As the weather becomes colder and the days become shorter, the fresh seasonal produce changes too. While summer fruits and vegetables tend to be juicy and often served raw simply as is or in salads, fall and winter produce tend to be best prepared in warmer dishes, whether roasted or baked, or made into pies or soups.  

As we get into the swing of the holiday season, it's time to get cooking (and planning, shopping, etc — the list goes on so make sure you check it twice). Whether you celebrate alone, with friends, or with family, get ready to turn this list of fall seasonal produce into some delicious holiday meals. 

Plus, wherever you find yourself this holiday season, don't forget to check out the local farmer's market for the freshest selection of fruits and veggies. Local and seasonal produce is always the best choice for home-cooked meals. 


fresh produce, squash, farmer's market, vegetable, Healthy
Kelsey Ragnini

Acorn, butternut, spaghetti or zucchini: squash is your versatile friend this fall. The earthy vegetable offers endless possibilities, whether you're interested in a sweet dish with warm spices or a more classic savory one. If you're looking for something substantial, both this vegan maple-glazed stuffed squash and butternut squash bowl feature easy ways to make squash the centerpiece of your dinner, housing healthy grains and an assortment of veggies. If you're looking for a healthy twist on a dessert, try this chocolate zucchini cake.


Jackie Kuczynski

Broccoli has always been a centerpiece at my holiday dinners. Packed with vitamins K and C and plenty of fiber, broccoli can be eaten raw with some hummus, put in salads, steamed or roasted. If you're wanting to keep it simple, get out some olive oil and grated parmesan cheese for this crispy parmesan roasted broccoli. For a warm and creamy soup, try this broccoli cheddar soup that rivals that of Panera.


popcorn, cauliflower, kettle corn, sweet, goody
Kristine Mahan

The pale veggie is loaded with vitamin C, potassium and folate, and can be turned into a wide variety of dishes. If you're looking to keep it simple, consider steaming it and adding some butter or cheese, or try an easy roasted cauliflower for some melt-in-the-mouth savory goodness. Or if you're looking for a way to include more low-carb options, cauliflower is your friend. Check out these twists on holiday staples, like this cauliflower mac and cheese or this garlic and onion mashed cauliflower.

Brussels Sprouts

vegetable, sprouts, brussels sprout
Florence Ma

Brussels sprouts tend to be very hit or miss — the key is cooking them correctly to help soften the notoriously bitter flavor. They're most often roasted to create a flaky and crunchy texture — which you can do with olive oil or butter and garlic, sriracha, parmesan cheese, and many more. However, if you're looking to turn them into something rich and creamy that may win over the hearts of Brussels sprout haters, look to cheese for this Brussels sprouts gratin

Sweet Potatoes

chocolate, sweet, pastry, cream, cake, candy, goody, dairy product, cookie
Hui Lin

Sweet potatoes are at their prime this fall and winter and make for an earthy and warm addition to any holiday meal. For some sweet sides, try out some baked cinnamon honey sweet potatoes or the classic single-serve sweet potato casserole, made with marshmallows and love. For a classy and tasty pastry in which creamy but tangy meets warm and sweet, consider these sweet potato and brie empanadas.


apple, pasture, juice
Annabel Epstein

Both crunchy and juicy, apples are the staple fruit of fall — whether you like them sweet or sour. For the more traditional holiday recipes, you might consider this spiced apple cider with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves or a rich salted caramel apple pie — complemented well with a simple vanilla ice cream. If you're in search of an alternative to stuffing (and a way to easily make it vegan), try out this apple stuffing recipe.


apple, tart, galette, pear, bread, pie, apple pie, pastry, sweet
Kristine Mahan

In addition to apples, pears have some of the highest amounts of phytonutrients, specifically flavonols, compared to other seasonal produce. Like apples, they taste delicious when baked, roasted or poached — especially with cinnamon or brown sugar. Consider this recipe for 5-minute baked pears for a sweet and simple dessert. Or if you want to impress your friends, this pear galette looks beautiful but is totally manageable.


berry, sweet, raspberry, strawberry, jam, cranberry
Grant Sorbo

Last but not least, the star we've all been waiting for: cranberries. The tangy superfood is packed with antioxidants and has been linked to lowering blood pressure and risk of urinary tract infections. The bright and bitter berry allows you to add a pop of tart but fruity flavor to your holiday dinners. Instead of buying canned sauce this year, consider making your own cranberry sauce. Even add your own sugarless dried cranberries to everything — stuffing, salads, festive drinks, or desserts.

Whether you're cooking for one or twenty this season, hopefully this guide to fall seasonal fruits and veggies comes in handy and helps make your holiday meals a little tastier and stress-free.