If the autumn season has a quintessential color, it has to be orange. From jack-o-lanterns flickering on front porches to the changing hue of trees, orange is everywhere – including the produce aisle! Now is the perfect time to fill your plate with foods that match the foliage. Seasonal vegetables like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin offer a unique set of nutrients for you and your family along with a myriad of flavors to keep things interesting in the kitchen. Read on to learn more about their benefits and for recipes to get more orange on your plate this season.
What Orange Foods Have to Offer
Orange foods, especially carrots, are most commonly associated with beta-carotene. In fact, the name “carotene” is derived from the Latin word for carrot, carota. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that actually helps your body make vitamin A which is important for healthy eyes and skin healthy.
While carrots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, other orange vegetables and fruits rich in beta-carotene include squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers, apricots, cantaloupe and papaya. Beyond beta-carotene, most deep orange or yellow-colored vegetables are also filled with vitamin C, which helps support your immune function, and are high in filling fiber.
Get More Orange on Your Plate
Butternut Squash Bisque
Deliciously creamy with an irresistible nutty flavor, butternut squash works equally well in both sweet and savory dishes. This versatile vegetable is one of our favorite parts of fall, and what better way to start off an autumn day dinner than with a true classic: butternut squash bisque. Make this at home or give it a try at one of our locations. Superbly delicious, this recipe is worth learning how to properly peel and cut this fall food. Makes 6 servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup celery pieces (1-inch)
½ cup carrot pieces (1-inch)
2 teaspoons grated, peeled gingerroot
2 tablespoons vegetable soup base
1 quart water
3/4 cup diced, seeded, peeled butternut squash
1 can (15 ounces) sweet potatoes, drained and cut into 2-inch pieces
¾ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- In a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Stir in onion, celery, carrots and gingerroot. Cook until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in base.
- Stir in water, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- In blender, process soup in batches on medium speed until smooth.
- Strain through a mesh strainer.
Sweet Potato Poblano Salad
There are so many ways to enjoy the mighty sweet potato, but this healthier take on a traditional potato salad offers sweet, spice, and everything nice in just four ingredients – plus an easy homemade dressing. Enjoy the salad at one of our locations this fall or make it at home and enjoy the leftovers. With this level of versatility, it’s no surprise that sweet potatoes are at the top of nearly everyone’s healthiest foods list! Makes 6 (1/2-cup) servings.
2 ¼ cups peeled, diced fresh sweet potatoes
⅓ cup seeded, diced fresh poblano chili peppers
⅓ cup sliced scallions
¼ cup diced celery
Dressing (recipe follows)
- Cook sweet potatoes covered in ½ inch boiling water until tender. Drain. Chill.
- Combine chilled sweet potatoes, poblano pepper, scallion, celery and dressing.
- Toss to coat. Cover. Keep chilled.
- Dressing: In bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons honey, 3/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. Whisk until well blended.
Don’t forget, the best way to get in your daily fruits and veggies is to eat the rainbow. But this fall, feel good about eating “orange” to help meet your daily nutrient requirements for better health.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.