Healthy recipes to warm up to this autumn

The fall season is upon us. Leaves are starting to change colour, days are getting shorter and that craving for all things pumpkin is back! To help you and your family get ready for the season, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite fall recipes that are sure to warm you up as the temperature starts to drop.

Here are some nutritious and easy-to-make fall recipes approved by University Health Network registered dietitian, Julie Statler.

Julie Statler, Registered Dietitian, Transplant Inpatient Unit, Ajmera Transplant Centre, Toronto General Hospital. (Photo courtesy: Julie Statler)

Greek sheet pan chicken

This Mediterranean-style sheet pan recipe not only takes a simple chicken dinner to the next level but is a great way to start including heart healthy recipes in your and your family’s diet. Made with fresh and simple ingredients and packed with colourful and savoury vegetables. Best served with a side of rice, lentils and other healthy grains such as quinoa or couscous.

 “This recipe provides protein from the chicken, vitamins and minerals from the veggies and healthy fats from the olive oil. Adding brown rice, lentils or quinoa provides fibre (healthy digestion!) and a source of complex carbohydrate.” – Julie

Yields: 6


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tbsp)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced into wedges
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and pour 2/3 of the marinade on top, then use your hands to toss the chicken in the marinade and make sure it’s well coated. Set aside and allow chicken to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • While the chicken is marinating, spread the zucchini, bell pepper, red onion and tomatoes onto the baking sheet and drizzle the remaining marinade on top. Toss well to coat the vegetables.
  • Add the chicken thighs the baking sheet, nestling them around the vegetables and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven, add the olives and feta and then place it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is cooked through to 165°F.
  • Sprinkle the chicken and vegetables with chopped fresh parsley before serving.

Vegan butternut squash curry with spinach

This hearty vegan curry is sure to become a favourite in your household! Loaded with healthy and delicious seasonal vegetables, this curry is versatile – for additional protein, add chickpeas or pan-fried tofu.

“Butternut squash is loaded with vitamin C which helps the body repair itself. Vitamin C also helps us absorb iron which you’ll find in the spinach added to this recipe.” – Julie

Yields: 4


  • 2 tbsp virgin or unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp yellow curry powder, mild spice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups diced butternut squash (1/2 inch dice)
  • 1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 to 5 cups baby spinach

Helpful tips

  • If you want a creamier curry, you can add another 1/3 cup of coconut milk
  • If you a less spicy curry, use 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes


  • Heat a pot over medium-high heat. Add the coconut oil, then add the onions. Cook the onions for about 2 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
  • Add the curry powder, coriander and red pepper flakes, and stir to coat the onions with the spices. Add the diced butternut squash, crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, water and salt. Cover the pot with the lid and bring everything to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and let the squash simmer for 15 minutes. Remember to stir the pot every 5 minutes or so to prevent the curry from burning on the bottom. After 15 minutes, pierce a piece of butternut squash with a fork to see if the squash is tender. If the squash is still very firm, keep cooking the curry for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Add the baby spinach and stir the curry until the spinach starts to wilt. The spinach should start wilting in about a minute.
  • Serve the curry in bowls with a side of brown rice or your favorite grain.

Bonus recipe from Julie

Creamy roasted cauliflower soup

Receipe modified via CookieandKate

This soup is cozy, comforting and an easy way to get a couple of vegetable servings in your weekday lunches.  Ontario cauliflower is in season June through November and is an excellent source of vitamin C.

“I like to pair this soup with crackers and a source of protein, cheese slices or tuna mixed with mayo work well. Did you know the light brown spots often seen on raw cauliflower heads are likely just water marks? However, try to consume before the spots turn yellow as this indicates the cauliflower is past its best before date.” – Julie 

Yields: 4


  • 1 large head cauliflower (or 2 small), cut into florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, or more if needed
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Optional garnish: 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, chives and/or green onions


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On the baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake until the cauliflower is tender and caramelized on the edges for 25 to 35 minutes.
  • Once the cauliflower is almost done, in a Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and turning translucent for 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the broth and water
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the pot. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  • Add the butter, lemon juice and nutmeg.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender, working in batches, if necessary.
  • Add additional salt, to taste (if needed).
  • Pour into four, microwave-friendly containers. Add garnish (optional). This soup will keep in the refrigerator for four days, or several months in the freezer.

Which autumnal recipe was your favourite? Take a picture of your meal and tag us on social media @UHNfoundation.

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