A hearty harvest; Diet Strategy: create satisfying low-calorie dishes using autumn’s wealth of fiber-rich root vegetables
Fall’s bounty is not as showy as summer’s. After all, a bushel of parsnips is simply not as gorgeous as one full of ripe peaches. But what this season’s humble root vegetables and squashes lack in outer beauty they make up for by being satisfying and truly delicious. Loaded with fiber–and no end of antioxidants–earthy parsnips, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, and butternut, spaghetti and acorn squashes form the basis for hearty and comforting lowfat dishes.
And there’s no need to doctor up these sturdy veggies with loads of oil or butter for taste; they can stand up to assertive spices like paprika, chili powder, cumin and cloves, all of which add great flavor–and you’ll never miss the fat.
Chicken and Root Vegetable Stew
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 rutabaga, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
4 small red potatoes, quartered
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 14.5-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup frozen green beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 2-ounce whole-grain rolls
In a small bowl, combine flour, thyme, black pepper and paprika. Set aside. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion and saute 2 minutes. Add flour mixture and stir to coat. Stir in carrots, celery, parsnip, rutabaga, potatoes, tomatoes, broth and mustard, and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 7 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are fork-tender. Stir in green beans and cook 1 minute, until beans are heated through.
Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Ladle stew into bowls and serve each with a whole-grain roll on the side.
Nutrition Score per serving (2 cups stew, 1 roll): 463 calories, 12% fat (6 g; 1 g saturated), 55% carbs (64 g), 33% protein (38 g), 13 g fiber, 280 mg calcium, 5 mg iron, 868 mg sodium.
Vegetarian Chili With Couscous
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Note: For the perfect autumnal presentation, serve chili in a steamed butternut or acorn-squash “bowl.” To make, simply halve the squash, remove seeds, place halves upside-down in a shallow baking dish and microwave on high 5-7 minutes, until fork-tender.
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium vegetable broth or water
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup uncooked whole-wheat couscous
4 teaspoons nonfat sour cream
4 teaspoons chopped chives
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, garlic and jalapeno and saute 2 minutes. Add herbs and spices and salt. Stir well to coat vegetables. Add tomatoes, broth and beans and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Add couscous and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Ladle chili into bowls and top servings with 1 teaspoon each sour cream and chives.
Nutrition Score per serving (2 cups chili, 1 teaspoon sour cream): 493 calories, 8% fat (4 g; <1 g saturated), 71% carbs (88 g), 21% protein (26 g), 25 g fiber, 157 mg calcium, 10 mg iron, 815 mg sodium.
Sweet Potato Tartlets
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Note: If you prefer a pie, pour the entire filling into a regular 9-inch pie crust and bake at 400[degrees]F for 40 minutes. Or, for a crustless dessert, omit the crust and bake filling directly in muffin tins coated with cooking spray.
1 sweet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust (such as Pillsbury), rolled into 24
3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
2 medium egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 425[degrees]F. In a medium pot, place sweet potato pieces in enough water to cover. Boil on high heat 5 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain and mash with a fork or potato masher.
Meanwhile, press pie-crust balls into cup bottoms and sides of two minimuffin tins, making 24 tart shells. Set aside. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mashed sweet potato to a food processor or blender (reserve any remaining mashed sweet potato for another use). Add milk, egg whites, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and puree until blended. Spoon mixture into prepared tart shells (about 1 tablespoon per tart).
Bake 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one tart comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with fresh, halved cranberries before serving, if desired.
Nutrition Score per serving (2 tartlets): 150 calories, 29% fat (5 g; 2 g saturated), 65% carbs (24 g), 6% protein (2 g), 1 g fiber, 58 mg calcium, <1 mg iron, 31 mg sodium.
RELATED ARTICLE: Low-Cal Autumn Side Dishes
Butternut Squash With Olive Oil and Nutmeg Halve a butternut squash lengthwise, remove seeds, place halves upside-down in a shallow baking dish and microwave on high 5-7 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil into each half and season with a pinch each of nutmeg, salt and black pepper. Serves 2. Nutrition Score per serving (2/3 cup): 95 calories, 40% fat (4 g; <1 g saturated), 55% carbs (13 g), 5% protein (1 g), 5 g fiber, 57 mg calcium, <1 mg iron, 296 mg sodium.
Sauteed Spaghetti Squash With Garlic Halve a spaghetti squash lengthwise, place halves upside-down in a shallow baking dish and microwave on high 5-7 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender. Using a fork, scrape flesh from skin, making “spaghetti” strands. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 minced garlic cloves and spaghetti squash and saute 2-3 minutes, until golden. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serves 4. Nutrition Score per serving (1 cup): 51 calories, 37% fat (2 g; <1 g saturated), 54% carbs (7 g), 9% protein (1 g), 3 g fiber, 26 mg calcium, <1 mg iron, 151 mg sodium.
Cranberry Chutney In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/4 cup each diced red onion, golden raisins and water, and 1 tablespoon each brown sugar and red-wine vinegar. Set pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, until cranberries break down and chutney thickens. Serve with roast turkey or chicken or grilled or broiled fish. Serves 4. Nutrition Score per serving (1/4 cup): 68 calories, 2% fat (<1 g; 0 g saturated), 95% carbs (16 g), 3% protein (<1 g), 3 g fiber, 13 mg calcium, <1 mg iron, 4 mg sodium.
By Robin Vitetta-Miller, M.S.
Photography by John Blais
Robin Vitetta-Miller is a frequent contributor.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group