What’s Cooking — Local Food at Its Peak in October

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Photo: Look-what-i-made.com

Photo: Look-what-i-made.com

The leaves are changing, the temperature’s dropping: fall’s here and our appetites are ready for it. Each region of the country has different dishes that are hitting their peak this month, so it’s prime time to let the flavors shine. We explored the best that spring and summer have to offer, and now it’s time to enjoy the heartier tastes of October! See what you’ll be digging into this season:

Northeast: Apples

Growing up in upstate New York, nothing announced the arrival of fall like apple picking season. While they’re perfectly good on their own as a solo snack, these immune-boosters also work well in a variety of seasonal dishes.

Photo: Food52.com

Photo: Food52.com

Breakfast: We’re loving the apple-to-pancake ratio in this healthier gluten-free dish.

Photo: Lecremedelacrumb.com

Photo: Lecremedelacrumb.com

Lunch: Apples, cranberries, and walnuts bring the main flavors of fall into one light salad.

Photo: Gimmesomeoven.com

Photo: Gimmesomeoven.com

Dinner: Sautéed cinnamon apples and onions pair perfectly with roast pork.

 

Southeast: Pecans

Since the pecan is Alabama’s state nut and Texas’ state tree, it seemed only fitting that this was the regional representative for the fall growing season. High in fiber, protein, and iron, they also have some nice health benefits to go with the tasty crunch.

Photo: Sproutandpea.com

Photo: Sproutandpea.com

Breakfast: Pumpkin spice, cinnamon, quinoa, and pecans…who needs pie with this hearty breakfast bowl?

Photo: Greenhealthymeals.com

Photo: Greenhealthymeals.com

Lunch: Since tomatoes are also in season here, this veggie sandwich with pecan pesto celebrates two favorites at once.

Photo: Abeautifulmess.com

Photo: Abeautifulmess.com

Dinner: If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, this pecan-crusted tilapia will be your new nutty go-to.

 

Midwest: Onions

The onion has a bad reputation. Nutrient-rich and flavorful, we should be thanking this veggie for adding a boost to some of our favorite meals. See which recipes let you celebrate the best of the Midwest:

Photo: Tastespotting.com

Photo: Tastespotting.com

Breakfast: A slice of this oniony breakfast tart will give you a protein boost to power through your morning.

Photo: Brooklynsupper.net

Photo: Brooklynsupper.net

Lunch: Skip the French Onion and warm up with something fresh — this roasted cauliflower and garlic soup with caramelized onions will hit the spot.

Photo: Saveur.com

Photo: Saveur.com

Dinner: Roast chicken on a bed of onions makes for a quick and delicious weeknight meal.

 

Northwest: Pumpkin

Essentially the official flavor of fall, pumpkin can be a sweet or savory treat. And since it’s rich in antioxidants and vitamins, you don’t have to feel too guilty grabbing that extra slice of pie.

Photo: Ohmyveggies.com

Photo: Ohmyveggies.com

Breakfast: Pumpkin spice who? You won’t want a high-calorie latte once you taste this delicious vegan breakfast smoothie.

Photo: Look-what-i-made.com

Photo: Look-what-i-made.com

Lunch: Fresh cubed pumpkin is the standout in this weekday couscous salad.

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Dinner: These fluffy little pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi have found their match with a light sage butter sauce.

 

Southwest: Sweet Potatoes

The humble sweet potato knows how to hold its own in any dish. Filling and nutritious, they’re an easy way to add weight to a dish on a budget. And as these recipes should prove, sometimes they can even reign as the star.

sweet-potato-hash_10-27-13_4_ca

Photo: Draxe.com

Breakfast: Sausage, onion, and fresh herbs make this sweet potato breakfast hash an autumn morning must.

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Photo: Simplyrecipes.com

Lunch: Sometimes the simplest route is best; roasted sweet potato soup lets you really enjoy it’s pure flavor.

Photo: Minimalistbaker.com

Photo: Minimalistbaker.com

Dinner: The author of this recipe used 10 intense adjectives to describe these Mediterranean baked sweet potatoes, so you know you’re in for a treat.

 

Fall cooking doesn’t have to focus around the sugary-sweet, so we hope you’re inspired to try some of these delicious recipes. And if you have any other go-to ways to use fresh produce, let us know in the comments!