6 Seasonal Side Dishes That Serve Up the Autumn Harvest

We’re told time and time again to eat according to the seasons, but that’s easier said than done. The bounty at the farmer’s market is no doubt alluring, but it’s also intimidating. The beets are beautiful, the pumpkins are eye-catching, and the sheer size of the squash is awe-inspiring, but preparing said fruits and vegetables is a different story — thankfully there are simple recipe solutions. We rounded up 6 side dish recipes found around the web that will help you take advantage of the fall harvest. These dishes are bright, healthy, and delicious, and they’ll be sure to keep you in the fall spirit.

Acorn Squash cut in half

Source: iStock

1. Roasted Acorn Squash Bowls with Quinoa and Pecan Stuffing

First up, we’re tackling the squash – acorn squash, in particular. We’ll get to butternut later on in our list. Most people have tried acorn squash at some point in their lives, but the question is: Have they tried using them as bowls? These Roasted Acorn Squash Bowls with Quinoa and Pecan Stuffing from Almonds & Avocados are surprisingly easy, and will no doubt impress any and all dinner guests. All you have to do is roast your squash, prepare your stuffing, and then combine forces. This sweet dish will surprise you – and save you from washing dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small acorn squashes
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • sea salt and pepper for sprinkling
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 leek, sliced in half and then sliced in half-rounds
  • 3-4 tablespoons diced parsley
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • pinch of red chili pepper flakes

Directions: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice your acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Rub coconut oil inside the squash and sprinkle salt and pepper.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lie the acorn halves cut side down on the parchment and place in the oven to bake for 45 minutes. The squash is ready when you can easily prick it with a fork.

To prepare the stuffing, bring 2 cups of water to a light boil. Add the quinoa and turn the temperature down to low. Cover with a lid and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all the water. Then, set aside quinoa to cool.

Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and saute, stirring often. Continue this for 5 minutes. Add the quinoa and saute for a couple more minutes before removing quinoa from heat. Add in the parsley, pecans, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and stir everything together. Spoon the stuffing mixture into your roasted acorn squash bowls and enjoy.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary

Next up on our list are fries – parsnip fries, to be exact. Yes, they’re delicious and nutritious, and this recipe for Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary comes from Bon Appétit. Parsnips may look intimidating at the farmer’s market, but they’re actually surprisingly easy to handle, and you can just think of them as a riff on carrots. To prepare your parsnips, all you simply have to do is clean, peel, and cut them, and after that, toss them with seasonings and oil, and you’re good to roast. Say hello to these healthy fries you can overindulge in.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds parsnips or carrots, peeled, cut into about 3x½-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, plus 5 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon (or more) ground cumin

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, and oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer. Scatter rosemary sprigs over. Roast for 10 minutes; turn parsnips and roast until parsnips are tender and browned in spots, 10–15 minutes longer. Crumble leaves from rosemary sprigs over; discard stems and toss to coat. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon cumin over. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cumin, if desired.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Maple Cinnamon Glazed Root Vegetables

Our No. 3 recipe from Eat Live Run provides an easy recipe that will help you take advantage of all the beautiful root vegetables currently available. Beets, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips – they’re all the stars of the show at the farmer’s market, and this recipe enlists all of them, plus maple syrup. These Maple Cinnamon Glazed Root Vegetables are the perfect thing to serve as a side dish at Thanksgiving or any normal weeknight meal. Thanks to the maple syrup, they taste deceivingly decadent, but they’re actually quite healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 beets, peeled and diced
  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss veggies in the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Roast vegetables for 35-40 minutes, until tender. Toss 2-3 times while roasting. During the final five minutes of cooking time, combine the maple syrup, butter, cinnamon, and another pinch of salt in a small saucepot. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Pour glaze over hot vegetables as soon as they come out of the oven. Serve immediately.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Creamed Collards

Back to the green, we come to this Creamed Collards recipe from Real Simple. Thanks to a little heavy cream, everyone can like the greens, and even ask for seconds of this seasonal side dish. As this recipe requires only four ingredients, you really have no excuse not to pick up the fresh collards at the grocery store or farmer’s stand and get to work. Navigating the seasons is most fun when you’re eating according to them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 bunches collard greens, stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

Directions: Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add as many collard greens as will fit, season with ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, tossing frequently and adding more greens when there is room, until wilted, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the cream sauce and toss to combine.

Baked Butternut Squash

Source: iStock

5. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Here’s a simple way to prepare butternut squash from the Barefoot Contessa. Throw it on a salad with cranberries, pecans, and cheese and you have a fresh and mouth-watering side dish. Oh, and don’t forget about the warm cider vinaigrette, because that’s the star of the show, too. Follow this recipe and you’ll have some squash converts on your hands in no time. Good thing it’s in season and therefore cheap!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (1½-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch diced
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • ½ cup walnut halves, toasted
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about ¼ cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Stirring, rice, vegetables, pan, cooking

Source: iStock

6. Lemony Rice Salad with Carrots and Radishes

This last recipe comes from Cooking Light and will use up all the carrots and radishes from your farmer’s market haul, and appease your picky eaters thanks to the carbs. This Lemony Rice Salad with Carrots and Radishes is the perfect fall side dish to serve at Sunday supper, or on a cool, crisp weekday night. Its prep couldn’t be easier, and all you have to cook is the rice, so gather your carbs, raisins, walnuts, carrots, and parsnips, and start combining. Happy November!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked long-grain rice
  • ¾ cup shredded carrot
  • ¾ cup shredded radish
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions: Combine the first seven ingredients in a small bowl. Combine rice and remaining ingredients; drizzle with lemon mixture, and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: