Easy Weeknight Dinners Featuring Our 15 Favorite Fall Ingredients

Autumn is all about warming comfort food and embracing the flavors of the season as we gear up for the holidays. When the air gets cooler and hectic summer schedules wind down, weeknight cooking can still be a struggle to fit in. These 15 autumn recipes are quick and easy without compromising flavor. Who says you can't get festive on a time constraint?

1. Apples

Allen's pork and apple burger

Few fall ingredients shine like apples. Whether you're using up your apple-picking bounty or picked them up from the corner store, this delicious alternative to store-bought burgers patties takes 30 minutes or less, and the only tools you’ll need are your hands and a frying pan. Get our Pork and Apple Burgers recipe.

 

2. Pumpkin Seeds

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Try roasting your own large batch of pumpkin seeds—you won't regret it. This fall favorite can be piled on to anything from salad to cookies. This recipe is one of the easiest ways to make a delicious pot of butternut squash, without devoting all the time to peeling and dicing. Get our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe.

 

3. Eggplant

Eggplant, at peak season in October, is one of the most versatile pieces of produce and an excellent meat substitute for vegetarian dishes. This recipe only involves 15 minutes of active time and yields a flavorful, healthy fall meal. Get our Charred Eggplant Salad recipe.

4. Acorn Squash

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Also known as pepper squash, acorn squash is an earthy squash that adds a sweet complexity to fall classics. This stuffed squash dish looks complicated, but only takes about 20 minutes of active prep time. Even better, the rice mixture can be made up to two days in advance. Get our Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing recipe.

 

5. Cauliflower

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Cauliflower tacos are the perfect healthy, easy weeknight dinner for when you’re craving those summer Taco Tuesdays. This quick recipe yields 12 tacos—use the extra filling for leftovers, or invite some friends over for a delicious meal without the stress of preparation. Get our Cauliflower Tacos recipe.

 

6. Delicata Squash

The end of summer doesn't mean the end of refreshing, light salads. This recipe is simple and easy, but far from boring. The sweet delicata squash is at center stage, complimenting savory ricotta salada. Get our Roasted Delicata Squash Salad recipe.

 

7. Fig

The key to weeknight cooking is using those Tupperware containers. This easy chicken dish embraces one of autumn's favorite ingredient pairings, goat cheese and figs, to yield six servings of chicken—perfect for pairing with different sides throughout the week. Get our Chicken with Goat Cheese and Figs recipe.

 

8. Pear

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The classic weeknight go-to is taken up a notch with fresh, crunchy pears and creamy gouda. We recommend experimenting with different types of bread and adding other fall favorites, like pumpkin seeds. Get our Asian Pear and Gouda Grilled Cheese recipe.

 

9. Kale

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This mash is the ideal weeknight meal: filling, easy, and healthy. It's gluten-free and vegan, but more importantly, incredibly delicious. The Spanish romesco sauce adds the extra kick to put this dish over the top. Get our Kale and Potato Mash with Romesco Sauce recipe.

10. Sweet Potato

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This incredible baked sweet potato only requires five minutes of prep time—perfect for those scrambling weeknights or a stress-free Thanksgiving contribution. It will pair well with just about any grain or vegetable side you have in the kitchen, or on its own as a light meal. Get our Baked Sweet Potato with Molasses-Clove Butter recipe.

11. Pomegranate

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Often though to be a summer fruit, pomegranate peak season is October through May. This salad is an easy, light option that allows you to try out lesser-known seasonal foods such as chicory or tangerine. Get our Chicory, Tangerine, and Pomegranate Salad recipe.

 

12. Cranberries

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We recommend keeping a bag of dried cranberries on hand for all your fall favorite recipes: breads, cookies, pastas, pies. This light rice salad gets better as it sits, so it can easily be prepared on Sunday and enjoyed all week. Get our Wild Rice, Pecan, and Cranberry Salad recipe.

 

13. Grapes

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The grape harvest lasts into the fall season, adding sweetness to many fall classics. Here, it's bathed in grappa for a luxurious twist on a classic comfort food. Pair it with some wine and treat yourself on a busy weeknight. Get our Grape and Taleggio Grilled Cheese recipe.

14. Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts are one of the most versatile autumn ingredients, pairing with just about any protein. For when there's not enough time to cook up a savory steak or leg of lamb, this salad is warm, filling, and easy. Get our Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables recipe.

15. Persimmon

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Persimmon is a versatile fruit that has been a staple for Native Americans and early European settlers in North America. It looks like a large tomato and is high in vitamins. It also has a later peak season—ideal in the fall. Get our Persimmon Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette recipe.

Header image from: WBUR.

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