Cooking Clean This Autumn

Clean Eating Emphasizes Whole Foods That Aren't Processed or Contain Harmful Ingredients.

Article by Kristen Todoroff

Photography by Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

What does “cooking clean” really mean? Clean eating essentially means consuming whole, unprocessed foods. The less-processed food is, the cleaner it is because it is absent preservatives and harmful food additives that can cause inflammation and disrupt hormonal balance. Whenever possible, using organic ingredients helps with avoiding pesticides and genetically engineered organisms (GMOs).

I LOVE fall’s seasonal vegetables—they lend themselves perfectly to delicious soups, stews, and side dishes. I literally crave mushrooms when temperatures start to drop. Nothing says comfort food like a hearty, steaming bowl of soup! The best thing about soups and stews is that you can easily scale the recipes, and they taste even better the next day as the flavors continue to meld.

Here are a couple of my favorite fall recipes—they are easy to prepare, healthy, and delicious. These are also vegan and gluten-free, but you could easily add a protein of your choice if desired.

Fall Harvest Soup with Wild Rice

This cozy, savory soup is perfect for a hearty fall meal. It’s loaded with antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and boost immunity, fiber to aid digestion, and healthy fats to help regulate cholesterol and improve heart health.


  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large (about 1 pound) sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 15-oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 large handfuls of kale, roughly chopped with thick stems removed (or 1-2 cups frozen kale)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Heat coconut oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the onions and garlic are starting to turn golden brown.
  2. Add the broth, wild rice, mushrooms, carrots, celery, sweet potato, bay leaf, and Old Bay seasoning. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring soup to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the coconut milk and kale; simmer for another 5 minutes until everything is combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

This is a simple salad to throw together. I love the combination of peppery arugula, crunchy cashews, tart cranberries, and creamy avocado—tied together perfectly by the lemon vinaigrette dressing. This dressing is very versatile and can be used on a variety of salads. Its bright, fresh flavor complements many other ingredients, including seasonal fall vegetables. It's packed with healthy fats and antioxidants to help prevent fall and winter colds.


  • 1 10-oz. package of arugula, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon (~1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried minced thyme


  1. Add the arugula, cashews, cranberries, and avocado to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, lemon, mustard, and garlic together until combined. Add salt, pepper, and thyme to taste.
  3. Add the dressing to the salad bowl and toss to taste (you may have extra dressing).

Kristen Todoroff is a Holistic Health Coach. She helps professional women eliminate hot flashes and regain control of their bodies so they feel sexy, empowered, and alive stepping into the next phase of womanhood. Learn more at The author added this special note: “THANK YOU to my dear friends Annamarie Bader, Sue Dahl, Jen Egan, Linda Starkey, and Jocelyn Wilhelm for joining me for the photo shoot. Also thank you Linda for generously offering us your beautiful home. I could not have pulled this off without all of you. XO!"

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