Beets: It’s true that beets can be found year around, but they fare (and taste!) the best in the fall. After trimming off the brown-skinned outer layer, you’ll find a deep, brilliant purple or golden veggie inside. Adding beets to your diet will boost your intake of vitamins A, B and C, as well as potassium, magnesium, fiber, iron, betaine and more. Plus, research indicates that betaine might reduce heart and liver disease. Beets are excellent raw; dice them and add to salads. Or you can switch it up and try roasting beets this fall with some balsamic vinegar and then serve them with crumbled goat cheese.
Brussels sprouts: We’ve written about these guys before—an excellent superfood, these cruciferous veggies have huge amounts of folate which can help fight against obesity, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and depression. Not to mention, they have high levels of vitamins A and C, and they contain glucosinolates—which help reduce cancer risks. That’s a whole lot of health in a mini-cabbage! Like the other fall veggies on this list, Brussels sprouts are excellent roasted, but also be sure to try them sautéed with olive oil and garlic.
Leeks: These green and white stalks have a mild onion flavor and are best enjoyed in the spring and fall months. Family members with onion and garlic, leeks are easy-to-grow and have some surprisingly fantastic health benefits. They’re a great source of prebiotics, which can increase the amount of good bacteria in the stomach, as well as folate, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. Seek out some great recipes for creamy leek soup or roast them with olive oil and sea salt and add them as a topping to fish, salads, poultry, soups and more.
Rutabaga: If you’re not sure about this one—you’re not alone! Rutabagas aren’t the most popular veggie, but a lot of people just don’t know enough about them to give them a try. A cross between cabbage and a turnip, these root vegetables contain more than half of your daily vitamin C value in one serving. They also have antioxidant powers and research has revealed they may decrease the risk of certain cancers. Branch out and use them as a potato substitute or as an addition to other potato-based dishes like gratins, mashes, hash or cakes.
Squash: OK, OK, squash is actually a fruit—but it feels a bit more at home on this list. These come in an incredibly varied array of shapes, sizes and types—and they’re not new to the sustenance scene. Archaeologists have found evidence of squash dating back to 10,000 years ago. There are a whole host of squashes you should try this fall like acorn, banana, butternut, delicata, hubbard and spaghetti squash—which are rich in vitamin A, may prevent cancer cell growth and help bring down blood pressure. Squash is fairly easy to prepare as a side: Cut the squash, scoop out the seeds and place on a baking sheet to roast at around 400 degrees. You can experiment with olive oil, garlic and various spices. The cooking times will vary, so research some recipes before grabbing your fork!