Autumn always feels bittersweet. The beloved long days of summer begin to drift away, and even though that’s sad, the coming of brisk weather and warm sweaters is an exciting change, too. As we adapt to the weather, we also grapple with complicated emotions surrounding all of the rich food. We want to eat everything, of course—the pies, the candy, the cider doughnuts, the turkey—but we also know that we shouldn’t indulge too much. For the days when we need to be more mindful of what we eat, these 10 low-carb fall recipes should come in handy.
We chose recipes based on their fall flavors and heightened coziness, like a crispy squash bowl with dill cream and an herb and garlic root vegetable crumble, but we also picked them out because they pack a lot of flavor without a hearty serving of guilt. There’s salmon with a pomegranate glaze alongside a crockpot chili, as well as zucchini lasagna roll-ups and a mushroom soba noodle soup—all of which are easy to put together for any occasion. Hopefully, these picks can help balance out the season’s higher-caloric fare with lighter and cleaner options so that those bittersweet feelings toward the season’s eats don’t have to last too long.
Italian Sausage and Orzo Soup
What Makes It Good: It’ll be hard to stop yourself from comparing the colorful items in this recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron from the changing leaves outside. Its namesake ingredients are mixed with bell peppers, spinach, carrots, and celery for layers of flavor that happen to be eye-catching, too.
Don’t Forget… “Once the sausage is cooked through and onion is tender, add in the broth, both cans of tomatoes, sliced carrots, sliced celery, diced red potatoes, and chopped bell pepper,” she notes.
Miso Mushroom Soba Noodle Soup
What Makes It Good: Just try not to smile after tasting in this offering from Stuck in the Kitchen, which features dried mushrooms, sliced ginger, cubed tofu, spring onions, and miso paste for a light but intricate flavor. It’ll be especially satisfying as a quick weeknight meal.
Don’t Forget… “Put the dried mushrooms and ginger in a bowl and top with the boiling water,” Sarah Tuck notes. “Allow this to steep and reconstitute the mushrooms for 20 minutes.”
Herb and Garlic Root Vegetable Crumble
What Makes It Good: The First Mess isn’t messing around when it comes to this quick and satisfying recipe. It has all the makings of an autumn meal staple, like sweet potatoes, carrots, shallots, and sage, plus a crumble featuring rolled oats and chopped rosemary.
Don’t Forget… “Bake the crumble for 40 to 45 minutes, until the topping is browned and the vegetables are tender,” Laura Wright explains. “If the topping is browning a little too fast, cover the dish with a piece of foil.”
Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups
What Makes It Good: A cool night in may inspire you to make this recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats—thanks to a warm serving of ground beef mixed with ricotta, zucchini, herbs, and mozzarella—but we don’t think you need too much of an excuse. After all, once you taste this, you’ll want it every night.
Don’t Forget… “When putting these together, I literally lined seven or eight zucchini slices up, smeared them with the cheese mixture and then rolled them,” Krista Rollins says. “It’s super easy.”
Roast Side of Salmon With Pomegranate Glaze
What Makes It Good: Leave it to Stuck in the Kitchen to create another beautiful meal in this recipe for glazed salmon. It’s made with finely sliced red onions, lightly crushed cumin seeds, crushed garlic cloves, and the aforementioned skin-on salmon and pomegranate molasses.
Don’t Forget… “Carefully remove the salmon from the brine and pat dry,” Tuck notes. “Lay, skin-side down, on the baking paper. Brush the pomegranate molasses mixture over the salmon flesh. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes—I did 15 minutes for my whopper, but if your salmon is smaller, stick to 12 minutes or less. You really don’t want to over-cook it!”
Crispy Squash Bowl With Dill Cream
What Makes It Good: This other autumn-approved recipe from The First Mess, which was adapted from Nutrition Stripped, has those title ingredients mixed with the likes of cashews, garlic, sea salt, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Wright recommends serving it with wild or brown rice, sesame seeds, and capers to finish things off.
Don’t Forget… “Blend the cashew mixture on high until completely velvety and smooth,” Wright says. “Scrape the cream into a glass jar and set aside.”
Crockpot Paleo Chili
What Makes It Good: Nothing is more satisfying on a classic fall day than a bowl of chili, and this recipe from The Modern Proper makes it happen on a low-carb basis. It starts with chuck roast and ground beef, and thanks to diced zucchini, bell peppers, avocado, cilantro, and green onions, it turns into a meal you’ll want to make again and again.
Don’t Forget… “Place the browned chuck roast and ground beef in your slow cooker along with all other ingredients and cook for four hours on high, or eight hours on low,” Natalie Mortimer says.
Garlic Herb Chicken and Asparagus
What Makes It Good: The ease of this recipe from Creme de la Crumb makes it ideal for any situation, from a quick weeknight feast to a casual dinner party. All it takes is 20 minutes to toss together the namesake ingredients with minced garlic, dried basil, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
Don’t Forget… “You want to scoot all the chicken to the side and let it keep cooking while you cook your asparagus in the empty part of the pan with a tad more butter,” Tiffany Azure says.
Instant Pot Chili With Chicken and Beans
What Makes It Good: This recipe from The Butter Half happens to make the slow-roasted taste of chili come together with the help of an Instant Pot. Chopped onion, coconut sugar, kidney beans, and tomato sauce make for a traditional flavor that requires little effort to re-create.
Don’t Forget… “Shred chicken with two forks as needed,” Abbey Rodriguez says. “The chili will be somewhat liquid. To thicken, press the ‘saute’ button, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This will help reduce the liquid.”
Cauliflower Steak Pepperoni Pizza
What Makes It Good: If you’re having a binge-watching session this fall, you should whip up this recipe from Joyful Healthy Eats to go with it. It comes together with two heads of cauliflower, garlic powder, shredded mozzarella, and marinara sauce for a delicious dinner that suits the occasion.
Place prepared cauliflower steak pizzas under the broiler, until cheese is melted and pepperoni is crispy,” Rollins says.