Falling for the Flavors of Fall

By Michelle Mamis, RD, LDN
Bariatric dietitian at BIDMC

open faced roasted pumpkinsFall is here, which means pumpkin-spiced everything and autumn fruits. Not only does fall provide us with cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage, but it is also full of wonderful seasonal produce. While most people think about summer as the best time of year for produce, there are many seasonal options in the fall with a variety of preparation methods. Check out some popular choices below as well as tasty fall recipes to try!


  • Popular varieties include honey crisp (great for eating and adding to salads), golden delicious (great for eating, adding to salads and baking), empire (great for eating and making apple sauce), granny smith (great for eating, cooking and baking).
  • Rich in vitamin C and some B vitamins as well as fiber.
  • Tips for picking*: Look for firm, vibrantly colored apples with no bruises. Skins should be tight and smooth.


  • Popular varieties include Bartlett (great for eating and canning), Anjou (great for eating and cooking) and Bosc (great for baking and cooking).
  • Rich vitamin C and some B vitamins as well as fiber.
  • Tips for picking*: Test for ripeness by applying light thumb pressure near the pear's stem. If it is ripe, there will be a slight give.


  • Popular varieties for cooking/eating purposes include sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins.
  • Rich in vitamins A, C, E, some B vitamins as well as potassium, and pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, fiber and heart healthy fats as well as zinc and magnesium.
  • Tips for picking*: Look for pumpkins that are small, about 5 to 8 pounds, with tough skin.

Winter Squash

  • Popular varieties include acorn, butternut and spaghetti.
  • Rich in Vitamins A and C as well as some B vitamins.
  • Tips for picking*: The tastiest winter squashes will be solid and heavy with stems that are full, firm, and have a corky feel. The skin of the squash should be deeply colored with a matte finish. Avoid squash with cracks, soft spots, and moldy areas.

Brussels Sprouts

  • Rich in Vitamins A, C and some B Vitamins as well as fiber.
  • Can be shredded raw and added to salads or cooked via sautéing or roasting.
  • Tips for picking*: Look for small, firm sprouts with compact, bright-green heads—the smaller the head, the sweeter the taste. Avoid soft, wilted, puffy, or dull-colored heads, as well as those with loose or yellowish leaves. Choose sprouts of similar size so they'll cook evenly.

*Tips for picking from CookingLight.com 


Chicken Thighs with Roasted Apple and Garlic

Serves 6 - 8


  • 5 cups chopped apple (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Chopped parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 475°F. Combine first 5 ingredients. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Spread apple mixture on a pan coated with cooking spray.

Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and arrange on top of the apple mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is done and apple is tender. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Partially mash apple mixture with a potato masher, and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Adapted from: CookingLight.com

Roasted Beet Salad with Pears and Almonds

Serves 4 - 6


  • 4 large red beets
  • 2 pears (recommended type: Anjou)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups baby arugula (washed)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch chives, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the beets on a sheet tray and roast until fork tender, about an hour. Remove and let cool.

Peel the beets. Grate the beets and the pears on the largest hole of a box grater. Toss them with the balsamic, olive oil and salt.

Divide the arugula between 4-6 salad plates, spoon some of the beet-pear mixture onto the arugula and top with the chopped almonds and chives.

Adapted from: FoodNetwork.com

Pumpkin Pancakes

Serves 1 - 2 (3 - 4 pancakes)


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


Combine eggs with pumpkin and vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine flour and remaining ingredients. Add the flour mixture slowly into the pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth.

Heat a large nonstick griddle over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto a nonstick griddle. Cook for 3 minutes on each side.

Adapted from: CookingLight.com

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce

Serves 4 - 6


  • 1 1.5 pound spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped (recommended type: cremini)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


Cook the spaghetti squash: preheat oven to 350°F and halve squash. Remove seeds and membrane. Place each half cut side down in a large casserole dish and fill with 1/2 cup of water. Cook for 45-50 minutes. Remove the squash from oven, turn cut side up and let cool for 10 minutes. After squash has cooled, scrape down the sides of the squash with a fork and move into a bowl.

While squash cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, beef, and garlic; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble beef. Add mushrooms; cook 10 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

Place tomatoes in a food processor; pulse 4 times or until almost smooth. Add tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes; reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in salt and black pepper.

Serve sauce over squash and top with cheese.

Adapted from: CookingLight.com

Brussels Sprouts with Lemons and Pecans

Serves 4 - 6


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add thyme and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes.

Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until tender.

Stir in pecans, lemon rind, lemon juice, and black pepper.

Adapted from: CookingLight.com


Recipes provided by Michelle Mamis, RD, LDN
Bariatric Dietitian at BIDMC

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