Top 10 Fall Vegetables

As we make our first foray into fall cuisine, we wanted to serve up the top 10 Primal-approved fall vegetables.

Read on to discover our picks for this autumn.

Belgian Endive

Belgian Endive

If you’re looking for a low-cal vegetable that packs a heavy nutritional punch, Belgian endive – or French endive, chicory or witloof, as it is also known – is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a great source of fiber, all for less than 8 calories per cup! Although available year round, Belgian endive peaks in late fall (November) and is generally good through early spring. When shopping for Belgian endive, look for smooth, pale yellow or white leaves that appear crisp in texture. Endives are best when steamed and their shape lends them well to serving as a vessel for various fillings. In addition, endives are delicious in salad or braised and served with a pot roast.



A member of the cabbage family, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C – providing 245% of your recommended daily allowance per 1 cup serving – as well as vitamin K and vitamin A. A multi-talented little vegetable, broccoli is thought to have excellent anti-cancer properties. The phytonutrient indole, for example, suppresses a chemical that is thought to support tumor growth, while sulforophane is thought to detoxify the body, flushing out potentially carcinogenic substances. As such, studies have linked the consumption of broccoli with a reduced risk of cancers of the bladder, liver, lung, colon, breast, ovaries and prostate. In addition, broccoli is an excellent source of bone-fortifying calcium and a great source of folic acid, which is thought to reduce the risk of birth defects. Broccoli can be eaten raw or cooked, but recent studies suggest that if you do plan on cooking it, steaming is the best way to preserve all of the vegetables various enzymes and nutrients.

Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Another member of the cabbage – or brassica – family, Brussels sprouts are also much touted for their cancer-fighting properties. However, Brussels sprouts in particular are often touted for their fiber, containing 4 grams of equal parts soluble and insoluble fiber. In addition, these teeny tiny cabbages are also thought to provide significant cardiovascular benefits and help reduce the risk of osteoarthritis, a degenerative form of arthritis that often occurs with aging. Although available year round, Brussels sprouts peak in the fall. They are best cooked whole or sliced in half, and are tasty when steamed or sauteed and served as a side dish.



Available year round in grocery stores, cabbage will be at its best – and readily available at your local farmers’ market – towards the end of fall. As the head of the cabbage family, cabbage provides all of the health benefits of broccoli and Brussels sprouts, but, when juiced and drunk over the course of 10 days, can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to heal a peptic ulcer! When cooking cabbage – or just about any cruciferous vegetable – it’s important to note that breaking it apart – either through slicing, cutting or chewing – activates myrosinase enzymes, which in turn aid the release of anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates. Although these enzymes are denatured when you cook cabbage, you can preserve the amount of glucosinolates by slicing or chopping the cabbage and then letting it sit for between 10 and 15 minutes before lightly cooking, steaming or sautéing for no more than 5 minutes.



Guess what? This one’s another member of the cabbage family, it’s only real distinction being that it lacks the chlorophyll necessary to give it the vibrant green hue of its relatives. But if there’s one advantage cauliflower does have, it’s that it is so darn adaptable! Miss eating carb-laden mash potatoes or having your stir fry over rice? Cauliflower makes a believable – yet far healthier – alternative (and with just a flip of the food processor switch!) And, new research shows that if you sprinkle your cauliflower with the spice turmeric, you can reduce the severity of prostate cancer, both in terms of tumor growth and metastasis. Although people generally only eat the heads of the cauliflower (known as the curds), the stem and leaves are also edible and can be used to add some extra flavor to soup stocks.



Peaking in October, celeriac – which is often referred to as celery root, knob celery, and turnip rooted celery – is by far one of the ugliest vegetables, but certainly one of the healthiest. An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium and manganese, celeriac is thought to lower blood pressure and may also help to reduce stroke risk, with one study from Harvard University suggesting that men who ate nine servings a day of celeriac and other potassium-rich foods had a 38% reduced risk of stroke. When purchasing celeriac, look for firm, small-to-medium, sprout-free roots. The nutritional benefits of celeriac are best preserved when the root is sliced and added to salads, although it is also delicious when boiled (which helps to dilute this root-vegetables somewhat pungent taste) and added to soups or stocks.



Yes, onion’s are available year round, but they are truly at their peak in the fall and winter. A true staple in the kitchen, onions are used to add flavor to sauce, soup, stew, eggs, salads or heck, even as a side dish all on their lonesome! Sulfur, the compound in the onion that gives it that great taste, also provides many of its health benefits. For example, sulfur is though to reduce blood pressure and may also help to regulate blood cholesterol. In addition, onions are rich in chromium, which is thought to help prevent fluctuations in blood glucose levels, and contains a number of flavonoids that promote gastrointestinal health and reduce the risk of several types of cancer. Still not convinced? Onions have a number of anti-inflammatory agents that can help reduce the severity of symptoms associated with arthritis, asthma, and even the respiratory inflammation associated with good ol’ seasonal cold and flu!



If there were ever a symbol that fall has arrived, it’s the pumpkin! In fact, pumpkin is such a great fall vegetable, that tomorrow we’ll be dedicating an entire post to these tubby orange orbs and we’ll be following up with a whole slew of Primal-approved – and fall friendly – recipes!



We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Spinach is one heck of a vegetable! Spinach is a great source of vitamin K and vitamin A, as well as folate, magnesium and iron. In terms of specific health benefits, the various compounds in spinach are thought to help reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including tumors of the stomach, prostate, and skin, and also act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the severity of symptoms associated with asthma, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. When shopping for spinach, look for firm, crisp, deep green leaves. Spinach is great as a base for salads, delicious when added to soups or casseroles to provide bulk or simply on its own, cooked, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and black pepper.



There is much debate surrounding whether zucchini is technically a summer or fall vegetable – and even more debate over whether zucchini is a fruit or a vegetable! – but suffice to say, it’s around for most of the fall and definitely makes for a hearty addition to most fall dishes. Zucchini is perhaps best known for its vitamin C content, but also is considered a good source of vitamin A and lutein, which is important for eye health, as well as folate and potassium. In addition, zucchini can promote blood health, with studies suggesting that this tasty vegetable can support capillary health and lower high homocysteine levels.

What are your favorite fall vegetables? Share your recipes in the comment boards!

_cheryl, churl, freeformkatia, Martin LaBar, clayirving, KitLKat, photobunny, minipixel, Nickster2000, Wally Hartshorn Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

Top 10 Winter Vegetables

Top 10 Spring Vegetables

Top 10 Summer Vegetables

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  1. Cabbage juice does work for ulcers! After nothing else helped, I did the cabbage juice thing for 10 days, and got relief for the first time in a couple of years. I couldn’t believe it, and neither could my doc, but I showed him the studies (you can Google “Dr. Garrett Cheney” and “ulcers”).

    Also, one of the best ways I’ve found to cook cauliflower is to break up the florets, add onion, red pepper, and any other firm vegetable (all cut in big chunks), add some olive oil and crushed garlic, and put it in a very hot oven (400+) for 30-40 minutes until the cauliflower is a deep golden brown. Then just before you take it out, sprinkle some feta on it (with maybe some chopped sun-dried tomatoes), let it melt for a couple of minutes, and serve. You’ll be blown away.

  2. Steamed broccoli is certainly hard to beat. I have loved steamed broccoli since I was a child. Pumpkins are just fun to carve, but eating them is a little out of the question for me. I remember when I was twelve years old I got appendicitis, and the last thing I ate before I got sick was pumpkin pie. So I have to say no to the pumpkin in general;)

  3. I love pumpkins! Can’t wait for the pumpkin post! Roasted pumpkin seeds is a staple of my family’s Halloween, I’m hoping they’re healthy. Though, sir, your starry eyed pumpkin? Poser. That’s a poser pumpkin if ever there was one.

  4. I am pretty much addicted to roasted cauliflower. Cut cauliflower into florets, drizzle/coat with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread it out on baking sheet, bake for 400 for 15-25.

    Our local Farmers’ Market was stocked full of your above listed items this past Saturday. Thinking about doing something fancy with brussel sprouts this week. 😉

  5. Brussel Sprouts chiffonade:

    Slice brussel sprouts thinly. Cook 1 or 2 diced bacon rashers in olive oil or butter until the bacon is crispy, then add the brussel sprouts. Poor on some lemon juice and soya sauce (or taramid) and stir fry until golden brown.

  6. I can’t wait for the pumpkin post and recipes! I always kind of filed pumpkin in the no-no category but if its a go… then I am going to enjoy me some pumpkin cuisine.

  7. And if you have a recipe for a sweetner free, no grain pumpkin or sweet potato pie… i might just go into a coma from elation.

  8. you mean the candy corn pumpkin, right?

    and S.O.G. I will as well…head to the coma I mean.

    havent found one yet.

  9. Awesome post, good to see what to keep an eye out for this season in the supermarket! Endive’s are amazing very good reminder, their bitterness compliments balsamic vinegar very well, they are great to add to salads.

  10. Pumpkin or sweet potato pie? I love this one (uses agave for the sweetness, and there are no grains):

    Combine 3 1/2 c pumpkin puree, 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce, 2 eggs, 1/4 c blue agave nectar, 2 T ground almonds and 1/2 t each of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg in a large bowl.

    Pour into a pie baking dish, and cover with 1 c pecans. Bake at 350 for about 45 mins and cool.

  11. I like 8 out of these 10 all year round. The only 2 i dislike is zucchini and pumpkin. When i make a homemade soup i always put celery in it.
    My grandson was born on Halloween, he’s my lil’ pumpkin i love!!!

  12. I keep telling myself I’m not going to carve pumpkins this year because they got all icky last year! But this post reminded me of the roasted pumpkin seeds I made last year *drool* so I think I’ll carve just one…

    After reading this post I want to go out and get 10 lbs of cauliflower. So good! Especially as a sub for mashed potatoes, I forgot all about that!

  13. what do we have? my wife brought home a large white skin vegetable 14″ long at least and resembles a very large icle radish . thanks tom

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  15. I found a way to make Brussel Sprouts in a way that people who don’t tent to like Brussel Sprouts like. Slice up four strips of bacon and start to fry them. Peel the dark leaves off a pound of sprouts (the outside tends to be bitter. Chope them into fine slices with a food processor or knife. Throw them in the pan with the crispy bacon slivers. Add a dash of salt and a dash of pepper. Toss. Cover and let the spouts start to wilt (medium heat about two minutes or so. Remove the lid and cook until sprouts are tender. Finish with a dash of olive and toss before moving to a serving platter.

  16. This post is a little off the pumpkin and steamed broccoli subject, both of which I love BTW. I am working in Afghanistan as a contractor and reading your book,(Mark) was the first thing I started doing when I got here to help pass the down time. That was 18, December 2011 and to date I have lost 52 pounds, had a few extra ones I must say. And I feel great, thank you!! I am heading out to a new base that doesn’t even have a kitchen yet,(let alone the internet) so it will be nothing but MREs for a while. I will do my best 🙂 Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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  18. I just love cauliflower, but it tastes so much better with a cheese sauce! Brocoli on the other hand I just cannot eat – along with brussels sprouts!

  19. Mark, could you change “Zucchini” to “Zucchini – Courgettes” above? The Z name is common in North America, but in Britain and Ireland they’re called Courgettes! (It’s pronounced like “courvette” only with a “zh” sound for the g there.)