Most types of produce are available year round but choosing to cook with produce that’s in season not only reduces our carbon footprint by relying less on imported fruits and veggies, it also supports local farmers. Buying produce at its optimum harvest time also has the greatest flavor.

From early September to the first frost, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, cauliflower, a variety of squash, turnips, beets, sweet potatoes, red peppers, pumpkin, apples and cranberries are in top form. Try out some of these recipes and take advantage of the harvest.

Root veggie cakes (paleo and vegan)

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Ingredients:

– 250 ml/2 cups shredded carrots
– 250 ml/2 cups shredded turnips
– 250 ml/2 cup shredded beets
– 30 ml/2 tablespoons olive oil
– 2 large eggs, beaten
– 125 ml/1/2 cup almond flour
– 3 green onions
– 10 ml/2 teaspoon salt
– 5 ml/1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 5 ml/1 teaspoon pureed garlic

Makes 8 veggie cakes

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix together the eggs, almond flour, green onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the vegetables and combine well. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Shape a handful of the veggie mixture into a patty. Place on the skillet and press down with a spatula.

Repeat until there are 3 or 4 patties in the skillet. Brown for 3 minutes per side, or until slightly crispy. Remove the patties and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and place them in the oven. Cook for 20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve hot from the oven with apple chutney. See recipe below.

Coconut curry pumpkin soup (vegan and paleo)

Ingredients:

– 3,000 ml/12 cups water
– 250 ml/1 cup coconut milk
– 500 ml/2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 1 pie pumpkin, cored, seeded, peeled and cubed
– 2.5 ml/1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 ml/1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 15 ml/1 tablespoon curry powder
– Chopped parsley, to garnish
– Chopped chives, to garnish

Makes 4 servings

Instructions:

In a large saucepan, bring 10 cups of water to a boil. Add onion and pumpkin and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and place into a food processor. Puree until smooth. Place back into saucepan.

Add remaining water, broth, curry powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and cook until hot. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley and chives.

Cauliflower, butter nut and feta casserole (vegetarian)

Ingredients:

– I head cauliflower, chopped
– 1 butternut squash, cored, peeled and chopped into bite size cubes
– 1 red pepper, sliced thin
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 1 red onion sliced thin
– ¼/125 ml cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1 cup feta cheese
– Salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions:

Lightly steam cauliflower and butternut squash until they are just slightly soft. Place in large baking tray with onions, garlic and red pepper. Pour olive oil over the veggie mixture and mix well. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake in a 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and remove tin foil.

Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on the casserole. Return the pan to the oven. Continue to bake at 350 for another 5-10 minutes or until feta cheese has melted. For Vegan or Paleo version, omit Feta.

Oven roasted balsamic brussels sprout and cranberries (vegetarian and vegan)

Ingredients:

– 3 pounds/1362 g Brussels sprouts
– 1/2/125 ml cup olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 cup/250 ml balsamic vinegar
– 2 tablespoons/ 60 ml organic cane sugar
– 1 cup/250 ml cranberries

Makes 8 servings

Instructions:

Place cranberries in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring cranberries to a boil and continue to simmer until tender. Strain cranberries and set aside. Trim/clean Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half if desired or core them at the bottom. Either of these two techniques will reduce bitterness. Place Brussels sprouts and cranberries on two baking sheets and toss with olive oil, sugar and balsamic vinegar.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until edges of the sprouts are golden brown.

Apple chutney (vegetarian and vegan)

Ingredients:

– 4 red onions, diced
– 900g/2lb apples, cored and chopped
– 250 ml/1 cup raisins or chopped dates
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 15g/1 teaspoon paprika
– 15g/1 teaspoon salt
– 425ml1 2/3 cup malt vinegar

Makes 8 cups

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer on low heat for 1½-2 hours, stirring every 5-7 minutes so mixture does not stick to the pan. The chutney is ready when it is thick enough that you can take a wooden spoon and make a channel on the bottom of the saucepan.

The channel should not refill with liquid. Cool chutney. Serve with Veggie Root Cakes (recipe above) it is also a nice accompaniment to a variety of cheeses. Will keep in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar for two to three months.

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