Fall is upon us, and with it comes the urge to cook all the rich foods a person can dream up. Whether you prefer your pie stuffed with pumpkin, chicken and gravy, or tamale filling, there has got to be something healthier, yet still comforting, that you can make at home, right? Of course there is. You can even use fresh, seasonal foods for cooking up a healthy fall meal.
Most people think of salad as a summer food. That's understandable because so many green vegetables are in season during the warmest part of the year. However, many greens, including spinach and kale, keep growing until the beginning of winter. You can also use that famous fall vegetable, Brussels sprouts, as a salad base. The trick is to chop the sprouts into thin strips first. Once you have the base, add some more autumn classics, such as cranberries or pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, chopped apples, and a strong, salty cheese like Parmesan or feta.
The fact that you're staying away from unhealthy casseroles and pot pies doesn't mean you can't have any one-pot dinners in your autumn dinner rotation. When you're trying to keep it simple, think in terms of substituting vegetables for noodles and other grains. Doing that will lower the net carbs in your favorite recipes without sacrificing the overall flavor profile.
Another good choice is an egg-based pie, such as a frittata or quiche. Make your quiche crustless or use a riced cauliflower base. To make the filling, whip the eggs with heavy cream and all the roasted or sauteed vegetables you can find—Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set. If eggs aren't your thing, try a low-carb chili recipe or broccoli and cauliflower au gratin.
When you search for fall dessert recipes, you find page after page of treats filled with sugar and fat. Fortunately, you can adapt some of these recipes to be lower in sugar and overall carbs. Start by replacing the all-purpose flour with almond or coconut flour. For the sugar, use an alternative, such as monk fruit.
If you don't feel like figuring out the substitutions for yourself, look for keto desserts. Many keto recipes have already been adapted to reduce the sugar and carb content; others simply take a different approach to dessert. For example, all you need for a yummy, crust-free pumpkin pie is canned pumpkin, gelatin, butter, and sweetener, as well as a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Dissolve the gelatin in hot water, add melted butter and all the rest of the ingredients, and then chill until set.
If you don't care about staying away from carbs but do want to steer clear of added sugar, a simple dessert of berries and cream may be your best bet. To fancy it up a bit, stew some fruit, whether berries, peaches, apples, or pears, in a bit of water and cinnamon, and serve over biscuits or with cream.
Warming comfort foods don't have to be out of reach just because you want to eat healthy. Use these recipes to keep you eating what's in season even as the weather changes. Now it's your turn: What would you add to this list? How do you keep eating healthy even after summer is over?