Ahh, fall. The air is cooler, the leaves are changing and new foods are in season. Celebrate autumn by heading to your local market and filling your basket with these seasonal gems. Fresh fall produce is a great source of fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals, which promote health and can be protective against disease. The variation of rich colors like orange and red (beta carotene) and green (chlorophyll) are great sources of vitamin C, A, and K, folic acid, potassium and carotenoids.
This post was first published on September 22, 2019. It was updated on September 19, 2022.
My top fall produce picks
From pumpkins to apples to sweet potatoes–I’ve rounded up some of the most beloved produce to eat this autumn. Want to know how you can incorporate some of these fall-favorites into your diet? Read on for seasonal cooking tips and 50 of my favorite healthy recipes.
(Harvest Season: October–February)
Pumpkin spice… makes everything nice. Try adding a dollop of pumpkin puree to your oatmeal, smoothie or hummus for a fall-inspired dip. A simple puree of pumpkin, coconut milk and warm spices makes for a delicious and easy pumpkin soup to serve as the temperatures begin to drop. Pumpkin also makes a great addition to no-bake energy bites.
Other pumpkins recipes to try:
- Pumpkin Spice Probiotic Smoothie by Rubarbarians
- Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal by The Banana Diaries
- Pumpkin Energy Bites by Cheerful Choices
- Pumpkin and Pork Stew by Savor the Best
- Pumpkin Curry with Crispy Tofu and Broccoli by Grateful Grazer
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars by Savory Tooth
- Easy Healthy Pumpkin Banana Muffins by Attainable Sustainable
- Perfect Pumpkin Seeds by Home Cooking Memories
- Healthier Pumpkin Bread by Little Sweet Baker
2. Winter Squash
(Harvest Season: October–February)
Butternut, acorn, delicata, spaghetti— the list goes on and on. Fall is the perfect time to dig into those colorful squashes—each has their own unique flavor and texture. To prepare squash, simply slice one in half, scoop out the pocket of seeds, drizzle with olive oil and seasonings and pop the two halves into the microwave for 10-12 minutes or roast in the oven at 400˚F for 40-50 minutes until tender.
Spaghetti squash can be steamed or roasted and used in place of pasta served with a veggie-rich sauce.
Butternut squash works especially well in soups, purees, or roasted and added to salads.
Try stuffing acorn squash with savory vegetables, spiced whole grains and dried fruit to eat as a hearty, warming meal.
Delicata squash makes a nice addition to salads or Buddha bowls. Roasted segments also make for delicious, crunchy squash fries. Their skins are super thin and edible don’t your don’t have to worry about peeling them.
Other squash recipes to try:
- Massaged Kale Salad with Winter Squash by Cheerful Choices
- Butternut Squash Apple Flatbread by Delicious Little Bites
- Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash by Veggies Save the Day
- Spaghetti Squash Marinara by Brooklyn Active Mama
- Thai Curried Butternut Squash Soup by Piping Pot Curry
- Butternut Squash Curry by Little Sunny Kitchen
- Maple Roasted Acorn Squash Slices by Everyday Family Cooking
- Butternut Squash Soup by Salt and Lavender
- Butternut Squash Curry by V Nutrition and Wellness
- Parmesan Delicata Fries by My Life Cookbook
(Harvest Season: August-November)
Did you know there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples? For a fun spin on your regular apple dipping, try cutting the apple into thin slices and top with nut butter, quinoa crunch granola and other toppings of your choice. If you are slicing them to eat as a snack later, squeeze some lemon or lime juice over the apples to keep them from browning.
You can also make quick homemade applesauce by boiling apples and throwing them into a blender with desired spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, maple or brown sugar. Use apples in soups, pancakes, marinades, crepe filling, stuffing, dehydrated as chips or paired on a toothpick with cheese for a savory snack. Be sure to stock up on this fruit and store extras for the winter months because the possibilities here are endless!
More apple recipes to try:
- Healthy Apple Crisp by The Clean Eating Couple
- Almond, Oat and Apple Cookies by Very Vegan Val
- Oatmeal Stuffed Apples with Candied Pecans by The Soccer Mom Blog
- Applesauce Waffles by Cultured Table
- Apple Pie Smoothie In The Kids Kitchen
- Apple Polenta Gorgonzola Bites by Dancing Through the Rain
- Cinnamon Apple Muffins by The Baking ChocolaTess
- Fall Charcuterie Board by Cheerful Choices
(Harvest Season: Year-round, peaks during fall and winter)
Kale has gotten a bad rap for being roughage, but don’t write it off right away. Try massaging kale with oil and salt to break down some of the bitterness for salad or throw it into a smoothie with some strawberry and pineapple to cut the bite.
Kale adds great texture to warm soups–perfect for the colder weather. As it is heated, it will start to wilt down and take on the flavor on the soup.
You can also make homemade kale chips by ripping the leaves into small pieces and microwaving for 2-3 minutes until crispy. It’s that easy! Try experimenting with different olive oils and seasonings before microwaving for more flavor. This leafy green is high in protein and fiber, helping you feel fuller longer.
Other kale recipes to try:
- 3 Minute Microwave Kale Chips by Cheerful Choices
- Superfood Kale Salad with Miso Dressing by All Ways Delicious
- Tuscan One Soup White Bean Soup with Kale by Cheerful Choices
- Healthy Fall Salad with Kale, Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Maple Curry Dressing by Delicious on a Dime
- Mushroom Kale Black Bean Taco Bake by Grateful Grazer
(Harvest Season: June through October)
Not sure what to do with those beets you always see at the market? Try throwing roasted beets over a salad and toss with fruit and a vinaigrette for beautiful color and flavor. You can also bake them into beet fries, slice and serve them in a sandwich, try beet-potato-hash, or blend beets into a soup, dip, or smoothie. When you’re preparing your beets save the green leafy tops for salads, sautées, and green smoothies!
Other beet recipes to try:
- Lemony Beet Hummus by My Life Cookbook
- Roasted Garlic Beet Dip by Partylicious
- Roast Beetroot Salad with Feta and Candied Pecans by Whole Lotta Yum
- Instant Pot Beets Salad by Yang’s Nourishing Kitchen
- Beet Salad by Bunny’s Warm Oven
(Harvest Season: August–February)
Pears are another yummy fall fruit to enjoy. Throw pears, cinnamon, nuts, oats and milk into a mason jar and let sit overnight for a fall-infused, ready-to-go, overnight oats breakfast. Baked pears, ricotta cheese, and a sprinkling of cinnamon makes for a delicious low-calorie, protein-packed dessert. Blend pears and parsnips together for a sweet and earthy fall harvest soup.
Other pear recipes to try:
- Buckwheat Pancakes with Pear by Fearless Dining
- Roasted Pear Pepper and Tomato Soup by The Fiery Vegetarian
- Red Wine Stewed Pears by Amanda’s Cookin
- Baked Apples and Pears with Maple by Grateful Grazer
- Oatmeal Pear Bars by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pork Chops Topped with Spiced Pears by Freezer Meals 101
- Apple & Pear Spring Mix Salad by When Is Dinner
7. Sweet Potatoes
(Harvest Season: October–December)
Sweet potatoes are one of my all time favorites when it comes to fall produce. They are delicious and super filling. Try baking them at 400º F for 40-60 minutes and eat just as they are, slice up and eat for breakfast toast-style, or roast cubes and throw over a Buddha bowl.
Other sweet potato recipes to try:
- Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Buddha Bowl by Cheerful Choices
- Lentil Sweet Potato Chili by Delightful Adventures
- Sweet Potato Taco Bowl by My Kitchen Love
- Sweet Potato Satay Noodles by Simply Healthy Vegan
- Savory Sweet Potato Muffins by Recipe Pocket
- One Pan Little Potato Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash by Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
What are some of your favorite seasonal produce picks? Let me know which fall recipes you try!