Take a stroll through your local farmer’s market or the produce section of your grocery store sometime this week.
Chances are, you’re going to be be treated to a wide array of colorful fruits and vegetables — things like pumpkins, carrots, butternut squash, pears and apples, all at the very peak of freshness.
Autumn produce has a wide range of textures and tastes, and they make the perfect segue into making creative dishes that will inspire you to eat healthy and prove that it’s delicious to do so.
We rounded up our favorite creative recipes, one main dish and one dessert, for our five favorite (and easy-to-find) fall fruits and veggies.
Makes: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 114
Many of the early days of fall are still warm and toasty, but when that first snow starts to fall, a warm bowl of pumpkin soup can really hit the spot. Especially when it’s creamy too.
6 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
5 whole black peppercorns
Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic and peppercorns.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
Return to pan, and bring to a boil again.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered.
Stir in heavy cream.
Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.
Recipe Courtesy: All Recipes
Makes: 16 servings
Calories Per Serving: 140
We all know pumpkin pie is a fall favorite, but what about for when we want to get a BIT more creative with things? Enter Pumpkin Mousse — a rich, fall-themed dessert that will have your family putting pumpkin pie on the back burner (maybe for good).
5 large egg yolks
1 c. sugar
3½ c. heavy cream
15 oz. Canned pumpkin
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dark rum
1 tsp. powdered gelatin
3 oz. shaved dark chocolate
Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and set aside.
Whisk the yolks, 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and 3/4 cup cream together in a medium saucepan. Heat while stirring continuously with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon over medium-low heat, until thickened and the mixture coats the spatula -- about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set over the ice bath. Stir to cool.
Add pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt to the egg mixture. Stir 1 tablespoon rum and 1 teaspoon gelatin together in a small bowl. Heat the remaining tablespoon rum, and stir into the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Gently whisk into the pumpkin mixture. Beat 1/2 cup cream to stiff peaks, and fold into pumpkin mixture. Pour into a shallow dish, cover and chill until cold and thick enough to fall from a spoon in heavy dollops -- about 8 hours or up to overnight.
Beat the remaining cream and sugar to stiff peaks. Alternately layer the pumpkin mousse and whipped cream in a glass serving dish. Sprinkle the chocolate shavings between top two layers. Serve chilled.
Recipe Courtesy: Country Living
Makes: 4 servings
Calories Per Serving: 240
Chances are that at least once in your childhood your mom whipped out the ol' pork chops-and-apples dish. And chances are even higher that you loved it. Well, you’re in luck. Cooking has evolved, and with it so has this classic homey favorite. (We’re just wondering how it can possibly get any better for the next generation).
2 1/2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
2 cups Gala apple wedges
1 tablespoon butter, divided
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Pat onions dry with a paper towel. Add onions to pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring once. Add apple to pan; place in oven. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until onions and apple are tender. Stir in 2 teaspoons butter, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. Combine broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook 1 minute or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in vinegar and remaining 1 teaspoon butter.
Serve sauce with pork and apple mixture.
Recipe Courtesy: My Recipes
Makes: 4 servings
Calories Per Serving: 153
Much like its sister dessert pumpkin pie, apple pie is the all-out American classic that almost always finds its way onto tables during family gatherings in the fall. And as delicious as apple pie is, there’s a host of other apple-themed desserts that deserve some of that table space, too. These baked apples are definitely among them.
2 large apples, halved
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
4 Tbsp. quick oats
Pinch of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350º. Cut apples in half and remove core and seeds with a small pairing knife or spoon.
In a small bowl combine butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon.
Spoon on top of the apple halves and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Serve warm with fat free whipped cream or low fat ice cream.
Recipe Courtesy: Skinnytaste
Makes: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 140
Carrots often play sidekick to main-dish proteins like beef, chicken and pork. But what about when you want to make them the star? Spruce your carrots up and help them shine on their own with this simple recipe that meshes our favorite orange delight with kale and ginger.
8 large carrots (about 2 lbs), peeled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 slender leeks (white parts only) thinly sliced, washed and dried
1/3 cup golden raisins, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest; plus 1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
4 large kale leaves, tough stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
Using a vegetable peeler, slice the carrots into long, thin ribbons.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins, garlic, ginger, lemon zest and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the carrots, kale and 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring or turning with tongs, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Recipe Courtesy: Rachael Ray Every Day
Makes: 14 cookies
Calories Each: 96
Is there anything (seriously… anything?) better than a moist slice of carrot cake on the back patio while you watch the leaves fall on a mid-October day? Probably not — but carrot cake, albeit delicious, also tends to be high in calories and sugar. Luckily, there’s an alternative: carrot cake oatmeal cookies — made healthier and still with all that autumn-flavored goodness.
1 cup (100g) instant oats
¾ cup (90g) whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp salt
2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (120mL) maple syrup
¾ cup (68g) grated carrots (about 1 smallish medium)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg and vanilla. Stir in the maple syrup until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Fold in the carrots. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
Preheat the oven to 325°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.) Bake at 325°F for 12-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
Recipe Courtesy: Amy’s Healthy Baking
Makes: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 149 calories
Butternut squash is one of those delicious vegetables that is so tasty you can use it to enhance a wide range of dishes — soup, chicken, pork, even macaroni and cheese. And did you know that butternut squash is so good, it works all on its own as a main dish, too? Just try this.
8 cups prepackaged cubed (1") butternut squash (about 4 lb peeled, seeded, and cubed)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss squash with oil in large bowl. In small bowl, combine cumin, salt, allspice, coriander, and pepper. Sprinkle squash with spices and toss well to evenly coat.
Spread squash in single layer on 2 baking sheets or pans and roast 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
Recipe Courtesy: Prevention Magazine
Makes: 1 9-inch pie
Calories Per Slice (1/9): 218
You’ve heard us talk about pumpkin pie and apple pie, but what about butternut squash pie? Oh yes, it’s a thing...and a very delicious thing at that. Take your taste buds to the next level with this creamy concoction that will soon become a family favorite.
1 single pre-made crust pie dough round, chilled
1 3-4 pound butternut squash
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
To make the butternut squash puree, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed sheetpan with aluminum foil. Trim off the stem from the top of the squash, and then cut through the squash horizontally where the bulb begins. Reserve bulb for another use–you’ll just want to roast the stem for this. Cut squash neck in two lengthwise. Place on lined sheetpan and drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil; spread to coat. Bake, turning occasionally, until the squash is tender and beginning to caramelize, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly, trim the skin away with a paring knife, and puree the flesh using either a food mill or a food processor. Use immediately in pie or store in a plastic container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the pie dough into a 14-inch round on a lightly floured work surface. Carefully transfer rolled pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and trim and crimp the edges. Place in the freezer to firm for 30 minutes. Once chilled, line the pie pan with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 10-12 minutes, remove the foil and the weights and prick the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent bubbles, and bake for about 5 minutes more or until the crust is flaky-looking and golden. Once removed from the oven, reduce the oven down to 350 degrees F.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling. Process the eggs and yolks, vanilla, sugars, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in a food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups of reserved squash puree (you probably will have some puree left over) and process until smooth, about another 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides. With the machine running, pour in the heavy cream in a steady stream and process until combined. Pour the filling into the hot pre-baked pie shell (as mentioned above, you may have a little extra filling). Bake until the filling is set and the center doesn’t jiggle, about 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven, and cool to room temperature on a rack. Serve with whipped cream.
Recipe Courtesy: The Moveable Feasts
Makes: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 110
There are plenty of days where the crisp fall air is going to make you feel like having a crisp, light dish to go with the weather. And for those days, this chopped cucumber, pear and fennel salad is sure to hit the spot. It’s light, refreshing and oh-so-healthy.
2 pounds cucumbers, cut into ¾-inch cubes
1 large fennel bulb, fronds separated, bulb cut into ½-inch cubes
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 pears, peeled, quartered, cored, cut into ½-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
¾ cup pomegranate seeds, divided
¾ cup apple cider vinaigrette
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place cucumbers in a large resealable plastic bag. Place fennel fronds in another resealable plastic bag. Place fennel bulb in a large bowl of water and top with lemon juice; cover. Chill cucumber, fennel, and fronds overnight.
Combine cucumber, fennel bulb, pears, and ½ cup pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Add apple cider vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with reserved fronds and remaining ¼ cup pomegranate seeds.
Recipe Courtesy: Bon Appétit
Calories Each: 243
Keep it classic (and tasty) with baked pears, only this time with a twist. This particular recipe pairs the sweet fruit with another fall favorite (OK, any season-favorite): wine. And the two go together for an incredibly elegant dessert.
4 ripe pears, preferably Bosc, with stems, washed and dried
2 cups Riesling or other fruity white wine
1/4 cup honey
4 cinnamon sticks
4 bay leaves
4 strips orange zest
Preheat oven to 400 °F.
Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear, so they will stand upright. Arrange the pears in a 9- to 10-inch pie pan or similar baking dish. Whisk wine and honey in a medium bowl until well blended; pour over the pears. Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and orange zest to the wine mixture around the pears.
Roast the pears, basting every 15 minutes, until they are wrinkled and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the type of pear used.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to shallow dessert bowls. Pour the wine mixture into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Drizzle over the pears and garnish with the cinnamon sticks, bay leaves and orange zest. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe Courtesy: Eating Well
Author: Caitlin Hendee
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.