Published on October 27, 2021

Squash soup.

Celebrate the fall harvest with flavorful meals

Root vegetables, greens, squash, beans, corn, potatoes, cabbage and herbs are all plentiful in the fall, and easy to mix and match in both traditional and new ways. Fall produce is well suited for easy sheet pan, slow cooker, one-pot and skillet dishes.

The late harvest also offers tasty ingredients to chop and use in pitas, pockets and wraps. Fresh apples, pears and grapes are also ideal for baking or brightening up salad and dessert plates.

“As it gets cooler people naturally crave hot meals and foods that are flavorful, warm and calming,” said Betty Holloway, a clinical dietitian with ProHealth Care’s Weight Management Services. “It’s also the time when locally grown foods rich in nutrients and flavor are widely available.”

If you search for fall recipes online, you’ll find plenty of options for different kinds of soup, curry, chili, stew and slaw. These fall dishes are often flavored with spices that include cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and paprika as well as herbs like parsley, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and sage.

“Many fall foods are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals,” Holloway said. “They are filling and easy to season without overdoing it.”

Butternut squash, pumpkin, leeks or potatoes can be the basis for delicious soups when blended with seasonings and other fall ingredients. Soup can be chunky or pureed, allowing for even more variety.

Soups can be labeled and frozen in either individual or family-sized containers for heating up later. They can be a good option for a main or side dish, or lunch, and will add variety and nutrition to your diet. 

Roasted vegetables make hearty main ingredients for sheet pan meals and side dishes. They can also be pureed with herbs and low-sodium broth for soup. 

“Turnips, parsnips, carrots, fennel bulbs, onions and leeks can be roasted with olive oil, garlic and herbs, then served on a bed of lettuce with a balsamic vinaigrette, in a wrap, or over brown rice with a protein and a robust sauce,” Holloway said. “You could also combine a winter squash with onions and other vegetables.”

Before putting away the grill for winter, use it a new way this fall.

Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leeks, acorn squash, sweet potatoes and other vegetables can be grilled using olive oil, glazes and seasonings, and also paired with dressings.

“When you start thinking about all of the fall vegetables in season, you can have fun finding new ways to combine ingredients and tastes,” Holloway said. “The abundance and the variety can be truly inspiring.”