The abundance of fall produce makes this one of the most exciting times of year culinarily (need inspiration for veggies to play around with? Check out our favorite squashes and exactly how to use them.) We're all about constantly striving to make our food even more healthy and delicious here at mbg. While fall veggies are packed with inflammation-fighting vitamins and minerals on their own, we wanted to arm you with a few easy tricks to take them to the next level. Here are a few easy ways to optimize the nutritional status of your next fall meal:
1. Toss them with spices and herbs.
Many of your favorite spices are not only adding flavor but also providing anti-inflammatory properties. While turmeric gets a lot of the spotlight (and rightfully so; a ton of studies have shown its anti-inflammatory effects), all spices and herbs contain unique, health-promoting qualities—and their flavors pair perfectly with fall produce. Toss your veggies with turmeric, cinnamon, or chopped rosemary with a generous pinch of fine-grain sea salt before roasting with a high-quality oil (see No. 3 for more on that). You can also use spices and herbs to turn a basic three-ingredient soup into something that tastes gourmet. Simply sauté a diced yellow onion in avocado oil or olive oil in a medium pot until translucent, then add a generous pinch of sea salt and peeled, chopped fall squash or root veggie of choice (acorn squash, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes—all work great!). Top with veggie broth and cook until the veggie is easily pierced by a fork, then blend with your spice of choice until smooth. Moroccan seasonings like harissa play well with the sweet warmth of butternut squash while parsnips love cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise. Play around—you could have a different dinner with almost the exact same ingredients almost every night simply by changing the spice blend!
2. Deglaze with bone broth.
Bone broth is consistently cited by functional medicine experts as one of their top inflammation-fighting foods. "The glucosamine in bone broth can actually stimulate the growth of new collagen, repair damaged joints, and reduce pain and inflammation," explains Amy Myers, M.D. Take advantage of its healing powers by swapping it for stock or broth whenever a recipe calls for it. You can use it in stuffing, in soups, and to deglaze veggies. The best way to make sure you always have some on hand when you need it? Freeze it in an ice cube tray, then, when it's completely frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a large, freezer-safe bag. You can pop out a few cubes if you need a cup or two of broth, or just use one at a time to add pops of flavor to stir-fries or add a savory, umami-packed sheen to roasted veggies.
3. Lean into anti-inflammatory fats.
Start with your cooking oils: Toss your veggies with fats that have been found to have inflammation-fighting benefits like olive oil1 and avocado oil2 (bonus: They're both liquid at room temperature, which makes tossing them with cold veggies on a roasting pan much easier). Then, up the ante even more by mixing in more anti-inflammatory fats by incorporating nuts and seeds. Regular nut consumption has been found to lower a number of inflammatory markers3, and they also add a satisfying toasty flavor and crunch to seasonal dishes. Top your roasted root veggies with a sprinkle of chopped toasted pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts; mix pistachios into a butternut squash and dried cranberry salad; spoon a generous amount of nuts onto your favorite soup to add texture and interest. Inflammation-fighting and crave-worthy? Sounds like a perfect fall dish.
Liz Moody is the host of the top-rated The Liz Moody Podcast, author of bestselling books Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops, and a popular online content creator who has helped millions of people transform their lives.
Her new book, 100 Ways to Change Your Life: The Science of Leveling Up Health, Happiness, Relationships & Success draws from Moody’s more than a decade of experience in the health and wellness world, serving as a new kind of personal development book—one that empowers readers to craft their unique, best life based on the habits they want to form, the problems they want to solve, and the parts of their life they want to take to the next level.
A longtime journalist for publications including Vogue, Marie Claire, and goop, an online creator with a social media following of more than 1 Million, and the founder of Healthy Convo Co, a conversation game company designed to facilitate fun and life-changing conversations, Liz previously served as food director for mindbodygreen, where she led content strategy for the food section. A regular speaker, panelist, and podcast guest, Liz shares her own deeply personal anxiety journey that led her to where she is now as well as actionable, fun, and science-based ways for everyone to live their best lives.