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5 Healthy Autumn Recipes to Fall For [+1 Bonus]

by Albert Lee Appliance

The arrival of autumn's cooler temperatures makes cozy comfort food taste even better. Integrating fresh, seasonal ingredients into your fall recipes makes your favorite dishes tasty and healthy. Swap out the fatty, calorie-riddled ingredients with supercharged seasonal produce like apples, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, and cranberries when they’re at their peak in the harvest season.

Summer produce may receive the most attention, but as soon as the first leaf drops and fall arrives, that’s when fresh, seasonal eating gets good. The cooler weather sees the return of all kinds of fruits and veggies that can’t withstand the summer heat, so there are plenty of ingredients to choose from for all your cold-weather cuisine.

You get to have more fun during mealtimes with piping hot stews and soups, smoky chilis, roasted chicken and veggies, and all your rib-sticking Turkey Day favorites. Whether it’s the chilly temperatures or the intense flavor of fall weather food, this is usually when we all start to overeat. This is why it’s important to make sure all the hearty fall foods that you eat are still healthy. It's easy to gorge yourself on a pan of cheesy lasagna, but you probably won’t feel great afterward (and you might lose a button on your pants).

These healthy autumn recipes are developed so you can enjoy your fall weather cravings in a nutritious and properly balanced meal without sacrificing taste. You can dig in and clear your plate knowing you’re eating something fresh and wholesome—from soul-warming casseroles to bountiful stuffings to herbaceous salads, these recipes are made with smart ingredients to keep them healthy and keep you happy.

1. Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you’re ready to fall for healthy seasonal eating, squash is a great place to bring your favorite fall flavors together for a quick and tasty meal. The fall season introduces every kind of squash variety—spaghetti, butternut, acorn, you name it. While butternut squash always seems to be the star of the season,  acorn squash is the star of this recipe. Acorn squash makes for a great healthy side dish or entrée, as it comes loaded with vitamins A and C, and it acts as the perfect vessel for any type of filling. This recipe features Italian sausage, onions, garlic, kale, and farro as the grain. You can substitute for any kind of grain or protein to suit your tastebuds; just be sure it will still complement the flavor profile of the squash.

You'll want to cut the acorn squash in half—this will provide the hollow, bowl-shape needed to act as your serving dish. After your squash has roasted in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, your grain has fully cooked, and your filling is ready to serve, scoop all your ingredients on top of the squash.

Once the finished product is ready to eat, put the squash back in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes on broil so the tops are nice and golden and the filling is perfectly warm. And the best part is, when you're all done, you have a delicious edible squash bowl to enjoy. That's two meals for the price of one!

2. Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet potatoes make the best fall side dish and when combined with a fresh autumn salad—forget about it! This recipe for sweet potato salad can be enjoyed warm right out of the oven, or at room temperature. It's a bright and vibrant fall salad featuring sweet potatoes, red onion, dried cranberries, crumbled feta, chopped parsley, and a homemade dressing made from apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, cumin, paprika, and extra-virgin olive oil.  

Once the potatoes have fully baked, be sure to let them cool for about 10 minutes before assembling the salad. Transfer the diced potatoes into a large bowl and toss with the dressing. Then, add in your cranberry and feta toppings and you’re ready to eat.

And if you’re serving this salad as a dish for your Thanksgiving menu, you can bulk it up with some leafy greens like baby spinach, add some turkey and cook it on a skillet to make a holiday hash, or top it with a fried egg to make the perfect harvest brunch.

3. Harvest Chicken Casserole

This recipe is proof that comfort food doesn't have to be unhealthy—this satisfying fall recipe for  harvest chicken casserole features all your favorite fall flavors in a lean, low-calorie casserole.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to the pan, season your chicken breasts, and add chicken to the skillet to cook for eight minutes per side. After the chicken has had time to rest, cut into one-inch pieces.  

While the chicken is resting, you can begin cooking the casserole filling—onion, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic, thyme, paprika, and cumin. Add half a cup of chicken broth and bring the ingredients to a simmer, leaving the pan covered. Once your rice is cooked, place in a large casserole tray and start layering in the slices of chicken. Stir in all your cooked veggies, any remaining broth, and dried cranberries. Top with sliced almonds or walnuts for a nice crunchy texture and bake for 15-18 minutes until the dish is warm and toasty.

This is a great autumn recipe you can prepare for a big crowd or pack up after dinner and enjoy as leftovers the next day for lunch—it's a harvest meal prep dream.

4. Cauliflower Stuffing

If you’re looking for a vegetarian recipe for autumn, cauliflower takes the place of bread in this low-carb stuffing. Stuffing is usually the side dish that fuels the most debate during the holidays—either you love it or you hate it. Regardless of your stance on stuffing, it is best served during the fall and the holiday season. If you enjoy the tradition this holiday staple brings but can’t handle all the bread, this healthy fall recipe is for you.

While cauliflower is a trendy vegetable, it can also be a great seasonal veggie to help limit the carbs and calories in your favorite fall cuisine. If you plan to go-low carb, from a flavor perspective, it would not be wise to go low-fat as well. To keep cauliflower stuffing rich and tender, it needs fat to keep it from binding up. Four tablespoons of butter should do the trick here, or four tablespoons of coconut oil if you’re on a vegan diet.

Like any classic stuffing recipe, you want to build your base by sautéing mirepoix, onion, celery, and carrot—which, when mixed with herbs like rosemary and sage, gives off that Thanksgiving aroma and adds an earthy note to your dish. Cauliflower will absorb the flavor of any ingredient you cook with it, so don’t skimp on the fresh herbs. Once everything cooks down, add in the cauliflower and some mushrooms to increase the depth of flavor.

The last step is to let it simmer—pour vegetable broth over the entire thing and cook for 10 minutes until totally tender and liquid is absorbed. And if you like a crispy top layer, broil the stuffing for 2 to 5 minutes after it finishes cooking on the stove.

5. Apple Cider Glazed Chicken

When you think of the fall season, if hot apple cider isn’t one of the first things to cross your mind, then you must still be stuck in the dog days of summer! If you need the perfect autumn chicken recipe for fall, chicken thighs are full of flavor, easy to cook, and taste great alongside sweet potatoes and apples.

Add some rosemary to the potato and apple mixture and stir with olive oil. In a large skillet, sear your chicken thighs skin side down until golden brown. Once you take those off the heat, prepare the glaze and combine apple cider, honey, grainy mustard, butter, and more rosemary.

Once that’s complete, you can return the chicken to the skillet skin side up, scatter the potato mixture around the chicken, and transfer to the oven. After about 20 minutes, you’ll be ready to serve—just don’t forget the pan drippings.

Bonus: Pumpkin Overload

Leave the pineapple debate in the past—the real question is, why we haven't thought to use pumpkin on our pizza until now? Say “so long” to traditional tomato sauce and use a canned pumpkin purée as the base of this pie. This simple five-ingredient pumpkin pizza features gouda cheese, caramelized onions, minced garlic, yellow onion, and plenty of the pumpkin puree. Add chopped parsley and crushed red pepper flakes for extra flavor, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate vegetarian fall pizza recipe that is worth ditching delivery over.  

And when you need a rich and hearty meal to warm you up on a cold fall night, there’s nothing better than a big bowl of chili. If you want your flavors to match the season, all you do is add pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice to your regular chili recipe for a festive bowl of Pumpkin Chili. This way, you’ll get a spoonful of fall in every delicious bite. *Cornbread still encouraged.*

Hunger for Savings

Take a bite out of these healthy autumn recipes and take a bite out of our appliance savings. The fall holidays aren’t just a great time for food, they’re a great time to shop for kitchen appliance discounts. If you’ve got a hunger for these fall recipes and need to upgrade your kitchen to prepare your holiday menu, give us a call or visit us at Albert Lee to shop our entire line of kitchen appliances and cooking accessories. We've got everything you need to satisfy your style and your appetite.