Nearly everyone and everything says that autumn has arrived: my flame-red Virginia Creeper climbing up the garage; the carpet of crispy oak leaves on my sad excuse for a lawn; excitable foodies on Instagram going pumpkin latte-mad; pull-out newspaper supplements with food porn shots of, yup, pumpkins.
So I’m finding this warm weather really confusing. The shops are full of pumpkin this and that (actual pumpkins, pies, candy, costumes…), cosy sweaters and furry boots. But I’m not quite feeling it. Our recent week in the Lake District was like summer and now, packing for Tokyo (I will have been away three days when you read this), I’m rolling up linen t-shirts and packing open-toed shoes. When is autumn going to arrive??
Even though the weather is slow to get into gear I’ve been looking through my fall recipes hoping it will get me in the mood for when the temperature finally drops. With that in mind I’ve put together a selection of my favourite fall-minded vegetarian and vegan cosy recipes to not only get me in the mood for crisp, cool days but you too.
This soup is unfeasibly red and tasty, and sublimely easy to make too. You can prepare it as per a usual soup, or you can make a raw version blended up to velvety smoothness in a high-speed blender, like my Optimum 9400 Froothie. Instructions are given for both. Oh, and if your vegetables are organic just give them a good scrub and keep the peel – too many lovely goodies are in the skin to let them go to waste.
This easy, slightly spicy (although the heat is really up to you) soup can be made with whatever is seasonal. The main thing to keep it vaguely on a Mexican wave(length) is actually the herbs, lime and pickled jalapenos – all easily obtained year round. Do adjust to your own palate, although I have deliberately kept it on the family-friendly end of the spectrum. “For once”, you might legitimately add.😉
The bright, light layers of freshness in the spice paste make this dish. You can use it with most anything in your vegetable tray and it will give you a deep, delicious Thai-style curry in under forty-five minutes – including all the prep time.
I make this super-easy on myself by keeping a corralled together stash of frozen whizzed up lime leaves (I keep them in a little glass jar), whole lemongrass and galangal in my freezer. I find that my Thai supermarket is the cheapest place to get such things – and the best quality too – but as it is kind of far away it is fortuitous that these delectable items keep so well in the freezer. I used to keep shrimp paste with this stash, but prefer now to use soy sauce or coconut aminos instead.
The key to any potato-based gnocchi is to keep it dry: use floury potatoes, mash them up, and let the potatoes lose their steam. Also, resist adding any milk or butter or you will end up with tasty wallpaper paste! Here is a brilliant link for choosing the right potatoes for any use.
Although this is a from-scratch gluten-free gnocchi recipe – super easy, but takes time – you could use prepared potato gnocchi, adding roasted squash and shreds of sage before popping under the grill/broiler. And, just to say, that although adding egg does help with the ‘integrity’ of the gnocchi, it is very successful without the egg.
The only vaguely tricky thing about this recipe is getting into the spaghetti squash itself. Guidance is given after the recipe. Once tackled, this recipe is simple and very rewarding.
How about some gorgeous garnishes? I love fried cubes of vegetarian chorizo, or how about yogurt whizzed with a little preserved lemon, or a crumble of feta cheese?
Super-easy and full of warm spices, this hearty, fibre-rich dish is perfect for autumn evenings. We enjoy this with wholegrain couscous, but equally quinoa, brown basmati rice, some flatbreads for scooping, or even baked potatoes would be a great accompaniment to this colour- and flavour-packed family-minded dish. Serve with a crisp green salad or wilted greens studded with raisins and pine nuts.
Normal orange supermarket carrots are of course fine here, and feel free to change out the pleasantly pungent taleggio cheese for fruity, buttery fontina, crumbly, lemony goat’s cheese, gooey, mild mozzarella, or – if vegan – skip the cheese all together. I have ditched the usual vinegar-tinged caramel sauce for thick balsamic vinegar, but here is a recipe from Donna Hay using the more usual method. My carrot tarte tatin recipe is easily doubled, or adjusted to the pan you wish to use. I used a 10″ cast iron skillet.
Yes, this is a “double broccoli” recipe – no waste! You use the lower stems to make a simple sauce, blended with a quality blue cheese. Vegans, use vegan blue cheese crumbles or nutritional yeast (for the latter you would use less water in the sauce). Whatever your dietary needs fry up some capers until they are almost crisp – a truly delish garnish.
If you don’t have a griddle pan, oil the broccoli as indicated and roast in a 180C/350F oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the florets are slightly browned.
If you aren’t a fan of polenta or want to keep it wholegrain, cook up some amaranth or quinoa.
I have loads more autumn-ready recipes on Food To Glow. Just check my recipe index, or look at the autumn months in “Some I’ve Made Earlier” in the sidebar to the right. I’ll be back soon with some more original, healthy and cosy recipes for you.