Autumn is my favorite season. I love everything about fall – the cooler weather, the colors of the changing leaves, getting to wear sweaters, and the anticipation of the holidays. What I love most, however, are the delicious flavors of fall and the fragrant aromas that accompany them. It’s time for pumpkins, winter squash, and dark leafy greens. Fruits are dark and juicy with sweet and tart flavors like cranberries, pears, pomegranate and apples. The aroma of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves is everywhere, and it smells so good. If you’re looking forward to cooking with the seasonal flavors of fall as much as I do, check out these fall foods and flavors that make autumn the best season ever!
Of course, we have to start with pumpkin. The sudden emergence of pumpkins everywhere is the surest sign that fall has arrived. What’s more fun than going to a pumpkin patch and picking your own orange beauties? It’s so much more fun to make your own pumpkin dishes than to buy cans of pumpkin puree. Learn 10 Ways to Cook with Pumpkin and How to Make Your Own Pumpkin Butter (and Pumpkin Seeds) in 7 Easy Steps. If you like peanut butter and jelly, wait until you try peanut butter and pumpkin butter together. It’s heaven!
Pumpkin loves to hang out with spices like cinnamon, red chili powder, paprika, and cumin. You can enjoy pumpkin in your meals from morning until night. Start your day with these Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies or these Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats. Lunch is served with this Avocado Pumpkin Panini with Caramelized Onions. If you need a midday snack, this Savory Pumpkin Hummus with a few crackers will tide you over until dinner. Then choose between these Pumpkin Enchiladas, Pumpkin, Arugula and Vegan “Goat” Cheese Gnocchi and Pumpkin Dal. Not an easy choice. For dessert, have some Pumpkin Pudding, Pumpkin Peanut Butter Truffles or Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Chocolate Cinnamon Icing. Yum!
2. Butternut and Winter Squash
Pumpkin may get most of the attention, but it’s not the only squash out there this time of year. I am delighted by just how many different type of winter squash are available and how good each one tastes in its own way. Winter squash may be one of the most versatile vegetables out there, that is, once you know how to cook with them. There are many types of winter squash, including acorn, butternut, buttercup, carnival, delicata, Hubbard, Kabocha, pumpkin and spaghetti. Check out 10 Ways to Cook Comforting Fall Foods With Winter Squash for tips and recipes.
Then try all the different types of squash in delicious recipes both sweet and savory. Butternut squash recipes include these Kabocha Croquettes, Savory Butternut Squash and Tomatoes, Savory Butternut Squash and Chestnut Pie, Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas With Mango-Avocado Salsa and Butternut Squash Biscuits. Other types of squash should be on the menu also. Try this Stuffed Sage Carnival Squash, Miso Sesame Spaghetti Squash, Mac n’ Squash, and Sauteed Delicata Squash Rings.
3. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap that is unfair because when they are cooked correctly (read: never boiled), they are delicious. Learn the proper way to cook with little cabbages and get some great recipes in 5 Ways to Get Anyone to Love Brussels Sprouts.
Brussels sprouts taste great when cooked with thyme, lemon, and maple syrup. Learn to love these sprouts by making Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, and Bourgal Salad With Maple-Orange Dressing, Roasted Chestnuts with Apple and Squash, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Bursted Cherry Tomato Spaghetti and Sesame Brussels Sprout Curry.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
Fall brings us lots of hearty, dark leafy greens such as kale, collards, and Swiss chard. For all the info, see Your Ultimate Guide to Leafy Greens and then see 20 Ways to Add More Leafy Greens to Your Diet. Greens are so good when they aren’t overcooked into mush. Read my Tips for Cooking Greens, So They Taste Real Delicious to get greens that are bright, tender and so good!
Recipes you must try this fall include Frittata with Swiss Chard and Red Pepper, No-Noodle Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Lasagna, Creamy Pumpkin Seed Alfredo With Kale and Sweet Peas, Spicy Kale and Quinoa Black Bean Salad, and BBQ Tempeh With Collard Green Hash and Horseradish Cole Slaw.
Fall is apple season, and they can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. For great ideas, see Beyond Apple Sauce: 21 Amazing Ways to Use This Season’s Apples and try this Cream Cheese Apple Galette, Chopped Salad, and Chipotle Apple Vinaigrette, and Beet, Butternut Squash and Apple Soup.
Even though we think about pears as a winter fruit, they come into season in fall. See 10 Sweet and Savory Ways to Cook with Pears and try this Cinnamon Apple Pear Pandowdy and this Spiced Pear Crisp.
Cranberries are for so much more than just cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. These tart fruits are great for recipes whether you use them fresh or dried. Look at these 6 Incredible Ways to Cook with Cranberries and then enjoy them in these Cranberry and Mint Cream Scones, Spelt Salad with Oranges, Cranberries and Feta, and Sweet Potato Risotto With Sausage, Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberries. Combine apples, cranberries, and greens to make this delicious Seasonal Sweet Fall Salad.
6. Fall Spices
The spices of fall are some of the most aromatic – cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, chai, pumpkin pie spice and mace. Spices can jazz up both sweet and savory recipes. There’s nothing like the smell of these spices when used in baking. See my Tips for Baking the Best Fall Treats – No Gluten Required. You can learn more about spices in The Ultimate Spice Guide for Vegan Cooking.
Ginger adds zing to these 5 Ingredient Ginger Brownie Bars, Apple, Ginger and Fejoa Cake, and Almond Ginger Pad Thai. Chai spices are good for more than just tea. Enjoy the aroma and taste of these Chai Oatcakes for One, Nourishing Autumn Chai Smoothie, and Vanilla Chai Strawberry Pancakes.
7. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is a healthier way to add sweetness to recipes. Get out the Grade A or Grade B syrup and whip up these Maple Sweetened Zucchini Doughnuts with Date Frosting, Overnight Savory Breakfast Mushrooms, Chocolate-Dipped Maple “Meringues,” Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Maple Miso Balsamic Sauce, Simple Maple Dijon Tofu Burgers and Maple-Spice Oatmeal Bowl of Goodness.
Of course, maple syrup belongs drizzling down a big stack of fluffy pancakes. Seasonal recipes you should definitely wake up to include these Maple Ginger Pancakes, Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup, and these “Bacon” and Maple Syrup Pancakes.
Fall brings us a bounty of beautiful foods and fragrant spices. Warm up this autumn with the warm and delicious flavors of fall.
Lead image source: Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins