Fall is officially here and that means you’ll soon to be craving some cozy comfort foods to help warm your soul.
I have always loved the fall season when the seasons start to change and the cooler temperatures begin to push us back around the dinner table and into the arms of our loved ones. The hearty scents and rich flavors of fall please my palate and warm me from the inside out. I love using simple ingredients and mixing in seasonal produce where I can to make my meals uniquely fall, and there are even a few healthy fall recipes that make my list of favorites for the season.
These easy recipes are the perfect comfort foods to fill your bellies and warm your bones this fall. From savory pumpkin dishes and comforting soups to sweet apple flavored fall desserts and more, your home will be filled with fall smells and flavors the whole family will enjoy.
My Favorite Fall Recipes
From West Africa to the American South American South, this satisfying dish is a mainstay in the Black community. That’s one of the reasons I did it for one of my Top Chef challenges; the other is that it’s so yummy. My version of this classic peanut-based dish is silky smooth, not thick and cloying, and it has a rich, spicy undertone. Enjoy it just as it is or serve it over rice for a hearty main dish that makes for the perfect fall meal.
Full recipe here: Groundnut Stew (carlahall.com)
When I moved up north, I was so confused by cobbler. Every time I ordered it, I’d get this thing with drops of biscuit dough or some sort of cakey batter baked on top of fruit. That’s certainly not the cobbler I knew in Granny’s kitchen. Granny, and many Southern home cooks like her, did peach cobbler with a pie crust on top and bottom. It’s not the same as a double crust pie because the sides are open to let the juices run all over.
I keep the spirit of Granny’s with a buttery crust, but now I bake the bottom crust before adding the filling to keep it crisp. And instead of stovetop simmering the fruit to a jammy state, I roast them to intensify their sweetness while keeping the shapes of the slices. Aside from those little touches, this is a taste of a true Southern cobbler.
Full recipe here: Peach Cobbler (carlahall.com)
Roasted Pumpkin Scones
These pumpkin scones are a little different from my traditional scone recipe; people often wonder what’s the difference between scones and biscuits, and the main difference is that scones generally have eggs added to the dough, giving them a rich, cake-y texture. However, the mashed pumpkin is so moist that eggs aren’t needed, and the bits of candied ginger adds little sweet-spicy pockets of flavor in every bite. You don’t even need butter or jam on these beauties!
It’s true that you can buy canned pumpkin purée — and that’s perfectly fine — but there’s a really nice flavor that comes from roasting the pumpkin, so I think it’s worth the extra step and I hope you’ll give it a try!
Full recipe here: Roasted Pumpkin Scones (carlahall.com)
Apple Pie Cups
Apples are in this time of year and, if you love going apple picking, these apple cups are a fun way to use up all of that fresh picked produce. They’re basically fun, little apple pies inside of an apple.
Looking to wow your guests at your next fall party? These will do it!
Full recipe here: Apple Pie Cups (carlahall.com)
Creamy Mushroom Soup
Braising mushrooms and onions in oat milk provides an opportunity to create a richly nuanced plant based version of traditional cream of mushroom soup. And if you’ve never had Shiitake Bacon before, prepare to get addicted thanks to this simple recipe!
Full recipe here: Creamy Mushroom Soup with Shiitake Bacon (carlahall.com)
Cornmeal Apple Crumble Skillet
I don’t know what it is about desserts made in a skillet, but they are just extra fun.
This one is rich in juicy Granny Smith apple goodness and golden raisins. It’s topped with moist cornmeal dumplings and sour cream whipped cream. It’s the perfect follow-up to whatever main course you have planned.
Full recipe here: Cornmeal Apple Crumble Skillet (carlahall.com)
Butternut Squash Cornmeal Waffles
Butternut squash has a rich flavor, toeing the line between sweet and savory, lending itself to both breakfast and dinner. It also happens to be packed with vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, making it a great ingredient to hide into a breakfast treat.
For these waffles, I’ve added cornmeal for a little added texture and nutrition, along with a dash of ginger and cinnamon, then topped it all off with a drizzle of orange blossom honey to heighten the spicy warmth.
Full recipe here: Butternut Squash Cornmeal Waffles (carlahall.com)
Baked Apple Donuts
Now, before you start telling me that donuts (or doughnuts, whichever you prefer) are meant to be fried, not baked, I’m just going to have to say: try these donuts. First of all, they are a classic cake donut, so they actually lend themselves really well to being baked, and secondly, you will love being able to whip them up in about 30 minutes from start to finish.
Full recipe here: Baked Apple Donuts (carlahall.com)
Butternut Squash with Coconut Sauce
Two cultures connect in this dish. When I tasted the Italian-inspired Roasted Garlic and Chile Butternut Squash, I realized that those basic flavors could work in many different cultures. I decided to go Thai because I love the flavors of that cuisine. The coconut sauce here is simply spooned over the squash and would taste awesome on other vegetables, such as green beans and sweet potatoes.
Full recipe here: Butternut Squash with Coconut Sauce (carlahall.com)
Cornbread and Oyster Dressing
Generally, in the South, we say “dressing” instead of “stuffing”, but otherwise, the two terms are interchangeable. Make the cornbread ahead of time — you can even freeze the cubes until you’re ready to make the dish. It’s a great accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dinner, with plenty of rich flavor — sure to impress your guests!
Full recipe here: Cornbread and Oyster Dressing (carlahall.com)
Collards with Turkey Kielbasa
If you think of collard greens as something that needs to be cooked to death for hours and hours, then think again. These collards are ready in a little more than an hour, perfectly tender with just the right amount of bite. The secret is in cutting them into a chiffonade, which means that the leaves are rolled up tight and then cut into thin strips — and don’t strip out the stems as some folks might tell you to do; they add more contrasting texture to the dish that, when combined with the kielbasa, helps to make this a great one-pot meal. Even better, it tastes even more delicious the next day!
Full recipe here: Collards with Turkey Kielbasa (carlahall.com)
Caramel and Peanut Popcorn Balls
A mixture of molasses, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract makes these popcorn balls full of carmel, sticky goodness. The white chocolate drizzle on top is the perfect way to finish this fun fall treat.
Full recipe here: Caramel and Peanut Popcorn Balls (carlahall.com)
Sweet Potato Bread with Toasted Marshmallow Topping
Sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows are a Thanksgiving favorite, so I’ve reimagined it here as a tasty tea bread. The bread is a little tangy from the Greek yogurt and lemon zest, so as to provide a balance for the sweet marshmallow topping — and it’s just as delicious served plain or with a simple lemon glaze.
Full recipe here: Sweet Potato Bread with Toasted Marshmallow Topping (carlahall.com)
Candied Sweet Potatoes
This is my rustic take on an old favorite, making it the perfect addition to your side dishes for any holiday table. Wash the sweet potatoes well and leave the skins on to add both texture and color (and to make this a time saver with minimal effort). Roasting the potatoes first adds a rich flavor to the dish, with the added bonus that you can roast the potatoes a day ahead and then slice them when you are ready to assemble the casserole. I like to make this with butter, but it’s equally delicious with olive oil if you’re looking to reduce the amount of fat or make a vegan-friendly dish for guests.
Full recipe here: Candied Sweet Potatoes (carlahall.com)
Baked Apple Breakfast Parfait
Baked apples are one of my favorite desserts when the colder weather sets in — sweet and warm, they can be truly satisfying on a cool day. For this version, I’ve reimagined this traditional dessert as a breakfast dish, slicing the baked apple and then layering it with Greek yogurt, amaranth, and toasted coconut.
Full recipe here: Baked Apple Breakfast Parfait (carlahall.com)