When autumn comes around, it’s like you can feel the earth breathing out as the leaves start to fall and the weather turns cool and crisp. It’s one of my favorite feelings – to almost feel the earth letting things go and then winding down in preparation for winter. This time of year can also be the very busy for many of us, so coming up with dinner inspiration can be really tough. That’s when I turn to warm bowls of stew. With all of the great fall produce overflowing at the market, there are so many great combinations! This really is super easy, I think you’ll love it.
Just as the plants and animals around us are beginning to prepare for winter, we need to as well. That means packing in some nutrient dense dishes to brace us for upcoming fights against viruses and also against the future cold weather.
I created this stew, inspired by the fall, by shopping around and picking out what looked good. You’ll find this is my method typically. I seek to create recipes around the produce of the season so that I’m always using the freshest ingredients. Cooking seasonally and with fresh ingredients is about improvising and having an underlying outline of a recipe, open to interpretation. Have you ever wanted to follow a recipe, only to realize you need a teaspoon of a special ingredient you may not use again or have to buy a lot of special items? This can be very tedious. Instead, I keep a solid set of pantry items and then have a more fluid and natural method to my everyday cooking. Learning how to cook intuitively just takes some practice, but in my opinion, is the key to eating healthy and nutritious without feeling overwhelmed by a million recipes.
This veggie stew is a perfect example of an easily varied recipe that is quick to throw together and lasts for days if you make a big enough batch. The concept is to combine lots of veggies together, simmer until tender, add some herbs, and serve. While this particular recipe has cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, garlic, pumpkin, zucchini, bell peppers and kale, it would also be good if you left one out and replaced with something else. It also would be good to add beans for more protein. Just keep the overall volume of vegetables the same. The options are limitless! Please share what combinations you come up with!
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Fall Vegetable Stew
- 2 cups cooked beans of your choice
- 1 cauliflower
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup roasted pumpkin or butternut squash
- 3 zucchini
- 2 red bell peppers
- 2 cups kale
- 4 cups veggie broth, preferably homemade
- Olive oil
- 1 T Herbs de Provence
- Chop all of the veggies into medium sized pieces. Mince the garlic cloves.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large Dutch oven pot and heat over medium low. Add the chopped onion and garlic and sauté until onions become translucent. Add in all of the other veggies except the pumpkin and kale, and stir, cooking about 5 mins.
- Add the broth and bring to a simmer. If you need more liquid, then either add more broth or just add some water. Add the herbs.
- Stir in the pumpkin and allow all to simmer until veggies are tender, about 10 mins.
- Before serving, stir in the kale and allow to just wilt. Adjust salt as needed. Stir in beans, if using.
- Serve topped with additional fresh kale.
HI, I’M LEAH
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