Antioxidant-Rich Recipes for Autumn

Health Professional, Medical Reviewer

Antioxidants have numerous health benefits. They have the ability to attack free radicals in your body to get rid of them. Free radicals can damage the DNA in your cells, leading to disease over time.   Foods high in antioxidants include carrots, green leafy vegetables, berries, citrus fruits, apples, pears, and green tea. Consider trying one of these antioxidant-rich recipes this holiday season.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

The spinach and cranberries used in this recipe are outstanding sources of vitamin C, as well as antioxidants. This is a tasty twist on a plain spinach salad and is a colorful addition to your Thanksgiving meal.


1 teaspoon butter

½ cup slivered almonds

1 pound baby spinach leaves, rinsed

1 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoons minced onion

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup canola oil

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.   Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted.   Remove from heat and cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine and cider vinegar, and oil.   Toss with spinach just before serving.

In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.

**Variations:                **

  • Nut allergy?   Omit the almonds and substitute with sunflower seeds or soy nuts.
  • Want more flavor? Toss with ¼ cup feta cheese before serving.

Heart-Healthy Dark Chocolate Granola

Looking for a sweet treat with a healthy boost? Try this granola recipe; it contains healthy antioxidants from dark chocolate and heart-healthy fats from nuts. This is delicious by itself or stirred into Greek yogurt for a calcium and protein boost.


½ cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

2 tablespoons light butter or reduced-fat margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups oats

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 inch pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Melt brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, butter, and vanilla together in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until well combined and remove from heat. Combine oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.   Pour the brown sugar mixture into the bowl and stir well. Stir in chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and almonds.   Spoon into the prepared pan.   Pat down and spread evenly. Bake in oven until browned (15 to 20 minutes). Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

Antioxidant-rich fresh fruit combined with whole-wheat tortillas make this a great option if you need to make a quick and easy appetizer or dessert.   Frozen berries work well if you can't find fresh fruit this time of year.


2 kiwis, peeled and chopped

2 golden delicious apples, peeled and chopped

8 ounces raspberries

1 pound strawberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons fruit preserves (any flavor)

10 (ten-inch) whole wheat tortillas

Cooking spray (butter flavored)

2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, mix kiwi, raspberries, apples, strawberries, sugar, brown sugar, and preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray one side of each tortilla with cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.   Sprinkle wedges with cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.   Serve chips with chilled fruit mixture.