Fall flavors are an absolute feast for the senses. There's the heady aroma of homemade apple pie in the oven, the vibrant color of a rich beet soup, and the creamy flavor of the first bite of sweet potato pasta still warm from the stovetop. If you're salivating at the thought of fall harvest, brace yourself: We've rounded up nine of the best hearty recipes that make in-season produce the hero.
Now that you've got your harvest shopping list (and know how to pick the best produce), it's time to get out the pots and pans. Here, we turn to some of our favorite foodies to share the best way to cook with the colorful, flavor-packed fruit and vegetables that are ripe and ready this fall. Turn on the oven, and let's get cooking.
Tomato and Cheddar Tart
The Hero: Tomatoes are ripe, juicy, and aromatic in October, so head to your local farmers market for heirloom and cherry varieties. A recent study from the University of Florida found that storing tomatoes in the fridge causes genetic damage and ruins the flavor, so be sure to keep them in a basket at room temperature.
The Recipe: Rich, red tomatoes almost look like a work of art atop this Tomato and Cheddar Tart With Savory Parmesan Crust from Flourishing Foodie. If you usually opt for store-bought pie crusts, boost your baking game with this relatively easy crust recipe, which has the salty bite of Parmesan cheese.
Salted Honey Apple and Gouda Toast
The Hero: It's officially apple season! Head to an orchard this weekend to pick the juicy, crisp fruit straight from the branch for your fall cooking. Search for glossy apples—those with a wax-like texture are overripe.
The Recipe: Who knew cheese on toast could be so gourmet? Half Baked Harvest's Salted Honey Apple and Gouda Toast elevates the classic comfort food with smoked cheese, fresh thyme, and gooey honey. Sprinkle with salt for a perfect sweet-savory mix.
Basil Parmesan Grilled Corn
The Hero: Corn is usually harvested from the first of October through to the end of November, making this the perfect time to include the sweet vegetable in your next dish. To avoid disappointment, check the tassels at the top of the ear. They should be brown and sticky to touch.
The Recipe: Inspired by elote, a Mexican sweet corn treat, this Basil Parmesan Grilled Corn recipe by What's Gaby Cooking is bursting with flavor. Homemade basil vinaigrette adds a tart edge, balanced with the bite of Parmesan cheese and sweet, juicy corn.
Crispy Squash Bowl With Dill Cream
The Hero: Farmers market tables are overflowing with vibrant orange squash, one of fall's most recognizable vegetables. Ensure you've chosen the best one by checking the stem. It should be intact, firm, and dry.
The Recipe: Searching for the salad equivalent of an easy midweek meal during the cooler months? This Crispy Squash Bowl With Dill Cream by The First Mess will be your new go-to. The simple bowl includes wild rice, baked squash, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds drizzled with homemade dill cashew cream.
Curried Beet Soup With Tandoori Chickpeas
The Hero: Beets are back! Opt for blemish-free vegetables with dark red or golden skin for the best flavor.
The Recipe: Got 30 minutes? That's enough time to whip up The Minimalist Baker's Curried Beet Soup With Tandoori Chickpeas. The flavorful vibrant red soup is loaded with nutrients, thanks to the fresh produce. Recipe creator Dana Shultz notes that beets are "rich in iron, fiber, folate, vitamin C, and potassium," while ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Blackberry Vanilla Custard Cheesecakey Tart
The Hero: Fall flavors aren't just savory. Blackberries take center stage in this recipe, which harnesses their natural sweet yet tart flavor. To find the best variety, skip blackberries with hulls attached—it's a sign of premature picking.
The Recipe: Expecting guests? New Zealand foodie Sarah Tuck of From the Kitchen says this Blackberry Vanilla Custard Cheesecakey Tart can be made the day before or morning of serving. Filled with oozing vanilla bean–infused cream cheese and topped with sugar-dusted blackberries, it's sure to delight.
Crispy Eggplant and Harissa Flatbread With Greens
The Hero: Eggplants are one of the key flavors that make this pizza dish perfection. To see if the vegetable is ripe, check the sheen; the skin should be glossy and deep purple.
The Recipe: Elevate your pizza game by cooking the base from scratch with this homemade Crispy Eggplant and Harissa Flatbread With Greens recipe. The recipe calls for shallots and rounds of eggplant to be baked into the dough, resulting in a delicious flatbread that's packed with flavor. The effort is well worth it.
Pomegranate Guacamole With Fried Plantain Chips
The Hero: These tiny jewel-colored gems add a burst of liquid and flavor to any fall dessert or topping. Search for pomegranates with a bright, deep skin color, which means the fruit will be sweet.
The Recipe: Upgrade your usual tailgate snacks with this Pomegranate Guacamole With Fried Plantain Chips. The recipe swaps out salty store-bought potato chips for baked plantains, which are similar to a banana. The dip is a mixture of avocados, jalapeño, feta, and pomegranate arils, resulting in a snack that tastes as good as it looks.
Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles With Cashew Sauce
The Hero: Peak sweet potato season runs from late October through December, heralding the dusty orange vegetables to farmers market stands across the country. As a rule of thumb, orange yams are sweet and moist, while the golden variety has a nutty flavor.
The Recipe: This creamy pasta might look naughty, but it's made from unexpected ingredients. The Creamy Spinach Sweet Potato Noodles recipe swaps out pasta for spiralized sweet potato and rich dairy sauce for a creamy cashew creation. Delish.