The arrival of autumn makes cozy comfort foods seem more appealing than ever, but integrating more seasonal superfoods into your fall recipes can make your favorite hearty dishes way healthier. There's no better time to load up on fresh produce like apples, squash, beets, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, kale, pumpkin, and potatoes during the harvest season when they're at their peak. Using in-season fruits and veggies brings out the best flavors in these easy dinner and lunch ideas.
Our GolfHr Test Kitchen carefully develops every recipe so you don't have to sacrifice taste for nutrition. Whether you're following a vegetarian, vegan, or low-carb diet, there's something for everyone on the menu (including kid-friendly choices like a light chicken parm). Dig into these piping hot soups, fresh salads, smoky chilis, and roasted veggies guilt-free since they're all low-calorie, nutrient-dense choices. There's even slow cooker and Instant Pot ideas for the chilly nights when you want to come home to a readymade dinner. If you need more fall menu inspiration, don't miss our best pumpkin and butternut squash recipes. We also have all things Thanksgiving covered, like these vegetarian and vegan choices that every health-conscious guest will appreciate.
Get your lean protein from roasted chicken (or grab a rotisserie version from the store if you're short on time) and dig into a fresh and earthy side salad. Fennel comes packed with folate, a type of B vitamin that helps with muscle and nerve function.
Just one cup of broccoli florets contains all the vitamin C you need in a day. Grab your immersion blender to puree the veg (and just the right amount of Parmesan) for a creamy, cheesy soup under 400 calories per serving.
Acorn squash comes loaded with vitamins A and C, and it's the perfect vessel for lean turkey sausage, peppers, and onions. Whole grains like brown rice supply even more fiber.
Make sure you grab cans of pure pumpkin — not the pie filling — when you stock up on soup ingredients. A special shiitake mushroom garnish adds the finishing touch.
Adding a sprinkle of feta, golden raisins, and pine nuts to these two seasonal veggies elevates this salad from your standard lunch order.
You've tried low-carb zoodles — now use squoodles for a lighter version of your favorite pasta dish. Even with creamy half-and-half, shredded Mozzarella, and grated Parmesan, this meal rings in under 400 calories per serving. Plus, the beta-carotene, potassium, and antioxidants in spaghetti squash will help protect your immune system.
If you're experiencing a take-out craving, whip up this easy stir fry instead. A few tablespoons of miso — a fermented paste — adds both flavor and gut-boosting probiotics.
Eating more salmon can benefit your heart, brain, and blood pressure — and when it's served with wild mushrooms, sautéed kale, and a dollop of Icelandic yogurt, you're only packing in more vitamins and minerals.
One cup of bulgur contains nearly 75% of the dietary fiber you need for the day, and 25% of the protein you should get, making this stew a total whole-grain powerhouse.
If you're gluten-free, here's another option that includes antioxidant-rich berries, Swiss chard, and 100% whole grains. Crumble a little feta on top just before serving for an added flavor boost.
RELATED: How to Cook Acorn Squash
Potatoes, carrots, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, mushrooms, onion ... Every single veggie gets roasted up in the oven alongside spiced chicken for an easy sheet pan dinner.
Orange zest adds just the right amount of citrus to these fish cakes. The quinoa base also sneaks in extra protein and B vitamins.
Calling all slower cooker fans. Let this bean-filled stew simmer all day and you'll have a hearty dinner waiting for you at night. Topped with creamy avocado and fresh cilantro, it'll beat your Chipotle order by a mile.
If you end up with leftover salmon, use the fillets in a farro and arugula salad. That's two healthy dinners, done and done.
Eating more mushrooms can help protect your brain, skin, and bones as you age. This salad combines Portobellos plus heart-healthy avocados and nutrient-dense beets, plus crumbled matzo for a little extra crunch.
New kinds of noodles made with beans help you load up on fiber and protein versus your typical spaghetti. This recipe also makes extra pesto so you can spread it on your sandwich tomorrow.
RELATED: How Healthy Is Chickpea Pasta?
Yes, you can make fresh country bread part of a healthy dinner. Paired with squash, pomegranate seeds, kale, and tahani, this dish still rings in around 400 calories per serving.
If you're carving pumpkins this fall, save the seeds. You can roast your own and then sprinkle 'em on top of salads, grain bowls, and more.
Fire up the Instant Pot for a hearty soup. Lentils provide plant-based fiber and protein, while the heaping cups of spinach add in extra heart-healthy benefits.
You already knew that kale ranked high on nutritionists' lists, but one serving of the leafy green can actually supply 10% of your daily value for calcium. Combine it with apple and squash in this recipe for all of your fall favorites on one plate.
You already knew to choose lean chicken and turkey, but pork loin is also surprisingly low in saturated fat and high in protein. Pair it with red cabbage and sliced apple for an easy side.
A couscous with pistachios, apricots, and cilantro goes on top of the chickpea- and bean-based dish, so you know this vegetarian dinner will fill you right up.
The best and most addictive way to eat your veggies? In kale chip form, of course.
The supergreens in this comforting one-pot soup include celery, shallots, broccoli, and spinach — plus a little basil pesto for added flavor. Oh, and one bowl will only run you 230 calories, so go ahead and dig into a second helping.
After making berry salads all summer, sub in roasted pears for a hit of sweetness alongside the salty crumbled goat cheese.