Pumpkins are carved, landscapes are coated in crunchy leaves, and spiced lattes are brewing. There are a thousand cliched reasons to fall hard for fall. When those darker nights are closing in, there’s a certain cosy charm to putting your social life on hold, getting the crockpot on, pouring a glass of soul-warming red wine, cozying up in an oversized sweater, and staying warm and well-fed with your favourite people. To celebrate the seasonal mood, here are the vegetarian fall recipes that make us want to stay inside…
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Nothing says baby its cold outside like a sizzling cheesy vegetarian lasagna on the table. This meatless recipe calls for magic as it brings sweet squash, wilted spinach, creamy ricotta, and just a pinch of sage. Dice and roast your butternut squash in an oven along with chopped red onion and garlic. In the meantime, whizz up an easy tomato sauce, add the roasted vegetables and set aside.
In a pan wilt your spinach leaves in butter, chop and fry up some leeks until tender, and dollop in ricotta until you have a thick and creamy mixture. Start to layer the lasagna sheets and top first with a spoon or two of the ricotta mixture, followed by the vegetable-rich tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Italian cheese or mozzarella and another lasagna sheet.
Keep going until you have 4-5 layers and finally top with the remaining mozzarella and torn basil leaves. Bake in an oven for 30-40 minutes and serve with a side salad and glass of beautiful Beaujolais.
Cauliflower and Cheese Soup
Creamy, cheesy and comforting – a steaming bowl of cauliflower and cheese soup is like a massive hug. Simply melt a couple of spoons of butter into a pan and add one onion (finely chopped), simmer and stir until the onion is super soft and tender. Add a chopped head of cauliflower florets, a medium diced potato, half a pint of skimmed milk, and double that of vegetable stock.
Simmer it all up for about 25 minutes until the potato and cauliflower are truly tender. Grab a stick blender or pour into a food processor and blend until thick and smooth. Add the soup back to the pan and sprinkle with a little seasoning.
Ladle into bowls and top with a handful of sharp cheddar cheese, another twist of cracked black pepper, and maybe even a sprinkle of chilli flakes if you want some added colour and heat. Serve up with hunks of freshly buttered brown bread. Delicious.
Spicy Harissa and Aubergine Pie
A middle-eastern spin on an Italian classic, this harissa spiced pie served with a spoon of yoghurt and a bright white wine makes you move through the seasons in harmony. Slice your aubergine lengthways into strips about 1cm thick, season with salt and pepper and slide into the oven for 20 minutes until soft and golden.
In the meantime, tenderize your chopped red onion and crushed garlic in a pan with a teaspoon of turmeric and a pinch of spicy bright harissa. Fry it all up until soft and then add a jar of tomato passata and a little boiling water. Throw in a bag of baby spinach leaves and let them wilt.
In a baking dish, arrange a quarter of the aubergine strips and spoon over a quarter of the tomato sauce. Crumble feta generously on top and add a sprinkle of chopped parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon. Keep layering until you are out of ingredients. Put back into the oven for another 20 mins until the whole pie is beautifully bubbly.
If you wish you can even add a layer of sweet potato mash on top of the pie prior to baking for a more filling experience or keep it light and serve with tabbouleh or cooked Bulgar.
Grilled Fig Pizza
Homemade pizza is one of the most comforting meals around, especially if you have your fave Netflix binge on pause and a six-pack of autumnal craft beers chilling in the fridge. Bring a sense of style to your pizzas by opting for grilled fig and gorgonzola. Mm.
Get a thin crust pizza dough or even a plain naan bread if you are feeling less than lazy. Grill on both sides before adding the topping. For the toppings, we are talking a mixture of mozzarella and gooey gorgonzola, some caramelized balsamic onions, and the star of the show – chopped jammy figs. Shove the pizza back into the grill or in the oven until it's primed for gorge worthy glory.
Which fall recipes will you be trying? Share in the comments.