There are many ways to incorporate fall foods into your eating pattern that measure up to the Mediterranean eating plan. Here are some of my favorite dishes that provide fall fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and ingredients that deliver omega-3 fatty acids, like tuna and chia seeds. These recipes are full of fall goodness, and they are delicious, too!
Try adding a recipe every week or modifying a current recipe to reap all of the anti-inflammatory benefits the Mediterranean diet has to offer. Last fall, we offered a Fall Harvest Salad with a quinoa base; this year’s salad is more traditional but tasty, just the same!
Fall Harvest Salad
3 c. assorted lettuce
2 c. arugula
2 c. butternut squash
1 c. beets (3-4 medium beets)
½ c. feta cheese
½ c. roasted pumpkin seeds
1 c. Macintosh or yellow delicious apples; sliced (or a mixture of both)
½ c. blueberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (convection if that is available).
- Prepare beets and squash for roasting.
- Wash, peel, and slice beets into 1/8” slices; add to bowl, toss with 1-2 tsp olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Wash, peel, and cube butternut squash into ½-inch cubes; add to bowl and toss with 1-2 tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Place on a sheet pan and roast for 12 -15 minutes, until lightly browned and fork tender.
- Add the arugula and assorted lettuce to a large serving bowl or platter and toss together.
- Add roast vegetables.
- Add crumbled feta cheese and roast pumpkin seeds.
- Add blueberries (optional)
- Drizzle with balsamic dressing below.
Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette
4 T. olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
Fresh basil leaves (washed and cut into ribbons)
2 cloves of garlic (or ½ tsp ground garlic)
Salt to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground
Add all ingredients to a glass jar and shake well or whisk together in a stainless steel bowl.
This Pasta uses butternut squash as a base and makes a healthy and hearty meal. There are so many variations that you can try, like using vegetable stock, or no stock at all, or adding heavy cream to increase the caloric density, but this is one of my favorite versions for everyday use.
Pasta with Garlic and sage Butternut Squash Sauce
1 medium butternut squash peeled and diced
1 small onion
1 garlic clove sliced
1 shallot sliced
½ c. milk
8 sage leaves
1 pound edamame pasta
1 ½ c. reserved pasta water
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Nutrition for 4 servings Calories 293; fat 2.8g; carbohydrate 40 g, fiber 11.5g protein 27.7 g
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Wash butternut squash, peel, and roughly chop into uniform pieces.
- Add 1 T. of oil to squash and toss to coat well; sprinkle kosher salt and roast for 15 minutes. Add garlic and sliced shallots and continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and fork tender.
- While that is roasting, prepare pasta according to directions and save 1-2 cups of the pasta water.
- Remove the squash mixture from the oven and add to a medium-stock pot.
- Add ½ c. milk and ½ cup of the pasta water to squash, shallot, and garlic mixture and begin to pulse with an immersion blender, slowly adding more water to desired consistency. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
- Coat pasta with sauce to coat and garnish with fresh sage and grated parmesan cheese.
I love this recipe because I typically have the ingredients on hand, and it comes together to provide a nutritious meal quickly.
Tuna with Garlic and Capers over Pasta
2 T. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 ounces of tuna packed in oil
1 T. lemon juice; freshly squeezed
1 T. caper
2T. Parmesan cheese; fresh grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. Fresh parsley, chopped
8 ounces pasta
Reserved pasta water
- In a large stock pot, add pasta and cook to directions. Save 1-2 cups of pasta water, then drain.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tuna, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until heated through about one minute; toss in capers, pasta, and half of the parsley and pasta water to desired consistency.
- Garnish with remaining pasta and parmesan cheese.
I like to have this next dish on hand for a ready-made breakfast or a satisfying dessert. Again there are so many ways to make it your own by changing up the berries or type of milk.
Baked Banana Oatmeal with Mixed Berries
2 c. oats
2 c. almond, coconut, or oat milk
2 c. mixed berries; or berries of your choice
Cinnamon to taste
2 T. chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray an 8 X 10 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork, add the oats, chia seeds, and milk, and mix well.
- Spread in pan.
- Arrange a layer of berries on the top and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until set.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
If you are new to the principles of the Mediterranean eating pattern and are having trouble getting started. You can begin slowly, especially if your current eating is very different. Start by adding a serving of vegetables during meals and snacks other than dinner. Our fish recipe is very simple to follow and a great way to get fish into your eating plan, but you can also try ordering fish that has been simply prepared when you are dining out so you can try other options and get more ideas. If you are following a strictly plant-based pattern, dislike fish, or have an allergy, find other ways to get Omega 3 fatty acids like using chia, flax, or hemp seeds in your cooking.
Make one change to your pattern and give yourself some time before adding another, and you will stay on the Path to Wellness.
Nutrition for 15 squares: Calories 75; fat 1.7 g; carbohydrate 13.8g; fiber 2.9g; sugar 3.4 g; protein 2. 1 g