I relocated to sunny Southern California nearly two years ago from my hometown of Chicago to escape the long and dreary winters, but fall was always my favorite season. Every year I looked forward to long, winding drives on roads with vibrant trees in shades of yellow, orange and fire engine red. I loved trips to Wisconsin and Michigan farms for delicious apples, pumpkins and squash. Fall is the time to make a fire, put on relaxing music, and head into the kitchen to whip up your favorite harvest recipes. Fall is also the shortest season, so as soon as the air would turn crisp, I got to work in the kitchen.
These are a few of my favorite vegan fall harvest recipes that I make every season. Because fall is also typically a busy time for families, these are also fast and easy to make, with ingredients you probably already have on hand in your pantry or fridge.
Butternut Bisque: Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables to cook with; it’s adaptable in many dishes and can be baked, roasted, sautéed, and braised. Best of all, it is relatively inexpensive and easy to find. This soup is one of my favorites. To make it completely dairy free, replace the butter with dairy free margarine and the ¼ c. plain soy or rice milk in place of the 1-cup half and half.
Spiced Apple Bundt Cake: My visits to local apple orchards would always yield bushel after bushel of apples in all varieties. I love to bake with them; applesauce, apple muffins, apple pie, and more. This Spiced Apple Bundt Cake is wonderful to make on lazy weekends as a breakfast cake or with tea as an afternoon treat. (Image: Robert Knapp)
Vegan and Nut Free Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes: Most of the country only has a few weeks left of fresh produce from their local farmer’s markets. Potatoes, green beans and pesto are plentiful this time of year. My pesto is completely nut and dairy free, making it a great option for those with food allergies or special diets. (Image: Robert Knapp)
Vegan Pumpkin Bread: This is one of those recipes that I love to make for friends and neighbors because it makes two loaves and freezes well. It is one of my all- time favorite recipes, and the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever tasted. (Image: Robert Knapp)
Big Batch Vegetable Soup: I make lots of vegetable soup during the fall and winter. It’s a great way to use up the produce you have on hand, and nothing is more satisfying than a warm bowl of good-for-you soup. The beauty of this dish is that you can make it with fresh or frozen vegetables, as well as in big batches to freeze for later.
Apple Crisp: Another one of my favorite fall desserts is apple crisp with dairy free vanilla ice cream on the side. Crisps taste like pies but are much easier to throw together quickly. Be sure to experiment with a combination of different varieties of apples, and substitute dairy free margarine for the butter to make it completely vegan. (Image: Jose Manuel Picayo Rivera)
Kelly Rudnicki is the author of The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals, The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book and Vegan Baking Classics. She is also the founder of the award-winning blog www.foodallergymama.com and lives in Southern California with her husband and five children.