Is there a specific flavor you think of when you think of fall? Do you think of freshly picked apples, sweet potatoes or stuffing?
Are fall flavors encapsulated in the days Starbucks serves its pumpkin spice latte or Southern Tier brews the Pump-king?
There’s a reason for that, and it’s not just marketing. Lots of what we think of as fall foods are fall foods because they are becoming ripe – coming into season – during this time of year.
Fruit like apples and grapes and vegetables like carrots and cabbage are all in season during this time of the year. And, of course, the star of the season is winter squash.
But wait, you say. What does it matter that food is in season?
Eating food that is in season has many benefits. It is better for the environment because it does not have to be transported from warmer climates.
Its abundance combined with less transportation means that it is also usually less expensive.
In my opinion, fresher food simply tastes better. Finally, nutrients in some food can deteriorate over time and with processing – so the sooner you eat fresh food, the healthier it is.
So, does that mean I am advocating eating candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie all season? Not in the least. Often people overlook the savory options for some of the best fall foods.
Sweet potatoes, which are high in beta-carotene and vitamin A, form the basis of a lot of my family’s meals in the fall. They are more nutritious and harder for your body to digest than white potatoes but still have that comforting carbohydrate texture.
Keep reading for one of my favorite recipes. Total, it takes about 20 minutes to make.
You can also cook one or two at a time and freeze the rest. It’s vegan and gluten-free but even the staunchest meat eaters will enjoy it.
The best part? If you have a sweet potato, you can get the rest of the ingredients at Dollar General – which is something important to consider living in a food desert.
Check out the Gannon Goodwill Garden engageU page for more seasonable recipes.
Cajun-Spiced Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
Recipe courtesy Jacqueline Meldrum, tinnedtomatoes.com
1 medium sweet potato, baked (or microwaved!)
1 can black beans
1 cup fresh one half box frozen spinach
one half cup oatmeal (quick cooking or regular)
2 teaspoon Cajun spice
2 teaspoon flaxseeds (optional)
1 clove garlic, crushed
a good grinding of black pepper
1. Rinse the beans and add them to a mixing bowl. Mash, but leave half of the beans whole for a bit of texture.
2. Scoop the flesh out of the baked potato with a spoon and add to the bowl.
3. If using fresh spinach, pour boiling water over it to wilt it. If using frozen, defrost. Squeeze water out and chop.
4. Next add the seeds, oats, spices, garlic and black pepper and mix until well combined.
5. Shape your mixture into four hearty balls, then flatten out into burger shapes.
6. Spray griddle with nonstick spray and cook, about 4 minutes/side.
7. Serve in a pita or on a whole wheat wrap.