Autumn is a beautiful time for produce. So many incredible things are in season, which in my opinion makes up for the loss of summer farmers markets and berry season. Personally, autumn feels like the shortest season, and it can be overwhelming to decide what to make with all of these fruits and veggies. If you’re in that boat, here are some ideas for five produce items that are in season:
Cardamom Apple Galette
If you’re Nordic like me, you are obsessed with the Scandinavian staple, cardamom. If you aren’t Nordic, you should still be obsessed with cardamom, because it’s delicious. Galettes are the easier version of pie. You don’t have to worry about a top crust, but it isn’t messy like a crumble. It’s polished, like pie, but more fruit-forward. Take your favorite pie crust recipe, and roll it into a circle on a clean and floured surface. Spread jam onto it, leaving two inches of border. I like to use fig jam, blueberry jam, apricot preserves, or apple butter for this step, since they pair so well with the apples. Slice 1–2 medium sized apples into thin pieces, and toss them in a bowl with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, maple syrup, a pinch of salt, and a little cracked black pepper. You just need enough to coat it all, so base how much you use on your own tastes. If you want them to be super flavor-infused, marinate them in cardamom and apple cider (or cranberry juice) for five hours before tossing them in the spices. Then, arrange on the crust, and sprinkle with brown sugar and you guessed it—more cardamom.
Bake at 350°F until the crust is golden and the apples are caramelized—usually 40 minutes. Serve with oat milk ice cream and a pinch of cinnamon, alongside a cup of espresso. It’s divine.
German Apple Cake
This style of cake puts apples centerstage. Rather than pureeing them, or dicing them into the batter, you’ll take whole slices of them and place them throughout the cake before baking. You can use your favorite vanilla cake recipe, add in some cinnamon and orange zest, and then top the batter with circles of thinly sliced apples. Bake until done, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. It’s so festive, and is a great snack to have with a hot cup of tea.
Savory Stuffed Apples
This is one of the coziest dishes ever, and it’s great for when apple season is at its peak; your kitchen overflowing with the fruit. For this, prep the apple like you would for baked apples—hollowing it out. In a bowl, mix together some sage, black pepper, white beans, diced mushrooms of your choice, sunflower seeds, smoked paprika, minced garlic, cayenne, salt, thyme, barley, and julienned sweet onions. Toss in a splash of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, and stuff the mixture into the apples. Top with a shiitake mushroom each, and a drizzle of more olive oil, and bake until browned. It’s amazing with crusty bread and a lemony tahini sauce to drizzle.
This is a traditional dish in many cultures, but the basic recipe is cabbage, vinegar, and spices. I like to use purple cabbage, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, a little brown sugar, orange rinds, and a cinnamon stick. I let it pickle until it’s strong enough for my taste (which for me is a few days). It’s so good as a side for potatoes, on sandwiches, or on tacos. If you want to add a little cardamom to it, it’s exactly like rødkål—a sweet and tangy yule dish.
This is something I ate a lot growing up. My mom would sauté it with olive oil, salt, and a little lemon. That’s so comforting to me because of that, but it’s also delicious with pumpkin seeds, onions, minced garlic, a touch of cayenne, and craisins. It’s warm, savory, and complex. It’s great served with grains, potatoes, or on the side of a panini.
Roasted Cabbage Steaks
If you’re wanting cabbage to be the star of the meal, this is a great option. Slice the cabbage into medallions, and rub with sunflower oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, cracked pepper, and thyme. Roast until crispy! It’s also really good slathered with sweet and sour sauce, teriyaki, or your favorite condiment that would traditionally be used on meats. Otherwise, drizzle with pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with charred mushroom bits and cranberries. It’s so filling, and is easily the star of any meal.
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
Autumn is just the time for roasted veggies. Roasted cauliflower though, is my favorite. Growing up, I requested it for most of my birthdays. I love it with lemon, olive oil, salt, and garlic. It’s simple, but when you get a nice char on it, it’s unbelievably good. It’s just a really nourishing main dish, and I’m such a fan. If you want more of a cauliflower steak, rather than pieces, serve it with lime chimichurri and red pepper flakes.
Before I became a vegan, fish tacos were my favorite meal. Making it the same way, but with cauliflower, is just as satisfying. Cauliflower is so tender when boiled and then sautéed (give it a bit of a char on this step). I add a little salt, lime, cayenne, smoked paprika, minced and dried seaweed, and onion powder. It’s so flavorful. Serve it on a corn tortilla with pickled onions, cabbage slaw, vegan crema, and mangos. I can’t get enough of them.
Nothing beats soup in the autumn. Cauliflower is perfect for it, thanks to its tenderness yet meatiness. Make it with a few cups of veggie broth, a cup of unsweetened almond milk, a tbsp of coconut cream (or vegan butter if you prefer), diced mushrooms, salt, cracked pepper, diced carrots, bay leaves, a splash of apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, minced onions and garlic, dried parsley, and the cauliflower pieces. Once it’s creamy and cooked through, add in fresh parsley and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. It’s great with crusty bread and a good glass of wine.
This is a staple in our home, because it’s the closest thing in North America to lingonberries—my favorite. I put about a cup of cranberries in a pot with a splash of orange juice, a little lemon, and a dash of cinnamon sugar. I keep it on low heat, stirring to avoid burning. When it’s gelled, I take it off the heat and store in jars for the winter. It’s perfect for bread, on ice cream, or even just with crackers and vegan cheese. I also like to add a little rosemary when I’m in the mood.
As a kid, I was obsessed with cranberry bread. My dad and I used to get so excited each time my mom made it, and the smell of it reminds me of home. As an adult though, muffins are easier to make, so I turn it into that. Take your favorite plain muffin recipe, add cranberries and a little orange zest, and top with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Bake until golden at 350°F. They’re easy, heart-warming, and so wholesome.
This couldn’t be easier. Use your favorite vegan meatballs, and cook in cranberry sauce and vegan butter. Add a little thyme and cracked pepper, and it’s so good. It’s so simple. It’s really good by itself for dinner, or you can go full Nordic and serve it with roasted potatoes and pickled cabbage. It’s sweet and savory, making it a super satisfying dinner.
I will never forget the first time I had this dish. I was in my middle school cooking class, and we all tried it before we got to our cooking work. It was so unexpected—creamy, savory, a little sweet, and herbaceous all at once. I will never get over it. To make it, cook whole grain fettuccini to al dente. Then add minced garlic and sweet onion to a pot, and sauté in vegan butter until caramelized. Add some unsweetened oat milk, a sprinkle of nutmeg, sage leaves, at least a cup of canned pumpkin, thyme, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Simmer, and then add in the noodles. Serve with cracked pepper, parsley, and minced walnuts. It’s so filling, festive, and flavorful. What else could you want?
Apple Pumpkin Bread
It would be a tragedy not to mention this dish. Whenever the temperature starts to dip in the autumn, I start craving this. To make it, use what you normally would for pumpkin bread, but add in extra cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple sauce in replace of eggs. Before baking, top with brown sugar and pecans. Bake until done, and serve with vegan apple butter. It’s the epitome of October.
Braided Pumpkin Bread
This is not a traditionally sweet pumpkin bread, like the dish above. This is a method used in Nordic countries for their Jul breads, and it makes the most buttery dinner bread. It’s the best bread I’ve ever made, and I wish I could have it every day. To make it, you’ll need to dissolve some yeast in warm water, like you would for any yeast-based bread. Then you know the drill: add the other ingredients. Add a few tablespoons of brown sugar, plant milk, vegan butter, canned pumpkin, salt, flour, and a bit of baking soda. Knead, and let it rise for at least an hour. Split the dough into thirds, roll them into ropes, and braid them. Let it rise for another half hour, and then bake at 350°F for at least 25 minutes—until golden. I like to mix together a little maple syrup and almond milk for a substitute egg wash to brush over the loaves before baking. It gives it a nice crust. It ends up making the fluffiest bread ever. It’s so good dipped in soups, spread with vegan butter, or just eaten straight out of the oven. It’s that good.
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Photo: Emily Iris Degn