Fall Flavors

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Butternut squash pizza | courtesy of True Food Kitchen

Dig into good-for-you tastes of the season on True Food Kitchen’s fall menu.

By Sharon Stello

For a last taste of fall before settling into winter, head to True Food Kitchen at Fashion Island for some healthy and delicious dishes on the autumn menu.

Start with the Forbidden Root cocktail, a sweet yet slightly tart concoction of lemon-infused vodka, apple, rosemary and red beet, which imparts a deep purple-red color. Other fall drinks include the Apple Jack, mixing bourbon, lemon and cinnamon; a pomegranate margarita; and cinnamon vanilla latte, served hot or made with cold brew coffee.

Forbidden Root cocktail | courtesy of True Food Kitchen

While perusing the menu, order some sharing plates like the roasted Brussels sprouts. The slight char on the sprouts brings out their natural sweetness while they are dressed in a tantalizing sweet-and-spicy blend of miso sesame vinaigrette and chili threads, with Asian mushrooms also adding to the dish. Another great bet, from the regular menu, is the savory charred cauliflower with harissa tahini, mint, dill and pistachio nuts, plus a bit of sweetness from medjool dates.

Roasted Brussels sprouts | courtesy of True Food Kitchen

For those seeking a salad, the seasonal option is chock-full of tasty goodness from Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash and juicy pomegranate arils to quinoa and toasted mulberry, tangy goat cheese and a horseradish vinaigrette.

Turning to warm comfort dishes typically associated with fall, the butternut squash pizza is the ultimate option. It’s loaded with sweet butternut squash, creamy, vegan almond ricotta, caramelized onions and organic kale, punctuated with bright bursts of sweet-tart dried cranberries. You won’t need a to-go box for this pizza—it will have you grabbing slice after slice until it’s all gone.

Another can’t-miss option, which isn’t a seasonal special, but feels like fall since it incorporates squash, is the spaghetti squash casserole. Enjoy all of the Italian flavors of crushed, organic DiNapoli tomatoes, caramelized onions, zucchinis and melting mozzarella cheese without the heaviness—and carbs—of pasta. Indeed, this flavorful entree feels like a decadent dish without the guilt.

What’s even better is that many of the dishes at True Food Kitchen conform to vegetarian or gluten-free diets—or both—and some are even vegan-friendly. The eatery, co-founded by renowned Dr. Andrew Weil, known for his work in integrative medicine, is focused on serving up foods that follow anti-inflammatory guidelines intended to make you feel better, without sacrificing flavor.

Squash pie with whipped coconut cream | courtesy of True Food Kitchen

You’ll want to eat it all, but be sure to save room for dessert. The must-try squash pie is this restaurant’s take on a traditional favorite—pumpkin pie—but made from fresh butternut squash, rather than canned pumpkin. Filled with the rich, warm flavors of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, every silky smooth bite, topped with a less-caloric whipped coconut cream, will have you coming back for more.

Much of this seasonal lineup (including the fall dishes mentioned in this article) will be offered until April, when the spring menu is rolled out. But a few fall menu dishes, like the chilled shrimp lettuce cups and pressed apple soda, will only be offered until the winter lineup is introduced Jan. 9. (949-644-2400; truefoodkitchen.com)

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