There’s nothing better than when the seasons change. The leaves start changing colors, we can finally cozy up in our sweaters and jeans, and perhaps best of all, enjoy our favorite seasonal foods! Included below are a few of my favorite healthy twists on classic fall recipes, incorporating nutritious, healthy ingredients without sacrificing on flavor.
1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are the first thing I crave when the fall season hits each year. This lightened up version of this popular recipe includes white whole wheat flour and is sweetened naturally with honey and banana to make it a more nutritious choice than your average muffin. These muffins are just the right amount of sweet and are so good as an afternoon snack or delicious breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea. In this version, we added a cream cheese frosting to make these muffins more of a fun treat, but they’re great on their own.
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
½ Cup Honey
1-2 Bananas, mashed
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
¼ Cup Plant-based Milk
2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Salt
1 ¾ Cup White Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Chocolate Chips
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened.
½ Cup Butter, softened.
1-3 Cups Powdered Sugar (depending on desired level of sweetness and consistency)
1 tsp Vanilla
Milk if needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 12 liners or non-stick cooking spray.
- Mix eggs, coconut oil and honey.
- Add in banana, pumpkin puree, milk, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, vanilla extract, and salt and mix until well combined.
- Add in flour and mix until just combined.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour into muffin tin.
- Bake at 350 for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- While muffins are baking prepare frosting. Mix cream cheese and butter on high speed.
- Once well combined and creamy, add powdered sugar in small amounts at a time until well incorporated.
Add vanilla, mix well. Taste, and add more sugar if needed, or a small splash of milk if frosting it too thick.
2. Fall Harvest Salad
I love salads of all kinds, but in my personal opinion, fall salads are the best salads out there. I love adding roasted veggies to my salad, whether potatoes, carrots, or in this case, butternut squash – it just adds this dimension to your salads that really take it to that next level. This delicious fall harvest salad is the perfect mix of sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, and includes roasted butternut squash, quinoa, apples, avocado, and pepitas; but it would be great with pomegranates, roasted sweet potato, carrots, red onions, and your favorite cheese. Make this salad your own!
½ Cup Roasted Butternut Squash
½ Cup Cooked Quinoa
½ Red Apple, thinly sliced
½ Green Apple, thinly sliced
½ Avocado, thinly sliced
Small handful Pepitas
Small handful Dried Cranberries
- Prepare quinoa and butternut squash according to package.
On a big bed of lettuce top with quinoa, butternut squash, red and green apples, avocado, pepitas and dried cranberries.
3. Butternut Black bean Tostada
This delicious butternut black beans tostada combines an all-time fall favorite – butternut squash – with the delicious flavors of Mexican cuisine for a tasty snack, lunch, or dinner. Layer mashed and seasoned butternut squash with black beans, and avocado on a baked whole grain pita. Top it all off with a tangy lime crema drizzle, fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of pepitas.
1 Butternut Squash, cubed
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp Chili Powder
Kosher Salt to Taste
4 Pita Breads
1 Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lime
¼ Cup Greek Yogurt
2 Avocados, sliced
- Drizzle butternut squash evenly with olive oil and toss to coat. Roast in oven on 400 degrees, for about 35 minutes, or until each piece is cooked through, and tender when poked with a fork.
- Once done, mash butternut squash in a bowl. Add cumin, chili powder, salt, and maple syrup.
- Bake 4 Whole Wheat or regular pita bread in the oven for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
- Make your lime crema by blending Greek yogurt and lime juice until it forms a light liquid that’s easy to drizzle. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water until it’s light enough to drizzle.
Top pita bread, with butternut squash mash, black beans, avocado, lime crema, cilantro, and pepitas.
4. Vanilla Chai Protein Shake
Call me basic, but I’m all over the fall drinks at the coffee shop; chai being one of my all-time favorite sweet fall treats. This Vanilla Chai Protein Shake is just like your favorite iced chai drink at the coffee shop, but the boost of protein makes it a better choice for refueling after the gym. If you love the sweet and spicy flavor of chai, this protein shake is the perfect way to get in your protein in an incredibly delicious way!
1 Large Banana, Frozen
1 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of choice)
1 Scoop Vanilla Protein
2 Tbsp Chai Tea Latte Powder Mix
1 Tbsp Vanilla
Cinnamon to taste
- Blend until smooth
5. Instant Pot Weeknight Turkey Chili
Weeknight dinners just got easier with this delicious instant pot turkey chili recipe! The lean ground turkey in this recipe makes it a bit of a healthier choice, but if you prefer you could easily sub in ground chicken, beef, or even bison in this recipe. I usually add in cayenne when I make this recipe at home – I’ll be honest I like my chili with some kick. I left it out of this recipe so people could cater to their preference. If you like a little spice like me, add in ½ Tbsp cayenne and you can add more to taste if you prefer even more heat when the chili is finished cooking.
1 ½ lb ground Turkey
1 (15oz) can Tomato Sauce
1 (15oz) can Kidney Beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15oz) can Pinto Beans, drained & rinsed
1 (15oz) can Black Beans, drained & rinsed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup White Onion, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
2 Celery Stalks, diced
1 Tbsp Crushed Garlic
2 Cups Beef Stock (Chicken or Veggie will also work)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Oregano
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Black Pepper
- Set Instant Pot to “Sauté”, add Olive Oil, garlic, onions, peppers, and celery
- Brown meat.
- Set Instant Pot to “Manual” and cook for 18-20 minutes.
- Let vent, or quick release vent to speed along the process.
Stir, and serve!
6. Chicken Verde Soup
This Chicken Verde soup couldn’t be easier and on a cold winter night, nothing is more soothing than this soup that comes together in a matter of minutes. The green salsa used in this recipe adds so much flavor to this simple soup, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of this simple combo before. The finish is all in the toppings – I love shredded Mexican cheese, sour cream, cilantro, greens onions, and don’t forget the red chili flakes!
1 Bottle Green Salsa
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
¼ White Onion, diced
1 tsp. Garlic, minced (about 1 clove)
2 Chicken Breasts
6 Cups Chicken broth
½ Cup chopped Cilantro
Red chili flakes
- Add Olive Oil, white onion and garlic to pot. sauté over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
- Chop chicken breasts in half and add to pot to quickly sear each side (2-3 minutes per side), flip to sear other side.
- Add jar of green salsa, stir. Bring heat to medium and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken and plate it on a cutting board or plate and shred the chicken. Using 2 forks to shred.
- Add chicken back to pot, along with chicken broth and bring to a boil for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Uncover, add cilantro, and stir.
Serve soup, topping with sliced avocado, green onions, cilantro, and red chili flakes. Enjoy!
7. Pumpkin Spice Latte Protein Shake
Let’s be honest, what screams fall more than a pumpkin spice latte? I’ll wait. This protein shake version of a pumpkin spice latte has all the incredible flavor of the real thing, and so much healthier than the coffee shop version. Better yet, the protein makes it a great option for refueling post-workout or for more nutritious and filling afternoon snack!
1 Frozen Banana
¾ Cup Almond Milk
2 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1-2 shots Espresso
¼ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1 serving protein powder
- Blend and enjoy!
8. Instant Pot Thai Basil Chicken
A hot and creamy curry over rice is the type of comfort food I crave most on a chilly fall day. There’s something about the warmth that comes through from the curry powder that warms my body and soul and leaves me feeling so satisfied. This instant pot Thai basil chicken combines coconut milk, curry powder, and basil for a healthier option of this hearty classic.
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Can (13.5 oz) Coconut Milk
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbsp Ginger, Minced
1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Lime, Juice of
1 Tbsp Curry Powder
1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
1 Jalapeno, diced
½ Red Onion, diced
½ Cup Basil, Chopped
½ Cup Cilantro, Chopped
Handful red onions
- Add chicken ingredients to instant pot. Mix to combine.
- Seal instant pot and set to sealing. Select manual and set for 25 minutes. (It will take around an hour for instant pot to pressurize and cook.)
- Shred chicken and add basil and cilantro.
- Serve over white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice.
Top with extra basil, cilantro, red onions, and lime juice.