At this time of year, there are pumpkin fanatics… and the rest of us. While many diners are revved up and ready to go the minute those Pumpkin Spice Latté signs are posted at their local coffee shop, many other consumers are starting to feel a bit peevish about perennially pumpkin-heavy offerings. They’re asking: “What else have you got?” Here are some answers from an expert.
Amy Gorin, a Registered Dietitian, media personality and writer, loves this season and its great harvest of foods, but has plenty of non-pumpkin ideas for fall menus. The first place to head, she suggests, is the spice rack. “Cinnamon reminds me of fall, and I add cinnamon to everything this time of year,” she says. “I put it in smoothies and smoothie bowls, and it’s even great in curry dishes.” Like many other spices, cinnamon has been cited as an anti-inflammatory agent and possible aid in lowering blood sugar. Gorin says it has another benefit: “If you include it in baked goods, you can cut some of the sugar.
For sides or vegetarian/vegan entrées, Gorin is pro-squash. “I like baked acorn squash (halve it, scoop the seeds, drizzle with maple syrup and cinnamon, and roast) and spaghetti squash (pesto or marinara, topped with shredded Parmesan). Pulses are big this year, so try combining lentils with a cinnamon curry sauce and cubed butternut squash.”
Other produce that’s in season now: pomegranates, apples and Asian pears. “I love to use pomegranate seeds in yogurt parfaits, and to top French toast with roasted apples,” Gorin says. If you’re stumped for autumn soup ideas, she suggests pureed acorn or butternut squash, topped with pomegranate arils.
Spiralize those roots
The fall’s bounty of root vegetables often end up relegated to a quick oven roast on a hotel pan, but there are other creative options. “Consider spiralizing root veggies,” she says. “They’re delicious as a stand-in for noodles in Pad Thai or mac and cheese.”
More ideas for non-pumpkin ingredients: Kick Pumpkin Spice to the Curb