Think about all the dishes that are intrinsically linked to autumn: sweet potato casserole, ginger snaps, pecan pie — the list goes on and on. Though many of us have fond memories associated with these
iconic fall offerings, what we might not think about are the vital ingredients that go into each, and the countless other dishes that can be made with those same basic components. In the spirit of expanding our minds (as well as our potential uses for things like ginger and pecans), we asked six cookbook authors to share their favorite fall ingredients.
Ahead, these authors explain why they always have their chosen autumnal ingredient on hand this time of year and share recipes for how they use it. You'll see a few classic fall staples, plus some unexpected ideas for how to use them this year.
My Drunk Kitchen Holidays!, $19.60
Buy BenBella Books
The Colorful Family Table, $19.95
Buy Quail, Pecans, & Sweet Potatoes
"The ingredient that we most look forward to utilizing in the fall is quail. These native birds have been scarce over the past few years, but a resurgence in the population brings them back to the table. We always have Fried Quail Legs on our steakhouse menu, but in the fall, we grill quail breasts and serve with wild rice, dried cranberries, and pecans.
"Buffalo Gap also has tons of native pecan trees, so you will find these rich, decadent treats in lots of our recipes from salty to sweet to savory.
"A great side dish would be our Southern Sweet Potatoes. Of course, everyone loves sweet potatoes this time of year, but the recipe we love is from Lisa's mom in South Carolina — customers can't wait until the week that they appear on the menu. Exceptionally decadent with butter and sugar and topped with native pecans, our Southern Sweet Potatoes work for a side dish or dessert!"
— Lisa and Tom Perini, authors of Perini Ranch Steakhouse: Stories and Recipes for Real Texas Food Lisa Perini
Perini Ranch Steakhouse, $35.00
"Ginger is my favorite fall ingredient as it gives recipes that perfect
zing! As a dietitian, I look for ingredients that add flavor in a healthy way, and ginger fits the bill... It's also extremely versatile. You can use it in a savory meal, a delicious cocktail, or even a spicy fall dessert. I love using ginger in salad dressing to give it a warming kick or in a seasonal dessert...
"In my new Eat Fit Cookbook, which is available for preorder now, I showcase how you can make delicious chef-inspired dishes that are also healthy, and ginger is an ingredient I keep going back to, like in the Thai Quinoa Salad or Candied Ginger Lemon Drop Cocktail/Mocktail featured in the cookbook."
— Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, author of Eat Fit Cookbook River Road Press
Eat Fit Cookbook (Preorder Today), $34.99
Buy Butternut Squash
"Butternut squash is so versatile. It's great in soups and chilis, roasted as a side, or even stuffed as a main dish. I use it most often to make my dairy-free Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup, and Vegan Queso. It is also a great stand-in for pumpkin in dessert recipes!"
— Jenn Sebestyen, author of The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook: Kid-Friendly, Plant-Based Recipes Fair Winds Press
The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook, $22.99
Buy Butternut Squash"Butternut Squash is one of my favorite fall ingredients. In the cookbook, we feature it in our Butternut Bisque with Apple Croutons recipe and in our Butternut Squash and Sausage Risotto recipe. "I love cooking with seasonal fruits and vegetables so butternut squash is a perfect choice for the fall. It’s a healthy option, flavorful, and the orange color is an extra bonus when it comes to autumn presentation. It’s also extremely versatile. Whether you’re using it to make a soup, roasting it as a side vegetable, baking it and topping it with brown sugar, or mixing it into a risotto, butternut squash can be used in countless ways. What's not to love?" — Kelly Minter, author of A Place at the Table: Fresh Recipes for Meaningful Gatherings B&H Books
A Place at the Table: Fresh Recipes for Meaningful Gatherings, $26.99