Every year, fall signals its arrival with the first morning of crisp air and the changing of leaves from a fresh green to a collage of reds, oranges and yellows. Apple picking, squash soup and pumpkin-spiced everything remind you that it is indeed autumn, and the instinctual need to make every part of your life cozy kicks in. A chunky cable-knit sweater and steaming mug of spiced cider are the perfect companions for this season, made even cozier by comfort food recipes for hearty crockpot soups or homemade casseroles.
At Cratejoy, we're invested in good food, from the meals we eat to the food subscription boxes we sell. And because life is busy, we all need easy recipes for low-maintenance weeknight meals that don’t sacrifice mouthwatering flavor. Here are 15 quick and cozy dinner recipes you can try out this fall.
Seasonal Foods Best for Fall Recipes
Quality flavor starts with the use of seasonal foods. At their freshest during this time of year, seasonal veggies, herbs, and other delicious items create the ideal foundation for a flavorful and filling meal. An array of options exists beyond carrots and mashed potatoes, meaning more dinner ideas for you.
Start with root vegetables that include squash, sweet potatoes and carrots, which are versatile and therefore make an appearance in many fall recipes. The flexibility of vegetables like butternut squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes means they can often be exchanged for one another, depending on the recipe.
Other seasonal foods include eggplant, beans, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., Brussels sprouts, cabbage) and greens like spinach, kale and chard. As you stock the pantry and refrigerator, remember to include fresh herbs such as ginger, rosemary and thyme. The fall season may limit your ability to find fresh herbs. Check out SpiceBreeze for freshly ground pure spices and recipes that will move you from summer BBQs to fall stews in a "Spicebreeze."
Your pantry is stocked. The aroma of pumpkin, apple and cinnamon potpourri lofts through the air. Your chunky sweater is on standby. Let the cozy begin.
15 Quick and Cozy Fall Recipes to Add to Your Weekly Lineup
The pesto and stir-fry recipes with summer-fresh ingredients may be long behind you, but fall offers a cornucopia of hearty and cozy cuisine. Several seasonal items, such as squash and onions, have a decent storage lifespan, allowing you to keep staples on hand for last-minute meals. Many fall recipes can be easily adjusted to your tastes or to what ingredients you have on hand. Let versatility be your friend!
Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup from Brit + Co.
Fresh herbs are among the ingredients that make this cozy soup recipe both flavorful and healthy. A soup loved for its soothing qualities, this version substitutes the slow-cooker for the stovetop, allowing you to appreciate not only the taste but the convenience.
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs from The Spruce Eats
Five simple ingredients will get you on your way to savoring a pasta dish fit for any weeknight. A twist to the traditional spaghetti and meatballs, baking the ingredients adds just the right amount of comfort for a fall evening.
Chicken Pot Pie with Cheese Biscuit Topping from The Spruce Eats
A casserole that guarantees you won’t go hungry, this chicken pot pie recipe adds cheese biscuits in place of the typical pastry topping. Other ingredients of this rich and nourishing dinner recipe include onion, celery, chicken stock and heavy cream.
Pumpkin Harvest Beef Stew from Taste of Home
What says fall more than pumpkin and harvest? Add beef stew and you have a nourishing meal that tastes as cozy as it sounds. Out of pumpkin? Substitute another seasonal staple—sweet potato.
Perfect Spinach Lasagna from The Spruce Eats
Enjoy the health benefits of spinach with this alternative to meat-based lasagna. Layers of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan create a cheesy blend of ooey-gooey goodness the whole family will appreciate.
Paleo Shepherd’s Pie from Brit + Co.
This shepherd’s pie recipe is a healthier version of the classic and full of nutritional veggies. As a paleo-style meal, the traditional potato topping is replaced with mashed cauliflower, reducing the carbs (yay!).
Slow-cooker pot roast from Taste of Home
Pot roast tops many comfort-food lists, and rightly so. Worcestershire sauce and gravy made from the cooking juices add a just-right level of yummy to an easy add-and-go meal.
Vegan Portuguese Kale Soup from Brit + Co.
Vegans can enjoy comfort food too! Another plant-based and hearty soup option, kale, cabbage and beans create a satisfying base for this healthy recipe.
Pro tip? Cap off your meal with a vegan dessert with the help of Whisk Takers. They offer a vegan baking kit option with easy-to-follow instructions.
Chicken Enchilada Bake from Taste of Home
Move over, Taco Tuesday, and make room for this five-ingredient-one-dish wonder. A blend of ingredient favorites like Monterrey cheese, tortillas and sour cream, the chicken enchilada bake casserole may be delicious enough to be part of your weekly rotation.
Slow-Cooker Chili with Ground Beef from The Spruce Eats
Slow-cooker chili with ground beef is a traditional take on a hearty meal that is perfect for a chilly autumn night. A difficult-to-ruin recipe, adjust the ingredients and spice to your liking and add a pinch of cheddar cheese or dollop of goat cheese for an extra zing.
Momma’s Turkey Stew with Dumplings from Taste of Home
Comfort is not only in the title of this recipe, but in the warmth of ingredients like turkey, potatoes and carrots. The addition of dumplings puts this stew over the top for coziness and perfect for a weeknight dinner at home.
Apple Cider Pork Chops from Taste of Home
A blend of savory and sweet, this recipe incorporates another fall favorite—apple. Ingredients like apple cider, apple pie spice and honey balance the pork for a wholesome main dish.
Beef and Black Bean Spaghetti Squash from Taste of Home
Look beyond the marinara and meatballs and take advantage of the versatility of spaghetti squash. A healthy recipe option, hot sauce and Greek yogurt are among the ingredients of this belly-filling recipe.
Hearty Quinoa and Corn Chowder from Taste of Home
Who says a plant-based recipe isn’t hearty? Quinoa, corn, sweet red peppers and fresh herbs create a satisfying chowder for plant and meat-eaters alike.
Baked Vegan Ziti from Brit + Co.
Skip the stove top for a one-dish pasta recipe that offers all the flavor with limited cleanup. Not a fan of ziti? Not a problem. Substitute with a pasta like rigatoni and learn a new alternative for cooking pasta.
The recipes above highlight the savory season of fall, but if you’re not Rachael Ray-ready and desire some assistance in the kitchen before going it alone with a recipe, Farm to People offers fresh ingredients from local makers, sauces and the recipes for your culinary creations. Either way, skip the takeout for a fresh and seasonal meal!