fall produceOne of the best things about fall is the abundance of fruits and vegetables at the farmers' markets and produce aisles at the grocery store. The stalls and shelves are literally overflowing with the fall harvest -- apples, grapes, squash, pumpkins, cabbage -- all of which provide excellent inspiration for cozy, comforting fall dishes. Here are some suggestions -- plus tasty recipes! -- for the best in-season fruits and vegetables to cook with this fall.

Pumpkins are the most obvious and plentiful fall food. We're so used to making pies with them, but did you know you can make a really easy vegetable side-dish by simply roasting slices of pumpkin with onion, garlic, and fresh herbs in olive oil? To make a meal of it, try our favorite recipe for Pumpkin Lasagna with nutmeg, sage, and Parmesan.

If you're over-loaded on apple recipes this fall, why not try cooking with pears? I'm particularly partial to a simple preparation, for instance, slicing fresh pear on top of grilled bread spread with goat cheese and drizzled with honey. Or, serving it with blue cheese and toasted walnuts (another fall food!) in a salad. For dessert, try baking pears in the oven and serving with ice cream.

My go-to fall dish is acorn squash roasted with brown sugar and butter -- it couldn't be more simple to prepare. You can take it one step further by tossing roasted squash with penne and pancetta for a hearty pasta dinner that combines both sweet and savory.

Figs are one of those fall foods that don't get enough love, which is ridiculous because, quite frankly, they're delicious. A brilliantly easy appetizer is to drape quartered figs with salty prosciutto. I also love this idea of combining them with bacon and Gorgonzola in a pizza.

Pomegranate is a fall food but get it quick -- because it will be gone before you know it! Scoop out the seeds and serve over salad. Or use it to add something special to your fresh cranberry sauce. Either way, it's a great way to get antioxidants.

What's your favorite fall fruit or vegetable to cook with?

 

Image via ReneS/Flickr