Tasty autumn treats for the waistline

As the nights start to draw in, warming dishes become popular, writes Deanna Copland.

Autumn is the time when apples, pears, plums and figs are in season, along with the humble pumpkin and sweet potato (kumara).

Starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato are best consumed earlier in the day as they are high in complex carbohydrates, which offer sustained energy throughout the day. Keeping evening meals lighter and basing them around leafy greens and some protein will help to maintain weight through the cooler months.

If you feel like you need some inspiration to cook these vegetables a little differently, here are some recipes to keep your taste buds and your waistline happy.

This is a great side dish with roast chicken and greens and is popular as toddler food when slightly mashed.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Orange candied sweet potatoes

Serves 8

900g orange sweet potato

2 oranges, freshly squeezed

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp freshly grated ginger root

1½ tsp cinnamon

1¼ tsp cardamon

½ tsp salt

freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

zest of 2 oranges

cinnamon

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180degC. Scrub and cut the sweet potatoes into 2cm cubes and steam over boiling water for 5 minutes.

2. Zest the oranges before squeezing juice and putting aside.

3. Mix the remaining ingredients together and put into a shallow baking tin.

4. Add sweet potatoes to baking tin and cook for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes until they are tender and well coated.

5. Garnish with orange zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Pear parmesan salad

This is a fresh, light salad which goes well with any protein such as freshly-caught blue cod. If you are planning on having some for leftovers the following day, make the dressing on the side and add later to avoid wilting the salad leaves.

1 large cucumber

1 pear

small bunch of mint

120g (2 cups) mixed salad leaves with rocket, baby spinach etc

2 tsp liquid honey

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

60g grated parmesan

Method

1. Thinly slice the cucumber into half-moons and discard the ends. Thinly slice the pear into wedges. Pick off the mint leaves and thinly slice, discarding the stalk.

2. In a bowl, combine the honey, vinegar and olive oil. Add salad leaves, cucumber, pear, parmesan and mint. Toss to coat.

 

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