Many of us have had it with the pumpkin madness. Enough already with these pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cheesecakes, ad nauseam! But that doesn’t mean we’re anti-autumn. Oh, no. We love the warming spices that signal sweater weather and the changing leaves (in the North). You can get cozy with your cooking and cocktails even without the perennial pumpkin-ness.
pro pumpkin, we won’t judge. Your pumpkiny leanings don’t mean you’re opposed to other flavors too. So pick up what we’re putting down (and check out even more of our favorite fall dinner recipes that highlight seasonal produce).Here’s how to show your fall fandom without succumbing to that fat orange squash. Even if you are
They’re just the thing for a fall dinner party, but most are easy enough for a weeknight meal too, and there’s even a make-ahead breakfast option for those on the go (since you can’t just snuggle down on the couch all season).
Related Reading: The Best New Cookbooks for Fall
Butternut squash is like the new black. So much cooler than that mainstream, overdone pumpkin. With a Granny Smith apple, some onion, cream, and chicken broth, you get a crazy-good soup. (And yes, those are pumpkin seeds on top, but you could garnish it with any other crunchy thing you prefer.) Get our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe.
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Pumpkin spice gets all the press, but Chinese five spice powder deserves the spotlight. It can flavor sweet desserts and drinks, but also shines in savory recipes like this juicy roasted chicken. Get our Five Spice Roasted Chicken recipe.
Autumn apples are great for baking (just see this Spiced Walnut Apple Crisp recipe for proof), but raw, they also lend a refreshing, crisp, and juicy sweetness to salads like this kale slaw. Get our Kale-Apple Coleslaw with Poppy Seed Dressing recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Apples for Baking (& What to Make with Them for Dessert)
Dates start popping up when the weather chills, and they’re lovely in a warmly spiced couscous pilaf freshened with parsley and crunchy with almonds. Serve this alongside roasted meat or cauliflower steaks for a hearty vegetarian meal. Get our Toasted Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Dates, Almonds, Cinnamon, and Parsley recipe.
Related Reading: 12 Vegetarian Cookbooks Everyone Should Own
There are so many more vegetables worth roasting until they’re sweet and delectable other than just pumpkin (and so many grains to pair them with). In this protein-packed, yet vegetarian, salad, you get sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and turnips—all fall favorites. Get our Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Autumn Vegetables recipe.
Want something brighter and crunchier? (Perhaps to punctuate the endless parade of warm, filling fall comfort food?) This bracing salad fits the bill: apples, earthy-sweet beets, bitter radicchio, and creamy blue cheese are tossed with a cider vinegar and Dijon dressing. This works as a side but is also hearty enough to stand alone. Get our Tangy Apple and Beet Salad recipe.
The other orange vegetable that means fall to many of us is the lovely sweet potato. This easy, sweet-and-savory breakfast recipe creates super-moist muffins by using a sweet potato purée and canola oil, plus a bit of maple syrup to complement the sage-flecked breakfast sausage. Get our Sweet Potato Sausage Breakfast Muffin recipe. (Don’t skip our plainer—but perfect—Sweet Potato Biscuit recipe either, especially if you’re after a partner to soup.)
You can up the health factor of this fall favorite by using something like hulled barley or farro instead of the typical arborio rice for the creamy, decadent Italian dish, but either way, the sweet butternut squash is delightful with the golden saffron. Get the Squash and Saffron Risotto recipe.
This is a flexible recipe using yet another beloved orange vegetable, and we love that. Got a pound or so of carrots to use up? You’re in luck. Make some carrot hummus, but if you’re out of tahini, no worries. You can use almond butter. You’ll still need some garbanzo beans, and the spice comes from that Tunisian paste, harissa. Get our Spicy Carrot Hummus recipe.
Related Reading: Tips & Tricks for the Best Homemade Hummus Ever
Don’t forget about dessert—sweet potatoes are a favorite there too. This layered sweet potato pie is a nice alternative to pumpkin pie that also pleases pecan pie lovers (or enrages both camps, depending on their willingness to compromise). It’s seriously delicious, and it also has bourbon in the crust, the filling, and the topping. Get our Pecan Sweet Potato Pie recipe.
Related Reading: The Prettiest Pie Pans for Your Blue Ribbon Desserts
If you’d rather avoid any drama (or crimping pie crust), turn to one of fall’s underappreciated fruits: figs. They’re great in savory dishes, but also in desserts, like this sophisticated, sticky honey-caramel cake that’s a lot easier than (and just as good as) it looks. Get our Spiced Honey Cake with Caramelized Figs recipe.
Now, you’ll need something to wash this all down. Apple cider is an ideal autumn drink on its own (warm or cold), but it’s also a great base for a cocktail. This one combines sparkling apple cider, apple brandy, and maple liqueur with a spritz of lemon juice. Get our Log Cabin Cocktail recipe.
Like we said, apple cider is equally delicious when warm, and that’s true when it’s in cocktail form too. A cinnamon stick, honey, and lemon round out the earthy pungency of Scotch in this glow-inducing drink. Get our Smoky, Hot Apple Cider with Scotch recipe.
This is hot chocolate like you’ve never had before. It’s nuts … literally. A hazelnut liqueur like Frangelico turns even more heavenly with the best spreadable invention since peanut butter: Nutella. Get our Tipsy Hazelnut Hot Chocolate recipe and keep cozy all through fall on into winter.
And if you’re not sick of pumpkin yet, check out all the best of pumpkins on Chowhound for recipes, trivia, tips, and more.
Related Video: This Autumnal Sheet Pan Dinner Takes Just 20 Minutes
Header image by Chowhound.