Fall Comfort Food Recipes

October 31, 2013 | Food, General, Heart Health, Nutrition, Recipes

If you’re anything like us, the autumn chill brings on a whole new way of life, replacing iced tea with hot tea or hot chocolate, breaking out the blankets and the good books, and craving a delicious, warm meal.

While summer favorites such as watermelon, huckleberries, avocado, and cherries fall out of season, pumpkin, cranberries, apples, Brussels sprouts, and onions are part of the fall harvest. And these ingredients can fill the kitchen with the scrumptious smells of slow-cooker soups and roasts. Whether you’re gearing up for a winter of skiing and snowshoeing or to simply catch up on the latest movies, eating healthy fall meals is easy.

Here are some of our fall favorites that include seasonal fruits and vegetables to keep you healthy and warm this season:


Slow Cooker Roast Pork with Fruit

Prep Time: 15 min

Total Time: 7 hours, 15 min

Servings: 8



1 medium onion, sliced

1 boneless pork loin roast (2 lb.)

1 package (8 oz.) dried pears or dried plums (1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup apple juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon



Step: 1 In 4-to 5-quart slow cooker, place onion. Place pork on onion; top with fruit.

Step 2:  In small bowl, mix remaining ingredients; pour over fruit.

Step 3: Cover; cook on Low heat setting 7 to 9 hours or until pork is tender. Serve fruit mixture over pork.


Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 4



1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds butternut squash, halved and seeded

3/4 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths, plus more for garnish

2 onions, cut into wedges

2 3/4 cups quartered shiitake mushroom caps

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted



Step 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spread oil in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish; place squash on half of pan, cut sides down. Arrange apples, onions, and mushrooms in one layer on other half of pan. Roast in middle of oven 45 minutes or until tender.

Step 2. Remove from oven. Turn squash cut side up to cool. When cool enough to handle, purée squash in a food processor in batches with broth, Parmesan, garlic, half of the onions and apples, and three-fourths of the mushrooms until smooth. Transfer purée to a large saucepan.

Step 3. Add remaining roasted apples and onions to pan with one cup of water to reach desired consistency. Bring to a simmer. Ladle into four bowls, garnish with apple slices, remaining mushrooms, and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Time-saver alert! Make a double batch of this soup and freeze in an airtight container for up to three months. Just thaw, heat, and serve for a last-minute dinner.


Ponzu Grilled Salmon with Golden Beet Couscous

Prep Time: Varies

Cook Time: For Couscous: 8-10 min, for Salmon: 3-4 min

Servings: 4




1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons thinly sliced peeled shallots (about 1 large)

8 ounces small golden beets, thinly sliced, peeled, and quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 cup uncooked couscous

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup raw spinach leaves, trimmed



1/2 cup fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper


Remaining ingredients:

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets with skin (about 1 inch thick)

Cooking spray

Lime wedges (optional)



Preheat grill.

To prepare couscous, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and beets; sauté 5 minutes or until shallots are tender and just beginning to brown. Stir in couscous; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add water and salt; cover and simmer 8 minutes or until couscous is tender. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Toss gently until combined and spinach wilts. Keep warm.

To prepare sauce, combine orange juice and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan, stirring well with a whisk; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 1 minute.

To prepare fish, brush cut sides of fillets with 1/4 cup sauce; place, skin sides up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill salmon, skin sides up, 2 minutes. Turn salmon fillets; brush with remaining 1/4 cup sauce. Grill 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or desired degree of doneness. Serve with couscous and lime wedges, if desired.

The Ponzu sauce may be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Golden beets add sweetness and beautiful color, but don’t stain like red beets.


Pumpkin Ravioli

Prep Time: 3 min

Cook Time: 7-10 min

Servings: 6



1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

24 wonton wrappers

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Chopped parsley



Combine 1 cup pumpkin, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water; bring 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal. Place ravioli into a large saucepan of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt; cook 7 minutes, and drain in a colander. Place 1/2 cup broth and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in pan; bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.


Pear-Cranberry Crisp

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 40 min

Servings: 6



4 firm ripe pears, sliced

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground allspice

1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts



Step 1: Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

Step2:  Arrange pear slices over bottom of dish. In small bowl, stir together sugar, cinnamon, and allspice. Sprinkle mixture over the pears. In small bowl, cut butter into oats with fork until finely crumbled. Add cranberries and walnuts. Toss to mix. Sprinkle evenly over pears.

Step 3: Bake about 40 minutes or until bubbling.


Recipes courtesy of Health magazine and Live Better America.

For more healthy recipes, visit our WIC page here or the MyPlate page here.


 Do you have a favorite healthy fall recipe? If so, please share it below!