Catch-all recipes that make the most of the season. 

by Sarah Waldman

Photography by Elizabeth Cecil

Here on Martha’s Vineyard, the shift from summer to fall is a welcome change. As the leaves turn and the weather cools, there’s a new rhythm in our house as we adapt to fall schedules and routines. Still, it’s important to our family that we continue to discover new ways to enjoy the outdoors. For my sons, that means putting on wetsuits before hopping into the ocean, and for me, that means bringing down a few sweaters from the attic. 

We keep our spirits up by squeezing in quick beach walks or an afternoon snack in the yard. Family bike rides after school revive our connection to this beautiful place. My sons are also avid fisher-boys, and I am more than happy to park myself on a dock with a good book while they go after striped bass and bluefish. 

At this time of the year, our meals are composed of island produce, and this recipe for Slow-Cooker Ratatouille highlights the diversity of veggies growing outside. The one-pot dish is also an easy way to use up garden bounty, and turn those mountains of zucchini, eggplant, and squash into a nutritious vegetarian meal. This ratatouille makes a hearty and satisfying meal on its own (with some special toppings), but it is also delicious as a side to turkey burgers or folded into cheddar omelettes in the morning. 

Slow-Cooker Ratatouille

Slow-Cooker Ratatouille is the perfect way to use up garden overabundance as the medley of vegetables is completely adaptable. I’ve used an assortment of produce, but feel free to toss in green beans, sweet potato, and summer squash. To me, this mix of late summer harvest and early fall goodies is the perfect balance of fresh and comforting. Plus, it yields quite a few servings, which means you will have enough to share with a neighbor or freeze for later in the winter. 

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into one-inch pieces
  • 1 potato (I used Yukon Gold) cut into one-inch pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water

Directions

Simply combine everything in the pot of a slow cooker and give it a big stir. Cook on high for four hours or on low for six hours, and stir occasionally. Add more salt before serving. 

Crispy Chickpeas

It’s taken me a long time to find a cooking method that produces really crispy chickpeas, but this is it! This recipe is flexible, so you can toss the chickpeas in any mix of spices, such as curry powder, cumin, or chili powder. In the recipe below, I’ve used a basic combination of garlic powder, oil, and salt. Leftover Crispy Chickpeas are delicious in salads, wraps, and as a quick snack. 

Ingredients

  • 2 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Toss the rinsed chickpeas with the oil, salt, and garlic powder. 

Arrange the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes. 

Leftover Crispy Chickpeas can be stored in a lidded jar on the counter for a few days. 

 

Chimichurri Sauce

This is my go-to early fall sauce because it brings a brightness to vegetables, chicken, burgers, and sandwiches. If you have leftover cilantro or basil in your garden, you can use those herbs too. (This recipe makes about one cup of sauce.)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup mint
  • ½ cup chives
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ¾ cup olive oil

Directions

Combine everything in a food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Chimichurri sauce can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week.

Leftover Crispy Chickpeas can be stored in a lidded jar on the counter for a few days.