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10 Early Fall Meal + Side Ideas Using End of Summer Veggies

As much as I absolutely love summer, I am enjoying the first bits of crisp air and the fact that the stars seem a little bit brighter this time of year!

As the seasons change, I slowly start changing some of what I am eating to include more warm foods and this time of year is perfect to use up the fresh, local produce in some warm dishes (although you can catch me eating soup any time of year). I am sharing a few ideas with you below!

  1. Use up veggies like fresh zucchini, eggplant, onions and peppers by chopping them up and grilling or roasting them. Simply add olive oil, salt and pepper and cook to the level of doneness you like. Fresh herbs, garlic and balsamic are also welcome additions. Use these throughout the week in a variety of ways:

    In the filling of an omelet, on a wrap or sandwich with some hummus or cheese, on top of a scoop of quinoa or brown rice with some greens and a protein, tossed on your favorite pizza crust that’s been topped with a sprinkle of cheese and a handful of spinach or arugula, mixed with your favorite cooked pasta (I love a lentil or quinoa pasta for extra protein!) a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper, in the filling of a crustless quiche or egg cups for a quick, microwave and go breakfast.

  2. Use a bounty of tomato and zucchini in this delicious and filling zucchini parmesan recipe.

  3. Use up extra peppers and even sub canned tomatoes for fresh ones in this amazing shakshuka recipe that is a favorite for brunch but also works a healthy lunch or dinner.

  4. Store bought tomato soup can contain thickeners and added sugar. Skip those and make your own! Chop up 3.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes, 1 large onion and 1 large red bell pepper. Place in a baking dish. Add 3 cloves of peeled garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast at 450 for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft, stirring halfway through. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then add to a blender in batches. If the soup is thicker than you’d like, thin it with some chicken or vegetable broth. I find this totally dairy free soup to be so incredibly rich and creamy but if you’d like, you could add a couple tablespoons of cream, yogurt or the milk of your choice.

  5. Use fresh corn, potatoes and bell peppers in this recipe for the perfect end of summer corn chowder. Swap out the chicken stock for veggie stock to make this vegetarian!

  6. Use up extra green beans, tomatoes, herbs and zucchini in one of my favorite soup recipes and swap out the frozen veggies for fresh. You could even replace some of the canned tomatoes with fresh ones! This is a super filling lunch and you could always freeze leftovers.

  7. Slice fresh tomatoes and pat off some of the excess moisture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a pinch of shredded or grated Parmesan. Grill or broil until cheese is melted. Add balsamic if you’d like.

  8. Use up basil with this pesto recipe. Grill slices of veggies and top with pesto. Alternatively, cut the veggies in larger strips and serve room temperature with a mixture of Greek yogurt and pesto as a dip for a twist on a veggie tray or as an addition to your charcuterie board.

  9. Pack up raw zucchini cut into sticks with a side of hummus or your favorite dip as a great snack for work or school.

  10. Turn your tomatoes into “sun dried” tomatoes using this recipe. I did this last summer and they were absolutely unreal. I added them to any/everything!

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Garlicky Avocado Arugula Toast

This garlicky avocado arugula toast is easy enough for a healthy, every day breakfast while still having enough pizazz to serve at your next brunch! This combination contains necessary micronutrients like potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin c, vitamin k and vitamin a as well as proteins and healthy fats. Choose your favorite bread and cook your eggs the way you prefer and this will be your new favorite breakfast!

Garlicky Avocado Arugula Toast

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Makes 2 Servings (2 Toasts/Person)

Ingredients:
4 Pieces of Your Fav Bread – Toasted
4 Eggs, Cooked (whites, scrambled, over easy, hard boiled, etc)
2 Large Handfuls of Arugula
1 Avocado
2-3 Cloves Garlic, Mashed
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Large Wedges of Lemon
Black Pepper
Salt

Instructions:
1. Mince the garlic and add it to the olive oil in a microwave safe dish. Microwave the mixture for 10 seconds. Remove from microwave, stir and microwave for 10 more seconds. (Don’t skip this step – this helps mellow out the taste of raw garlic and helps to infuse the oil!)

2. Using a spoon, drizzle the garlic and oil over the four pieces of toasted bread, leaving a small amount of oil and garlic remaining.

3. Place the arugula in a bowl and squeeze one of the lemon wedges over it. Add in the remaining oil and garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and then toss to coat the arugula. Set aside.

4. Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit. Scoop the avocado out onto the toasted bread, using 1/4 of the avocado for each piece of toast. Using the back of a fork, mash the avocado slightly onto the toast. Use the remaining lemon wedge to squeeze lemon juice onto the four pieces of avocado covered toast.

5. Top each piece of toast with some of the arugula mixture and then top it all with an egg on each piece of toast.



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Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

In our house, Sunday mornings are for slow starts, good coffee and hearty breakfasts. I like to stay in comfy clothes, make something a little more special to eat and plot out the coming week. These Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes are definitely Sunday morning worthy, but they are really simple enough to make any day of the week and you could double or triple this recipe to have leftovers for easy weekday breakfasts. These pancakes are packed with calcium, vitamin A, protein and fiber. Aside from being the perfect addition to these pancakes, Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and micronutrients like vitamins C and K.

Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

Serves 2 (3 pancake servings)
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: ~8 Minutes

Ingredients:

½ Cup of Instant Oatmeal (Woodstock Organic is my favorite!)
1 Egg
2 Egg Whites
1 Ripe Banana
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Optional: 1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Blueberries

Instructions:

1. Place all ingredients besides the blueberries in a blender. Blend for roughly 30 seconds or until smooth.

2. Spray or lightly oil a nonstick pan over high heat.

3. Pour the pancake mixture into the pan into three or six equal sized portions. If you can only fit three in your pan, you will need to do a second batch!

4. Cook for four minutes. Using a spatula, lift the edge to check for doneness. If the pancake is cooked through on the bottom, flip the pancake over and continue to cook on the other side for another four minutes.

5. When pancakes are done, top with some real maple syrup, yogurt, honey, more fresh berries, nut butter, or whatever you are in the mood for! These can be made ahead, stored in the fridge and microwaved for a quick weekday breakfast, too.

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Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

It’s officially squash season! Squash is versatile, hearty and is able to be kept for quite a while if stored properly. Additionally, squash is packed with nutrients! A one cup serving of butternut squash contains about 25% RDI of fiber, is absolutely loaded with vitamin a, and also contains plenty of vitamin c, manganese and potassium!

While I eat soup all year long, something about fall makes soup seem like a requirement. I oftentimes make a batch of soup to enjoy during the week as a quick lunch or even as a snack. This butternut squash soup is creamy, dreamy and also happens to be gluten free + vegan and the addition of turmeric enhances the color and flavor of this soup.

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Sweet Onion, Diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Can Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk*
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

*The Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk is Amazing because it has less fat than regular coconut milk but more fat than “Lite” or light coconut milk which often contains added thickeners!

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the outside of your butternut squash. Dry and slice lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the stringy parts and seeds from the bottom of the squash. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat each half of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the cut side of the squash facing up and bake for ~40 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

2. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and leave it to the side to cool. While it cools, sauté the diced onion and minced garlic in a sauce pan in the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Continue to cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.

3. If the squash is able to be handled, use a metal spoon to scoop out the flesh away from the skin of the squash. Place the cooked squash in a bowl.

4. In a blender, add the squash, onion + garlic mixture, turmeric, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in two batches!

5. Return the blended mixture to the sauce pan and heat through. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with fresh herbs, chunks of roasted butternut squash, pepitas or red pepper flakes.

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Savory Caramelized Onion and Kale Brunch Bake

Egg Bake - 1I absolutely LOVE breakfast foods. If we are being completely candid, I eat breakfast for dinner at least once a week. If we are being even more candid, I have an extreme tendency to choose savory breakfast items. This healthy breakfast casserole is a brunch crowd pleaser but also simple enough to make ahead and have for yourself as a heat and go breakfast during the week.

Savory Caramelized Onion and Kale Brunch Bake

Makes 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients:
½ Large Spaghetti Squash, Cooked (See Recipe Here)
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Bunch Tuscan Kale
½ Red Bell Pepper
1 Sweet Onion
¼ Cup of Water
4 oz Shredded Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese about 1 cup, grated)
12 Eggs (4 Whole Eggs and 8 Egg Whites)
¼ Tsp Garlic Powder
¼ Tsp Grated Nutmeg
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Pepper

Instructions:

Egg Bake - 1 (1)
1. Preheat the oven to 375. While the oven is heating up, dice the onion and bell pepper. Add the onion to a frying pan with 1 tsp olive oil and cook on high for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until they turn translucent.

Egg Bake - 1 (2)
2. Add the red bell pepper to the pan and turn down to medium. While the red bell pepper cooks, about five minutes, wash the kale and cut widthwise into thin ¼ inch ribbons., separating the leaf from the stem once it gets more than a half inch thick.
3. Add the kale and the ¼ cup of water, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper to the pan with the peppers and onions, stir and return to high heat. Cook on high for five to ten minutes or until the kale is wilted and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool.
4. While the vegetable mixture cools, prepare your eggs. Combine 4 whole eggs and 8 egg whites, garlic powder, nutmeg, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl and whisk together well until fully blended.

Egg Bake - 1 (3)
5. Spray a 9×13 casserole dish with olive oil. Layer half of the spaghetti squash in the bottom of the dish. Cover the squash with half of the pepper, onion, kale mixture. Cover that with half the cheese. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients and pour the egg mixture over everything.
6. Make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Bake for 25 minutes or until the eggs are no longer runny.

Egg-Bake-1-4.jpg

In this recipe, spinach would be a great substitute for the Tuscan kale. Add artichokes and tomatoes and swap the cheddar for few for a different twist on this recipe.