The flavors of Fall are so distinct — warm, rich, and hearty to reflect the cooling down of the temperature. It’s also the time in which some vegetables are primed to hit the table in more complex and layered dishes.
We reached out to professional chefs and recipe developers and asked them what their favorite seasonal ingredient to cook with in the Fall is. While some of their answers aren’t surprising, they are all simply perfect for the season.
Check out the Fall ingredients these chefs wait all year to use in abundance.
“I love Fall flavors. They’re aromatic with warm spices and also offer a hint of sweetness. Some of my favorite fall ingredients are sweet potatoes and yams, root vegetables of any kind as well as cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and star anise. I love adding these spices into heart meat or vegetables stews and chili for a little twist and using sweet potatoes, yams and root veggies in soups for additional sweetness, texture but also to boost the nutritional value since they are packed with beta carotene, b vitamins and potassium.” —Claudia Sidoti, Principal Chef at HelloFresh “Squash! It’s one of the reasons I can’t get enough of fall. There are so many varieties, and many work in both sweet and savory applications in cuisines from around the globe. I love simmering kabocha squash in curries; roasting delicata with maple syrup (skin on!) for an easy side dish; whisking mashed butternut into sauce for mac ‘n’ cheese; and, of course, baking a classic pumpkin pie. Added bonus: Squash seeds are perfect for roasting — they provide a crunch to salads and granola.” —Melissa Knific, Recipe Developer at EveryPlate “While I can’t say I have a favorite, one of most versatile ingredients of fall is cauliflower. There are so many different techniques you can use with just this one ingredient. You can just about do anything with the whole cauliflower. It’s not just the florets, you can eat the stem as well. Cauliflower can be eaten raw, simply roasted, blanched, put into the food processor for cauliflower rice or, one of my favorites, use it for cauliflower and curry.” — Carl Shelton, Executive Chef, J Vineyards & Winery “My absolute favorite fall ingredient to cook with is fennel. Fennel and fall weather flavors are a match made in heaven. Sliced thinly for a salad or slaw, served with pork and sage, paired with roasted squash, served alongside beautiful fish, the possibilities are endless (and so incredibly delicious). Fennel is primarily a cool weather crop. It thrives and becomes sweet and delicious on those warmish days and cool evenings. In the warm summer weather, it grows quickly and can become bitter quick, making Fall the best time of year for it.” — Chef Dennis Prescott, co-host, “Restaurants On The Edge” on Netflix and author of “Eat Delicious” “Fall squash is something I love to cook with. They can come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors. Plus they can handle wintering through the long hard months of cold. They are extremely versatile and can be used in salads, curries, purées, and iconic items like pies and even ice creams. There aren’t too many ingredients that run the table like Fall squash.” —Chef David Santos of Um Segredo Supper Club “The first ingredient you should add to your pantry this fall is black garlic. A few cloves into a braised chicken stew is that comforting ingredient you didn’t know you needed, developing into rich color and flavor as it simmers in the stew. It may seem like a splurge, but a little goes a long way so check for it at your nearest Asian market or grocery store. To complement the black garlic and add more depth to a stew, always add wine and make sure you cook with wine you would drink. Recently I discovered a bold red wine blend from Portugal called, Silk & Spice. It works perfectly for a braised stew — one of my favorite cooking methods for the fall season — and you can pair it with your meal as well.” —Chef Nini Nguyen, Top Chef, Bravo