Temperatures are getting cooler and the days are growing shorter, signs that fall is here. I always love the start of autumn, but I’ve been anticipating it this year a little more than usual. After a spring and summer of canceled events, the predictability of fall’s cooler temps and changing leaf colors has been comforting. It may sound silly, but it’s nice knowing that autumn’s arrival is one thing COVID-19 can’t cancel.
While every season offers a new crop of in-season produce and flavors, fall brings some of my favorites. I’m always excited to start seeing butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, kale, rosemary, and sage at my local market, and I can’t wait to pull out cold-weather spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Cooler temps also make me gravitate toward filling comfort foods. And when it comes to comfort food, nothing can compete with a casserole.
When you think of casseroles, the first word that may come to mind is rich. Traditionally, most versions are weighed down with butter, cream, and cheese, making them high in calories, fat, and sodium. They don’t tend to highlight seasonal produce and flavors. Well, I’ll tell you –– casseroles don’t have to be unhealthy. Adding in-season produce, herbs, and spices to casseroles is an easy way to boost their flavor and nutritional content. And incorporating fruit, vegetables, and herbs also allows you to use smaller amounts of the heavier ingredients that standard recipes usually call for.
The three comfort food casseroles below feature some of my favorite fall flavors. They’re also full of nutritious veggies and spices, so you can feel good about serving them at suppertime.