Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
In the United States, the fall season brings with it the colors of the changing leaves, the holidays, and cooler weather, all of which are a great excuse for making wonderfully delicious recipes centered around the foods in season. Pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and turkeys seem to be the predominant foods in most fall-themed meals. You’ll likely see pumpkin-flavored treats of all kinds, like breads, cookies, pies, custards, and even hot drinks.
Squash and sweet potatoes fill casserole dishes, soups, and stews, and turkeys are the main dish. Americans really love their food—and therefore you will see a huge shift in the meals being prepared and offered in homes and restaurants across the country starting in early September through the end of November with these flavors.
But what about the rest of the world? In countries all over the world, fall celebrations are going on with their own unique, traditional seasonal meals. There’s the Erntedankfest in Austria, the l’Action de grâce in Canada, and the Moon Festival in China. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Wouldn’t it be fun to take advantage of the great recipes available from a variety of cultures and people in different countries? You never know what might spark your interest and become a tradition of your own during this wonderful time of year.
Let’s look at what other parts of the world have to offer!
Beijinho de Abóbora com Coco (Pumpkin-Coconut Balls)
Pumpkin and coconut is a very popular (and super delicious!) combination of ingredients in Brazilian cuisine.
Mid-Autumn Festival is a big thing in China, and eating mooncakes with family members is a must. It’s a deep-rooted cultural tradition, where people send mooncakes to family and friends as a gift, starting two weeks before the festival.
Pavo Salvadoreño (Roast Turkey with Sauce)
Pavo, or turkey, is a popular Christmas meal in El Salvador. Salvadoran immigrants to the U.S. often serve it for Thanksgiving as well. The Salvadoran version of roast turkey has a variety of vegetables and spices that are roasted along with the turkey in the roasting pan. This tasty mixture is then pureed and served as a rich sauce to accompany the turkey.
French Chestnut Stuffing
Chestnuts have been a major part of the food culture in southern Europe and the whole Mediterranean region for ages. In France, the can be traced back to the writings of King Lous XIV’s chef in the later 1600s. They are so well-loved, that every fall in Lyon there is a Chestnut Festival (La Vogue des Marrons) where people come together for carnival rides and other fair festivities amidst the smell of roasting chestnuts. What a perfect way to welcome in the season! In France, chestnut stuffing is a traditional side dish to serve with the holiday bird.
Kurbissuppe (Pumpkin Soup)
An easy pumpkin soup recipe like this is a great fall tradition to start. Although you would be hard pressed to find a pumpkin pie while traveling around Germany, a delicious pumpkin soup like this one will be on many Gasthaus menus.
Kolokithopita (Greek Savory Pumpkin Pie with Feta Cheese)
While pumpkin is not typically associated with Greek cuisine, they do have several recipes for this versatile vegetable: obviously Greek pies, patties, preserves (gluko koutaliou) or they may marinate it in vinegar and use it in a salad. Just to clarify, Greeks call pumpkin glikia kolokitha (sweet pumpkin), but they also call zucchini kolokithaki. So kolokithopita may be a pie made with zucchini or pumpkin.
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Risotto alla Zucca (Pumpkin Risotto)
Pumpkin, Carnaroli rice, and unsalted butter: these are the main ingredients to prepare one of the most common and typical Italian fall recipes. The orange color of the squash is a seasonal shade. Risotto alla Zucca can be made with either butternut squash or pumpkin (the term zucca refers to either-or). Since it is mainly prepared when squash are in season and at the peak of their flavor, it requires few other flavorings or ingredients, following the general Italian method of simple and fresh cooking.
Jeon uh (Gizzard Shad)
Autumn marks the season of three of the nation’s most popular kinds of seafood: blue crabs, jumbo shrimp (prawns), and gizzard shad. “Gizzard shad” is one of the popular fish species in Korea. It tastes especially good during autumn because gizzard shad stores more nutrients for the colder season. You can eat it raw or cooked. Grilled Jeon uh is the most popular way to eat; no need for sauce. It is crispy and nutty as it is!
Pastel de Chocolate y Nueces (Mexican Chocolate Nut Cake)
Mexican cooks have traditionally relied on local availability to determine what to buy and serve. And autumn, with its many important celebrations, brings the gathering of summer’s bounty, and the fall harvest yields many of the country’s characteristic ingredients.
Fårikål (Lamb in Cabbage)
Fårikål is Norway’s national dish. A casserole of seasonal lamb and cabbage makes this simple dish a favorite autumn treat. It is traditionally served with new potatoes, cowberry sauce and crispy flat bread with a cold local beer on the side (but ice water allows the flavor to be savored). Norwegians expect this dish to get ugly. In fact, if it looks too pretty you probably haven’t done it right.
Picarones con Miel de Especias (Peruvian Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Fritters with Spiced Syrup)
Picarones are one of the most classic Peruvian desserts, consumed in the fall in mercados and restaurants alike. Picarones are made with a combination of zapallo (pumpkin) and camote dulce (sweet potato), scented with cinnamon, star anise, and pineapple, giving them their characteristic crisp exterior, soft interior, and naturally sweet flavor.
Gołąbki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls)
Golabki (pronounced ga-WUMP-kee) means "little pigeons" in Polish and is a reference to their size and shape. These stuffed cabbage rolls simmered in a tomato sauce are popular throughout Eastern Europe. In Russia they are known as golubtsy. In Ukraine they are called holubtsi. Hungarians refer to them as töltött káposzta.
Baked Haggis with Neeps and Tatties (Sheep pudding with potatoes and turnips)
This is a traditional Scottish dish most people either love or hate, given its unique list of ingredients. Haggis is usually made by combining sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs) with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, soaked in stock and then boiled in the sheep's stomach. Haggis is traditionally served as part of the Burns supper annually on January 25th, when Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, is celebrated. Baking this traditional Scottish meat pudding gives a light, savory, mealy flavor that's pure heaven.
Huesos de santos (Saints’ Bones)
During the last two weeks or so of October, the display cases of Madrid’s pastry shops fill with neat piles of “Saint’s Bones” to celebrate the November 1st All Saints Day holiday. These sugary treats are made from an almond marzipan paste which is formed into a hollow roll representing a bone. The bone is then filled with super sweet “marrow” made of egg yolk and sugar.
Yum! I already have a long list of great recipes that I want to cook with my kids this fall. Those pumpkin coconut balls and the sweet potato and pumpkin fritters sound amazing. But what would this article be without some traditional fall recipes from the United States? For your upcoming holiday celebration, it is well worth it to try making your own homemade apple pie, and no Thanksgiving meal is complete without some yummy homemade cornbread dressing.
Just like every other country, every home in the United States has unique dishes of their own that they serve. My family loves sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie at our celebration, but I know that broccoli and cheese, mashed potatoes and cinnamon apples are popular in my friends’ homes. I think that’s the idea. You may have traditional family dishes that you always serve, but there’s nothing that says you can’t spice up your holidays if you find something new.
I hope you were able to find a little inspiration in the recipes above. Make this the best fall ever by giving some of these a shot. You won’t be sorry.
© 2018 Victoria Van Ness