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20 Fall Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

Now that fall is really upon us, it’s time to enjoy the flavors of the season. Fall cooking typically involves a lot of roasting and braising, which can take a long time. Just because you need to feed your family fast doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to make the most of the season, so we’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite fast fall dishes, brimming with fall flavor and ingredients. From classic sliders, to squash salads, we’ve got 20 fast, healthy options for weeknight meals.


  • Steamed Squash Salad 1 of 20
    Steamed Squash Salad
    Peel, seed, and slice a fall squash into 1" cubes. Steam, covered, for 7 minutes, or until squash is tender but not mushy. Toss with quinoa, dried cherries, pine nuts, and a light vinaigrette. Throw in a handful of seasonal herbs--I love to add loads of parsley.
  • Sliders with Horseradish Mayo 2 of 20
    Sliders with Horseradish Mayo
    Simple and tasty sliders, served here with horseradish mayo and sauteed onions. Personalize your sliders with pickles, veggies, or specialty condiments.
    Get the recipe here
  • Make Your Own Sandwich Bar 3 of 20
    Make Your Own Sandwich Bar
    Be creative! Set out lightly toasted bread, condiments, sliced carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, and peppers, lettuce, hummus, pickles, deli meats, and cheeses. Let everybody assemble they're own sandwiches.
  • Bacon and Pear Salad 4 of 20
    Bacon and Pear Salad
    With bacon, pears, and a creamy buttermilk dressing, this fall salad is surprisingly satisfying.
    Get the recipe here
  • Savory French Toast 5 of 20
    Savory French Toast
    Savory french toast can be a great base for dinner. Simply make with bread, eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Serve with a quick tomato or corn salsa, avocado, and bacon. This goes great with meats as well!
  • Mac and Cheese Variations 6 of 20
    Mac and Cheese Variations
    Earlier this month we shared our easy recipe for 15 minute mac and cheese from scratch. That's a start, but how about adding in chopped broccoli, tomatoes, bacon, or greens?
    Click here for the mac and cheese recipe
  • Tomato Soup 7 of 20
    Tomato Soup
    Saute a chopped onion, add a few cloves minced garlic, and then pour in a can of crushed tomatoes. Dilute with a cup or so of veggie stock, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cheese toasts or sandwiches.
  • Roast Carrot Soup and Grilled Cheese 8 of 20
    Roast Carrot Soup and Grilled Cheese
    Peel and halve carrots lengthwise. Roast in a 425 degree oven until carrots are soft and brown on the edges (about 15 minutes). Combine with vegetable broth and puree. Warm soup while you make grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • Leftover Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup 9 of 20
    Leftover Chicken or Turkey Noodle Soup
    Heat your favorite chicken or vegetable broth. Meanwhile, saute an onion until translucent, and then add chopped carrots and celery, and maybe even corn or peas. Spoon veggies into the broth, add chunks of leftover chicken, and egg noodles, and bring to a boil. Cook until noodles are tender. Check salt levels, maybe add a squeeze of lemon or a bit of apple cider vinegar and serve.
  • Egg Salad 10 of 20
    Egg Salad
    This is a classic quick meal. Throw in seasonal favorites like celery, parsley, shallots, green onions, or peppers.
  • Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Toasts 11 of 20
    Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Toasts
    Peel, slice, and steam the beets. Toss with dressing of your choice, goat cheese slices or chunks, baby greens, and whole grain toasts.
  • Bean Tacos with Fresh Salsa 12 of 20
    Bean Tacos with Fresh Salsa
    Saute an onion, and add a can of rinsed beans, cumin, paprika, and ground red pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up an onion, a couple tomatoes, and cilantro, and toss with fresh lime juice, and a big pinch of salt. Spoon beans and salsa into warm corn tortillas, and serve with lettuce and sliced radishes.
  • Buckwheat Noodle Soup 13 of 20
    Buckwheat Noodle Soup
    In a large pot, saute a chopped onion and a few cloves garlic. Add in diced carrots, peppers, celery, greens, cabbage, or bok choy, and saute just until veggies wilt a bit. Pour in vegetable or chicken stock, add a teaspoon of salt or soy sauce and fresh pepper, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer for 7 minutes. Bring heat back up, add buckwheat noodles and cook until tender. Serve immediately.
    Image credit: Eden Organic
  • Fried Rice 14 of 20
    Fried Rice
    Fried rice is a great way to clean out the fridge. Pour a couple tablespoons neutral oil in a large saute pan, add onions or shallots, garlic, chopped veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, leafy greens, or peppers. Add the rice, a few shakes of soy sauce and a drop or two sesame oil, fresh pepper, red pepper flakes, and saute for a few more minutes. Then add 1 - 2 eggs per person, and gently fold into the mixture. Adjust salt levels and serve.
  • Steamed Broccoli Salad 15 of 20
    Steamed Broccoli Salad
    Steam up some sliced broccoli florets (covered, for 5 minutes) and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, a little bit of mustard, nuts or seeds, raisins, or a little Parmesan. Serve with rice or quinoa.
    Image credit: Jon Sullivan
  • Rice Salad 16 of 20
    Rice Salad
    Use fresh cooked or leftover rice, toss with a basic vinaigrette, minced herbs, minced red onion, and seared beef.
  • Chicken Salad 17 of 20
    Chicken Salad
    Got leftover chicken? Throw it in a bowl and add a little mustard and mayo, plenty of fresh herbs, diced onion and dried fruit (I like cherries). Feel adventurous? Add a few apple or pear slices. Serve with toast and a green salad.
  • Cauliflower Salad 18 of 20
    Cauliflower Salad
    Slice the cauliflower, and steam, covered for 5 minutes. Toss with a light vinaigrette, nuts or seeds, dried fruit, herbs, and a hard cheese like Pecorino or Parmesan. Serve with rice or quinoa.
    Image credit: Pattymooney
  • Quinoa Salad 19 of 20
    Quinoa Salad
    Cook up a batch of basic quinoa, mix with a light vinaigrette and add in chopped leafy greens, herbs, steamed squash, canned beans or chickpeas, and feta cubes.
    Image credit: blairingmedia
  • Stir Fry 20 of 20
    Stir Fry
    Another great way to clean out the fridge and make the most of seasonal veggies. Pour 2 tablespoons neutral oil in a large saute pan or wok. Saute a chopped onion, and a few cloves garlic. Add chopped peppers, leafy greens, blanched broccoli or cauliflower, sliced cabbage, bok choy, or carrots. Cook over high heat, until the veggies are browning on the sides, but still have a bit of bite. Add soy sauce, paprika, cayenne, sesame oil, or lemon juice for flavor. Serve over rice, noodles, or quinoa.
    Image credit: Jan van der Crabben

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