Apples, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and pears—there is so much to love about this time of year. If you’re trying to eat more seasonal fruits and vegetables, bookmark this collection of recipes and tips for selecting, storing, and cooking with fall produce.
Fall Produce Guide
Here are some of the fruits and vegetables that hit peak freshness during the fall months:
(Click a link to jump to a specific type of fall produce in this guide.)
There are many types of apples and each varies in sweetness and tartness. Try baking thinly sliced apples into chips, mixing diced pieces into oatmeal, or blending the fruit into homemade applesauce. Of course, they’re delicious all on their own, too!
If you’re slicing up an apple to use later, squeeze some lemon juice over it to prevent browning.
Apples taste great with cranberries, oats, raisins, squash, and sweet potatoes.
What’s the best way to store apples?
If you’re planning on eating your apples within a few days, you can keep them on the counter. Otherwise, stash them in your crisper drawer to slow down the ripening process. Fresh apples can last up to a month in the fridge.
apple recipes to try:
Roasted Apple and Pear Overnight Oats by Grateful Grazer
Vegan Spiced Apple Crumble by Grateful Grazer
Cinnamon Apple Crockpot Steel Cut Oats by Healthy Hobby
Chai-Spiced No-Sugar-Added Applesauce by GoWin Nutrition
Apple Pie Energy Bites by Grateful Grazer
Broccoli Apple Salad by Creamy Lemon-Tahini Dressing by Kitchen Treaty
Baked Apple Chips with Cinnamon by Vegetarian Gastronomy
Don’t be intimidated by these vibrant root vegetables. Beets are earthy and sweet with a crisp, dense texture. You can find a few different varieties, including red, golden, and Chioggia (also known as candy cane beets).
There are several different ways to prepare beets.
Try roasting, baking, boiling, sautéeing, or spiralizing. Dice beets and add them to arugula salads, pickle for a quick snack or sandwich topper, or blend them into dips. They even work for smoothies.
Fall produce tip: Reduce food waste and show your beet greens some love, too.
I like to sautée them with oil, salt, and garlic for a 5-minute healthy side dish.
Since beets are earthy and sweet, they pair well with acidic flavors like balsamic vinegar or citrus fruits. You can also combine them with apples, onions, and herbs, such as fresh mint or chives.
beet recipes to try:
Butternut Squash, Beet, & Quinoa Salad by Love & Zest
Roasted Beet Bean Dip by Grateful Grazer
Black Lentil Collard Wraps by Grateful Grazer
Wild Blueberry Beet Smoothie by Grateful Grazer
Beet Hash with Runny Eggs by The Every Kitchen
Hasselback Beets by Halsa Nutrition
During fall, you’ll start to see a few different types of winter squash pop up at the market, including acorn, butternut, and delicata.
There are lots of ways to cook winter squash.
- Mash squash and layer with veggies over crostinis
- Puree various squash varieties into soups
- Roast squash and serve over grain salads
- Stuff with everything from chickpeas and quinoa to creamy lentils
Winter squash also pairs well with apples, garlic, pecans, walnuts, red onions, and sage.
squash recipes to try:
Butternut Squash Toast by Grateful Grazer
Apple, Corn and Butternut Squash Soup with Curry by Turnip the Oven
Roasted Acorn Squash Barley Salad by Grateful Grazer
Warm Kale Salad with Delicata Squash and Pomegranate by RDelicious Kitchen
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash by Lively Table
Acorn Squash with Curried Lentils by The Foodie Dietitian
Hearty Vegan Minestrone with Butternut Squash by Grateful Grazer
Butternut Squash Soup with White Beans and Broccoli by Healthy Ideas Place
Pumpkins are technically part of the winter squash family, but they’re so quintessentially fall that I think they deserve a category all on their own.
These autumnal gems are equally delicious in sweet and savory applications. Try pumpkin in curry dishes or your morning stack of pancakes.
don’t fear the whole pumpkin.
Of course, you can always pick up a few cans of pumpkin purée at the store, but don’t be afraid to use it in its natural, whole form, too.
Fall Produce Tip: How to make fresh pumpkin puree
- Cut through the pumpkin diagonally and pull the two halves apart.
- Scoop out the seeds (make a homemade seed butter or roast them for soup and salad toppings).
- Roast the pumpkin in the oven at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, or until the flesh is softened.
- Scoop out the flesh, transfer it to a food processor, and blend until smooth.
You can store homemade pumpkin purée in the fridge for 4 weeks, or freeze it for up to a year.
If you’re not into the puree, try slicing fresh pumpkin and boiling, grilling, or steaming it until it's tender.
Fall pumpkins pair well with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. You can also try it with tomatoes, rice, white beans, pasta, or onions.
pumpkin recipes to try:
Coconut Cream Pumpkin Overnight Oats by Grateful Grazer
Pumpkin Curry with Crispy Tofu and Broccoli by Grateful Grazer
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie by Amy Gorin Nutrition
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Applesauce Bread by Family Food on the Table
Pumpkin Snack Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting by Athletic Avocado
Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup by Healthy Hobby
Pumpkin Lassi by Grateful Grazer
Fresh figs are available for a short period of time in June and then again between August and October. Act fast if you want to go beyond the dried variety this fall.
Try grilling fresh figs and tossing them over a salad, roasting them with goat cheese and honey, or simmering the fruit to cook homemade jam.
Select figs that are slightly soft with unbroken skins. You can tell if a fig is overripe if it smells sour. For the best quality, figs should typically be used within a few days of purchase. Figs can spoil quickly after being picked so it’s best to store fresh figs in your fridge and use within 2-3 days.
Pair fresh figs with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of cinnamon, crushed nuts, or fresh basil.
fig recipes to try:
Maple Tahini Fig Overnight Oats by Lively Table
Grilled Fig Quinoa Salad by Grateful Grazer
Homemade Fig Jam with Chia Seeds by Shaw Simple Swaps
The Easiest Fig and Prosciutto Naan Pizza by Nourish Nutrition
Pumpkin and Fig Smoothie by Leanne Ray Nutrition
You don't need much to make a sweet potato taste good. Roast them whole in the oven or boil them on the stovetop until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Sprinkle with a little salt and you're good to go.
You can also spiralize sweet potatoes into noodles or dice them to make a vegetable hash. (I like to eat the skins, too!) Black beans, kale, peppers, garlic, sesame seeds, and soy sauce are all good options for pairing.
Nutritionally, sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, which is the plant-derived precursor to vitamin A. They also have fiber and potassium.
sweet potato recipes to try:
7-Ingredient BBQ Tempeh Loaded Sweet Potatoes by Grateful Grazer
Sweet Potato Energy Bars by Grateful Grazer
Sweet Potato and Kale Quesadillas by The Foodie Physician
Carrot Ginger Sweet Potato Soup by Grateful Grazer
Sweet Potato and Brussels Sprout Buddha Bowl by Cheerful Choices
Sesame Sweet Potato “Noodles” with Tofu by Craving Something Healthy
Favorite Veggie Hummus Sandwiches by Grateful Grazer
Spicy Tempeh Bacon Sweet Potato Hash by Grateful Grazer
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Soup by Vegan Family Recipes
Maple-Balsamic Roasted Winter Vegetables by Healthy Ideas Place
Fresh cranberries have the power to brighten up almost any fall-inspired recipe. Everything from baked bread to blended salsa is better with a punch of this tart fruit.
Prefer dried cranberries?
You can dry your own cranberries by dehydrating or baking them at your oven’s lowest setting. (it’ll take about 8 hours from start to finish.) Dried cranberries taste great in cookies, granola, sandwiches, and even on top of a pizza.
cranberry recipes to try:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese by Grateful Grazer
Red Wine and Orange Cranberry Sauce by Tasty Balance Nutrition
Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries and Nuts by The View from Great Island
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dried Cranberries by Veggies Save the Day
Pistachio Crusted Chewy Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies by Nutrition Stripped
Mushrooms are available all year long, but they hit their seasonal peak during fall. There are thousands of different varieties, so when you're following recipes, feel free to swap in another type based on what’s available in your area.
Add sautéed mushrooms to grain bowls, mix into pasta dishes or stuff with veggies and rice.
Mushrooms pair well with rosemary, potatoes, barley, and beans.
mushroom recipes to try:
Mushroom Kale Black Bean Taco Bake by Grateful Grazer
Shiitake Mushroom Bowls with Creamy Miso Sauce by Grateful Grazer
Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing by The Foodie Dietitian
Creamy Vegan Pasta with Mushrooms and Kale by Grateful Grazer
Butternut Squash Noodles with Spinach and Mushrooms by Tasting Page
Pears go well with cheese, nuts, and leafy greens. On the sweeter side, pair fresh pears with maple syrup and warming spices like cinnamon.
Keep the skin on to maximize your fiber.
Fall Produce Tip: how to pick the perfect pear
The best way to tell if a pear is ripe is by feel.
Gently press the neck of the pear (near the stem). If it has a softer feel, it’s ripe and more likely to taste sweet.
If the fruit still feels very firm, it needs more time. Place firm pears in a brown paper bag on the countertop to speed up the ripening process.
pear recipes to try:
Raw Chai Spiced Pear Tart with Cashew Cream by The Spicy RD
Harvest Za’atar Kale Salad by Grateful Grazer
Thyme Roasted Apples & Pears by Grateful Grazer
Roasted Pears with Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce by Grateful Grazer
Pear and Walnut Oatmeal with Salted Chocolate Sauce by A Virtual Vegan
Pear, Apple & Pistachio Crumble by Nutrition Stripped
want more? download my seasonal produce guide ebook here.
Find plant-forward recipes and cooking tips for every time of year in this free Seasonal Produce Guide ebook.
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This post was originally published September 25, 2015, and was most recently updated on September 25, 2019.