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Cooking Expert Marcus Samuelsson Encourages Veggie Love

Chef Samuelsson says anyone can become a veggie fan. (Photo courtesy of AP Images for Birds Eye)

Although fall weather seems to be tip-toeing its way into our lives, the seasonal produce has hit the shelves with full force. Pumpkin, apples, squash and sweet potatoes are ripe for the taking, and new recipes are constantly being created to satisfy your palate. We caught up with award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, who has been a judge on Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and Chopped, to learn more about his favorite seasonal eats.

What are some of your favorite fall foods? No matter what season, I love incorporating vegetables into all of my meals. They're so good and colorful! But for fall I love spinach, pumpkin, squash and many others.

But what if you come across someone who doesn't like vegetables? I think it's just about finding the right kind of vegetable, something they do actually like that is prepared well. Test it out by working with what you're already eating. It's not about completely changing what you eat, it's about incorporating new things. So if you like macaroni and cheese, fold in some avocado or spinach to get a little green mixed in.

Should I just hide the vegetable in the dish, so that they don't know it's there? No, don't hide the vegetable, highlight it. Adding different kinds of vegetables gives your meal crunch, texture and flavor. Just try to convince them to give it a chance.

What about the person who is constantly on the go? What if they don't have time to prep vegetables? Pick up a bag of frozen veggies. Birds Eye vegetables are great because they're so fast. You can get a Steamfresh bag and just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes, then it's done. I like them when you're in a time crunch - they keep all the flavor and color.

What's your favorite fall meal? I love making Thanksgiving-esque meals for my family. I get to visit them about twice a year in Sweden, and I like to bring American meals to them. Turkey is a big staple.

Any other fall-type recipes you love? Chickpea dumplings with squash. It's so healthy and really delicious. Here's how to make it:

Chickpea Dumplings with Squash

  • 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 cup cubed Birds Eye Cooked Winter Squash
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red Thai chili, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  1. Preheat oven at 325 degrees. Place potatoes on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for about an hour or until done. Let cool.
  2. Once cool, rice potatoes in ricer then mix with chickpea and all-purpose flour. Work in egg and egg yolks, then knead in spices until fully mixed. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. On a floured surface, divide the dough in half. Roll each half into 1/2-inch thick ropes. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch long pieces and press the tines of a fork into each piece to make grooves in the surfaces. Place on a parchment-lined sheet tray lightly sprinkled with flour.
  4. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, drop the dumplings into the water and simmer until they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in ice water for 30 seconds.
  5. Heat butter in pan. Saute the cooked dumplings and add marjoram, squash, shallots, garlic and chili. Pour in vegetable stock and bring to simmer.

Now tell us: What are your favorite fall veggies?


Samantha Lefave

Samantha is a writer who is living, eating and sweating her way through NYC. You can find her running half-marathons like it's her job, Instagramming her favorite food and fitness finds or, let's be honest, eating peanut butter straight from the jar.

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