Fall Produce Guide with Grateful Grazer

Sep 19

There’s something about the start of fall that gets me in the mood to cook. As the temperature cools, I find myself gravitating toward roasted veggies, slow-cooked chili, and pretty much anything fresh out of the oven. Simply put, fall food is comfort food. Want to get into your own autumn-cooking groove? Here are the best healthy, seasonal recipes to cozy up to this fall.

EGGPLANT

Eggplant hits its peak season during the first days of fall. Look for smaller eggplants when they’re available—they tend to taste sweeter and have fewer seeds. Eggplant should always be cooked thoroughly. You can bake, boil, broil, char, fry, grill, roast, or sauté. Cook eggplant with fresh basil, bell peppers, garlic, lemon, olives, or tahini. They can bruise easily, so be sure to handle with care!

Recipes to try:

Charred Eggplant Pita Wraps with Lemon Saffron Tahini Sauce by Grateful Grazer

Baked Italian Eggplant Dippers by Triad to Wellness

Roasted Eggplant Hummus by Katie Cavuto RD

PUMPKIN

What could be more autumn-friendly than the pumpkin? You can usually find this sweet and earthy winter squash whole throughout the fall season, but canned pumpkin is just as delicious (and often easier to work with). Try pairing pumpkin with apples, beans, chile peppers, cinnamon, coconut, garlic, ginger, or sage. Don’t forget to roast the seeds! It’s a delicious way to reduce your food waste.

Recipes to try:

Pumpkin Oat Pancakes with Fruit and Yogurt by Grateful Grazer

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread by The Foodie Dietitian

Comforting Pumpkin Quinoa by Fannetastic Food

APPLES

Apples are available year-round in most grocery stores, but they’re most flavorful (and the cheapest) when they hit their seasonal peak in fall. Try apples with blue cheese, cinnamon, cranberries, ginger, or pecans. Don’t bother shaving off the skins! Apple peels are especially high in beneficial antioxidants called phenols.

Recipes to try:

Thyme Roasted Apples and Pears by Grateful Grazer

BBQ Apple Sweet Potato Burgers by Bucket List Tummy

Roasted Carrot Apple Soup by C it Nutritionally

PEARS

Pears are another seasonal fruit that peaks during the autumn season. Crispy, juicy pears can be baked, braised, grilled, roasted, sautéed, or eaten raw. Try cooking them with arugula, apples, caramel, chocolate, blue cheese, spinach, pecans, or wine.

Recipes to try:

Roasted Pears with Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce by Grateful Grazer

Spinach Pear Goat Cheese Salad by Jessica Levinson

Maple Pecan Baked Pears by Your Choice Nutrition

SWEET POTATO

Soft and starchy sweet potatoes taste delicious with apples, black beans, peppers, coconut, or kale. I like sweet potatoes when they’re roasted or mashed, but you can also steam or sauté them. Going on one last camping trip this year? Try wrapping whole sweet potatoes in foil and cooking them directly over your fire’s hot coals.

Recipes to try:

Southeast Asian Herb Rice with Sweet Potato by Grateful Grazer

Hasselback Purple Sweet Potatoes with Ghee and Parsley by It’s a Veg World After All

5-Ingredient Sweet Potato & Sage Egg Muffins by Edwina Clark

Silky Sweet Potato Pie by Kroll’s Korner

BUTTERNUT SQUASH

Butternut squash is sweet, creamy and pairs well with so many classic fall flavors. Try it with cinnamon, ginger, maple syrup, pumpkin seeds, or sage. Butternut squash has a long lifespan that makes it ideal for fall storage. Keep uncut winter squash in a cool, dark place where it won’t come into contact with sunlight to maintain its freshness for up to three months.

Recipes to try:

Hearty Vegan Minestrone Stew with Butternut Squash by Grateful Grazer

Roasted Butternut Squash Pancakes by Sweat and Glow

Roasted Butternut Squash and Herbed Goat Cheese Crostini by C it Nutritionally

What’s your favorite fall comfort food?

Stephanie McKercher, MS, RDN is a recipe developer and non-diet media dietitian based in Denver, Colorado. She's the author and photographer behind the fruit and veggie-forward food blog, The Grateful Grazer. To see what she’s been up to lately, follow her on Instagram.