Beyond Pumpkin: How to Celebrate Fall's Best Produce

Here are some of the season’s best assets, plus ideas for incorporating them into healthy fall meals.
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Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

We’re now officially a couple of weeks into fall, and pumpkins are everywhere — stacked up outside grocery stores and in pumpkin-spice everything. But there’s a lot more fall produce you should be excited about. Here are some of the season’s best assets, plus ideas for incorporating them into healthy fall meals.

The Squash Family

Pumpkin’s cousins are usually much easier to break down and cook with — no need to resort to a can. The versatile butternut is an all-star in soup, but we also love it in a hearty squash-and-spinach lasagna (pictured above).

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SquashBreadSalad_017.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Christopher Testani

Christopher Testani

Acorn squash is the perfect shape to act as the vessel for individually portioned meals like this tofu-stuffed acorn squash.

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Food Stylist: Susan Spungen Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver ,Food Stylist: Susan SpungenProp Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

Kabocha, which looks like a small green pumpkin, is super-sweet and slices nicely for easy sides like spiced squash with yogurt dressing.

Spaghetti squash was the original faux pasta before spiralizers entered our lives. Scoop out the naturally noodle-like strands and toss with your favorite sauce, like this fragrant curry.

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08_Oktoberfest_CeleryRootCarrots_007.tif

Food Stylist: Susan Spungen Prop Stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver

Photo by: Con Poulos

Con Poulos

Celery Root

This creamy root vegetable has a rough exterior but a mild, sweet celery flavor that’s worth the peeling hassle. Also called celeriac, celery root is crunchy and refreshing sliced thin and served raw in salad, and it can also fill in for potato in pretty much any preparation. Try roasting chunks of it with carrots until caramelized, or simmer until fork-tender and mash as you would any spud.

Sweet Potato

These nutrient-rich potatoes are awesome in both sweet and savory dishes. If you’re already sick of swirling pureed pumpkin into everything, try sweet potato as an alternative in fall-flavored waffles, pancakes and muffins. Use them in side dishes like mashed sweet potatoes kicked up with chipotles, or a spicy quinoa salad, or stuff them with beef to justify a main course.

Food Network Kitchen's Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce for Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Cauliflower

In the past few years, this cruciferous vegetable has proven its versatility. It can stand in for rice, mashed potatoes, even Buffalo wings! Pick up a head of cauliflower and the options are endless. Try baked cauliflower tots or roasted cauliflower steaks, or use it to bulk up a pasta dish like mac and cheese or lasagna.

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Weekend Curdite Salad on a light green plate

©Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

Food Styling - Jamie Kimm Prop Styling - Marcus Hay

Apples

Apples are at their best in the fall, and the sweet, crunchy fruits are not just for dessert or snacking. Puree them with butternut squash for a lovely soup, toss them with beets for a salad or cook them with onions and cider vinegar to serve alongside pork chops. Of course, you can always also make muffins.

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FNK_PEAR_PISTACHIO_GUCAMOLE_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Pears

Like their apple cousins, pears work beautifully in savory dishes and pair especially well with strong cheeses like blue cheese. Try the pairing in a fresh salad, or layer slices with Gorgonzola on toasts for a super-simple appetizer. You can also add pears to the beloved avocado dip for a nice crunch and hint of sweetness.

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