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Making the Most of Seasonal Produce

posted Dec 18, 2014, 6:42 AM by Rachel Griffin   [ updated Nov 4, 2015, 2:02 PM by Julia Quam ]
It's chilly and farmer's markets are closing. Holiday food surrounds us and leftovers abound. So, what can you do with those apples, greens, and sweet potatoes that are still sitting on your counter? 

For the apples:
  • Try homemade apple sauce or baked apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans, and a touch of brown sugar or honey.
  • Rustic Spinach Salad or Lentil, Apple, and Walnut Salad are dishes that you may have sampled in our cafeteria this fall with one of our dietitians.  Click the links for the easy-to-follow crowd pleasing recipes. 
  • Stir diced apples into hot cereal or puree in a powerful blender for soups and smoothies.
When preparing your in-season greens, try something new:


  • Char them in a pan or on an indoor grill for a smokey flavor.
  • Combine them with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a food processor for a simple green pasta sauce (think pesto with spinach or chard instead of basil). 
  • Don't have a vegetable for a side dish, but don't want a salad? Serve your entire meal over a bed of greens and you're set! 
  • Fill sandwiches, wraps, and pita pockets with greens along with your favorite lean proteins and other veggies.
Most of us enjoy sweet potatoes or winter squash with our holiday meals, so if you have some extras:

  • Offer to bring them as your contribution to the meal. Prepare them simply by roasting with olive oil, salt, pepper and other spices such as cumin, cinnamon, or nutmeg!
  • Puree them into a soup.  Skip the heavy cream and use evaporated skim milk or pureed white beans to create a smooth and creamy texture. 
  • Use sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or winter squash in place of white potatoes and make some simple homemade gnocchi. 
  • For a hearty meal, try a loaded baked sweet potato. Remove ~1/2 of the flesh of a halved baked sweet potato and fill with ground turkey or beans, spinach, dried cranberries or raisins, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Any combination of protein and vegetables can work with this simple meal.
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