10+ Dietitian-Approved Comforting Fall Dinner Recipes – EatingWell

One of my favorite ways to bring in a new season is by celebrating all of the seasonal produce. When it comes to fall, this means leaning on ingredients like hearty butternut squash and juicy apples to make traditional comfort foods (like soup or grilled cheese) shine. As the weather cools off, I crave a comforting casserole or creamy pasta, especially when they’re as easy and flavorful as our Mushroom Ravioli or our Cheesy Meatball Casserole. Whether you make our Easy Vegetarian Chili for a tailgate or relax on the couch with a plate of Slow-Cooker Balsamic Short Ribs, there’s a nutritious and delicious entree on this list to help get you excited about fall flavors. For more budget- and beginner-friendly cooking tips and recipes, check out Thrifty
 
Layering apple slices into grilled cheese sandwiches adds a little crunch to a favorite soup dipper. And creamy butternut squash soup with ginger, cumin and turmeric is a nice change of pace from grilled cheese’s usual tomato soup partner. If you have a sensitive palate, you can cut back on the spices. Be sure to use seasonal squash for the best squash flavor. Serve the duo for a comforting and easy weeknight dinner for the family. The soup keeps well in the fridge, so save leftovers for lunch or dinner later in the week.
 
This easy one-pot pasta recipe earns the title “creamy” thanks to the addition of sour cream and Parmesan, which combine to create a savory cheese sauce that clings to the orecchiette, peas and sausage. The best part about this recipe is that it only requires one vessel to cook everything—pasta included. By using the exact amount of liquid you need to cook the pasta, the starch that usually gets drained off with your pasta water stays in the pot, adding even more creaminess. If you like spicy but not too spicy, use a mix of sweet and hot Italian sausages.
 
Rather than using store-bought tortilla chips, which are usually deep-fried, we skip the mess (and dangerous hot oil) by baking the corn tortillas instead. The result is a crispy topping that saves on sodium and completes a bowl of this healthy chicken soup.
 
A crisp, citrusy slaw contrasts nicely with the enchiladas’ creamy squash filling.
 
This chicken Parmesan pasta uses the one-pot pasta method to cook your noodles, chicken and sauce all in one skillet for a fast and easy dinner with minimal cleanup. Finish the dish under the broiler to achieve a delicious melted cheese crust.
 
Canned beans and tomatoes make this quick vegetarian chili recipe ready to go in just 30 minutes. Serve over rice or couscous, or with tortilla chips for added crunch, and add extra toppings as you see fit–sliced scallions, chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado and sliced jalapeños are all tasty choices.
 
Thanks to jarred marinara sauce and oven-ready lasagna noodles, this labor-of-love kind of meal can be ready in about an hour.
 
Now here’s a healthy beef short ribs recipe you can serve to company—even on a holiday. Serve with mashed celeriac or mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and a bold Italian red wine that has a touch of sweetness (think amarone or brunello).
 
This spaghetti-squash-for-pasta swap slashes both carbs and calories by 75 percent for a delicious, creamy casserole you can feel good about eating. It’s worth roasting the squash versus cooking it in the microwave if you have the time: the flavor gets sweeter and more intense.
 
This mushroom ravioli builds on plenty of rich flavors from mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and a brothy sauce that coats everything. Garlic and shallot complement the mushrooms well, while spinach adds color and a fresh flavor.
 
This sweet and savory baked honey-garlic chicken thigh recipe comes with a side of veggies that cook on the same sheet pan as the chicken. The honey-soy-garlic marinade for the chicken does double duty as an irresistible sauce to drizzle over everything. Lining your baking sheet with foil will protect your pan from the sticky honey-soy-garlic sauce, so cleanup will be a breeze too. If you can’t find small carrots, cut medium carrots in half lengthwise.
 
This cheesy meatball casserole is a family favorite, with basil adding flavor to the meatballs and grated onion adding moisture. Melted mozzarella cheese tames the spice, but feel free to cut back or eliminate the crushed red pepper if you prefer a milder dish.
 
In this vegetarian white bean potpie recipe, kale and hearty white beans are topped with easy, homemade chive biscuits. If desired, add a little shredded Gruyère or Cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough.
 
Who says spinach salads are only for spring? Use autumn’s tender crop of fresh spinach and other seasonal vegetables to make this fall salad with roasted butternut squash, apples, cheddar and pecans. This colorful and healthy salad would be a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving menu, but there’s no reason to save it for holidays–serve it along with chicken or pork for a healthy weeknight dinner, or turn it into a main course by adding some chickpeas or chopped chicken or turkey.
 
A store-bought pie crust, frozen veggies and precooked chicken simplify the prep for this easy potpie. This healthy dinner recipe is comfort food at its best.
 

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