Autumn Eating Tips (and a Pumpkin Stew Recipe)

Fall recipes are nourishing and counteract the heat and dryness of the season.

Fall recipes are nourishing and counteract the heat and dryness of the season. Even Mr. Cookie Jar wants a bite!

Our bodies reflect the changing seasons outside, essentially mirror what is happening in nature. In fall, dryness is abundant as leaves change color and fall off trees and grass turns brown. Our bodies tend to get dry, too, (as vata increases). There’s also heat left over from summer, so pitta is fired up.

To counteract the hot and dry properties, fall is the time to focus on kapha-promoting foods which means a sweeter, more nourishing, and slightly heavier diet than we had in summer. This gets us ready for winter, too.

So support your body this time of year, forgo dry and carbonated stuff (goodbye, beer, chips, raw salads, and popcorn) and cut back on heating food while you’re at it (chiles, eggs, red meat, garlic, red wine, raw onion, eggplant, and fish).

In fact, looking up what fruits and veggies are in season where you live is another way to ensure you’re eating what’s appropriate for the time of year. If you live in California, specifically the Bay Area, this chart from CUESA has a list of what you can get when.

As you may have guessed, pumpkin is one food that is especially perfect for fall because they’re sweet, nourishing, and heavy. Pumpkins are everywhere and not just for Halloween — Mother Nature takes such great care of us by providing seasonal food that supports us. Yet another reminder of the importance of seasonal eating.

But I digress. Here’s one recipe I made recently and it was perfect for fall. Enjoy!

Fall Pumpkin Stew
(4 servings, with basmati rice)

  • Pumpkin, acorn, or butternut squash, 2 lbs. (skinned, cut into large chunks)
  • 1 medium onion
  • Ghee, 3 tbsp
  • Ginger, 1 tbsp, cut into thin stalks
  • Lemongrass, 1 pinch dry or 2 stalks
  • Ground turmeric, 1 tsp (or 1/2 tsp fresh root)
  • Ground cumin, 1 tsp
  • Ground coriander, 1 tsp
  • Vegetable or meat-based stock (or water), 2 cups
  • Coconut milk, 1 cup
  • Lime, 1-2 tbsp
  • Handful of coriander leaves

Peel the onions and roughly chop them. Cook them slowly in a deep pan with the ghee. Onions should be soft and translucent. While the onions cook, peel the ginger and dice the flesh into fine matchsticks; peel and discard the outer leaves of the lemongrass and very finely slice the soft insides.

Add the ginger and lemongrass to the onions and continue cooking for five minutes. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, and coriander.

Add a hint of broth to the mixture, stirring so it does not burn for 5 minutes, then pour in the rest of the stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a gentle simmer.

Peel the pumpkin or squash, scrape out and discard the seeds and fibers, cut the flesh into large chunks. Season with salt and black pepper.

Put the squash into the pot and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, checking now and again for tenderness. (You want the pumpkin to be firm, not squishy.)

Stir in the coconut milk, gently, and continue cooking for a couple of minutes. Add salt and additional seasoning as desire, and then stir in the lime juice and coriander. Serve with the rice.

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