (as it melts you can shuffle it around the tray after the veg has cooked a little).
Sprinkle over thyme, black pepper and optional salt, and add in the cinnamon sticks (…….. don’t eat the cinnamon sticks).
Add in any other optional ingredients like potato, garlic, squash, or celeriac, or any other vegetables you have that need using. Roasting vegetables is a brilliant opportunity to use up vegetables that aren’t going to be used in the next few days but need to be used in some way. Prevent waste by adding whatever you need to dishes like this.
Place the tray of vegetables in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the tray every 20 minutes or so to shuffle everything around so it all gets covered in oil and roasts evenly on all sides.
For the last 10-15 minutes of baking, glug over some balsamic vinegar, which will add a rich and flavourful taste to the vegetables. Balsamic vinegar is also a well known pain-reliever, and was traditionally used many years ago to relieve symptoms of migraines and headaches. It’s a useful anti-inflammatory condiment to add to meals as low levels of pain-inducing, chronic inflammation are present in many of us.
Check on the veg after 40 minutes as it is likely to need more time. Depending upon your oven type, you may need to roast the veg between 40 – 60 minutes….. So have a glass of something while you’re waiting….
After the veg is all roasted and smells delicious, remove from the oven and serve each person a portion of it with some healthy protein like lentils or beans, or a poached egg for non-vegans for a complete meal.
If you don’t use all the veg in one meal, it is also delicious served cold in a salad with seasonal kale and lemon juice, can be mixed into a pasta or ‘courgetti’ (spiralised courgette) dish, or used as a pizza topping in your actually healthy pizza recipe….