Fall Fruit and Vegetable Side Dishes

As I write this the true beginning of fall is more than two weeks off, and even when it arrives it will be a few more weeks before temperatures really cool and leaves change. But this weekend has been beautiful fall weather. The highs have been between 70 and 73, rain has been steady but not heavily. The world smells fresh and clean with summer's dust cleared from the air. And so my cat and I have spent several hours sitting out on the balcony just enjoying the weather.

Although I'm...MORE eating the last of summer's peaches, corn, and tomatoes I'm looking forward to the fall vegetables and fruits and some of my favorite recipes.

  • 01 of 05

    Mashed Rutabaga with Maple Syrup and Bourbon

    Mashed Rutabaga
    ABERRATION FILMS LTD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

    When I was growing up rutabaga was served at Thanksgiving far more often than sweet potatoes. It's a sweet vegetable (albeit more like a winter squash than sweet potatoes) with a hearty texture. Growing up we usually had them just mashed with butter, but I've gussied up this version and it makes a nice change from ordinary mashed potatoes and from sweet potatoes.

  • 02 of 05
    Pot of stewed apples
    Rekha Garton / Getty Images

    Is there anything that speaks more to autumn than apples? We enjoy apple pies, crisps, and brown betties for dessert and add apples to braised cabbage. I'm particularly fond of stewed apples, an incredibly easy dish to prepare even when you get fancy as I do here. You could serve these hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert and they're great wrapped in buckwheat crepes with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, but I like them as a side dish.

  • 03 of 05

    Pureed Cauliflower: Smooth, Rich, Tangy

    Osso Bucco with cauliflower puree
    " Julia’s Osso Bucco with cauliflower pure" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by  avlxyz

    Cauliflower Puree sounds a bit like a Gerber food product for toothless infants - it's not, by any stretch. Cauliflower is one of the world's most misunderstood vegetables. An afterthought in raw vegetable platters or steamed and drenched in butter, too often the vegetable's essential flavor is ignored. This recipe begins by steaming the cauliflower, but then reduces it to a thick pudding and adds cream and butter, but the tangy goat cheese really kicks it over the top.

  • 04 of 05
    California, San Benito County, Buttercup squash after harvest
    California, San Benito County, Buttercup squash after harvest. WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

    The other day at the farmers' market I ran across a variety of winter squash I hadn't seen before - Buttercup. Always willing to try something new and as a long-time squash lover, I bought a small one, which I decided to bake and mash for supper that night. Although I used buttercup, in fact, any hard winter squash such as butternut or hubbard will work.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Braised Red Cabbage: Lightly Sweet and Beautifully Purple

    Belly pork with braised red cabbage
    Belly pork with braised red cabbage. L Alfonse / Getty Images

    Braised Red Cabbage is a wonderful side dish, particularly with pork. In fact, cooked cabbage, in general, is a great side dish and cabbage is one of those dishes that cooks well in the microwave. But in this case, use a skillet or saute pan, bake a couple of pork chops or try it with this sausage ragu.