When the colder weather comes around, we often start craving tons of comfort foods and hearty meals. Those types of food are definitely good in moderation, but not all of the time! If you eat them too often, you might end up feeling heavy and sluggish. Luckily, there are ways to incorporate seasonal autumn foods in lighter ways. For instance, you can use ingredients like butternut squash, pumpkin, sage, pecans, and Brussels sprouts in salads, nourish bowls, or light casseroles.

We have a wonderful list of meals that you can make on days when you want to feel satisfied and nourished but don’t want to overindulge. You can make these meals for friends and family to serve at gatherings, too, since all of the recipes on this list have a gorgeous, impressive presentation. We absolutely recommend our Easy Greek Chicken Salad Bowls or the Autumn Couscous Salad, but why don’t you take a look at the options and see what stands out to you? After all, you might want to save more than one so you can switch up your menu!

1. Autumn Harvest Bowl

This harvest bowl is exactly how you would think that autumn would taste! It has wonderful seasonal ingredients while still remaining nice and light. Some of the components include apples, dried cranberries, sweet potatoes, and maple tahini dressing. It also has goat cheese and quinoa! This recipe is so special because it is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian-friendly.

2. Bruschetta Chicken Casserole

Casseroles don’t always have to be super heavy! This light and delicious recipe by Clean Food Crush has unique flavors and a vibrant appearance. Some of the ingredients include chicken, fresh tomatoes, savory garlic, and milky mozzarella cheese. To top it off, you can add herbs like basil and oregano, plus some balsamic vinegar to give it a slight tangy undertone. This recipe has around four servings, which is perfect for small families.

3. Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers are always a nice, light, yet satisfying dinner everyone will love. This recipe combines rice, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese. You have the opportunity to use either ground beef or ground turkey, depending on what your preferences are! You will also need some Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. We suggest drizzling some hot sauce on these as a finishing touch!

4. Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Salad

Have you tried Ina Garten’s Butternut Squash Salad? It tastes just as good as it looks! It’s perfect for this time of year. It combines both sweet and savory flavors for an unforgettable meal. Some of the components are Maple syrup, dried cranberries, butternut squash cubes, shallots, dijon mustard, and arugula. You can also add walnuts and parmesan cheese, which taste absolutely scrumptious on the salad!

5. Maple Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

This chicken dinner recipe has comforting flavors but won’t leave you feeling too bloated for the rest of the night. The chicken comes out perfectly browned since the Maple syrup glaze caramelizes on it. Additionally, sauteed sweet potatoes turn out incredibly tender; all you need is olive oil, salt and pepper, and butter to season them. This simple yet delicious meal you can cook in under an hour!

6. Autumn Couscous Salad

A couscous salad is incredible for dinner because you can eat it as a light meal. If you feel that it isn’t substantial enough, you can always add some ground turkey too! The recipe has butternut squash, Pearl couscous, dried currants, cranberries, sage, and more. It has a dressing with apple juice, canola oil, and red wine vinegar that is tangy and complements the savory components.

7. Mediterranean Zucchini Boats

Foodie Crush shared this recipe, which will soothe your hunger and impress your taste buds. This would be a wonderful dinner to serve at a party because it looks incredibly sophisticated even though it is easy to make! Rather than making a filling and serving it over a bed of pasta, you can load it into a zucchini to make it light. The filling for these zucchini boats has ground turkey sausage, onions, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts.

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8. Easy Greek Chicken Salad Bowls

Our Greek-style chicken balls are incredibly nourishing and work as a lunch or a dinner. The protein from the chicken and the numerous veggies will fulfill your body’s nutrient needs. Some of the best ingredients include chicken, dijon mustard, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, and avocado. Adding black olives, feta cheese, and fresh lemon takes this dinner to the next level! This is also a great meal for a meal prep.

9. Vegetarian Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna

Next time you have a meatless Monday, swap your traditional meaty lasagna for this refreshing fall-inspired vegetarian lasagna! With pumpkin, spinach, ricotta, and cheese flavors, this dinner is incredibly indulgent. The best part is that your kids will gobble this up! We suggest using warm spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to complement the pumpkin in the recipe. It is super tasty to use pumpkin in a savory way!

10. Sheet Pan Teriyaki Salmon

Salmon is always a refreshing option when you want something lighter. This recipe is a sheet pan dinner where you can cook salmon alongside fresh, crisp vegetables like green beans and carrots. Additionally, the salmon has a scrumptious glaze, and you can top it with sesame seeds and green onions to give it an impressive presentation! The best part? This is super quick, coming in at a total of 30 minutes needed in the kitchen.

11. Shaved Brussels and Pear Salad With Manchego

Now, this is what we call a salad! Dishing Out Health posted this recipe that is ideal for autumn because it has pumpkin seeds, dried apples, and shaved Brussels sprouts. This recipe will make you wonder why you ever had boring salads with minimal components. When you try it, you will realize that it doesn’t take much effort to assemble, and it is worth including unique ingredients like pears, manchego cheese, lemon Dijon dressing, and more.

12. Fall Pasta Salad

Although this fall-inspired pasta salad can work as a side dish, you can easily enjoy it as a main dish! If you feel it won’t satisfy you, you can always add shredded chicken to give it more substance. However, this recipe is packed with ingredients like broccoli, red onion, carrots, dried cranberries, pecans, and pasta. It has a Maple Dijon dressing with apple cider vinegar, which brings out the wonderful natural flavors in the veggies.

13. Mushroom, Sausage, and Spinach Strata

Strata is a versatile dish for breakfast, lunch, or in this case, dinner! It is similar to savory bread pudding. This recipe has bread, sausage, onions, mushrooms, and garlic. It also has comforting flavors of fresh thyme, eggs, gouda cheese, and butter. This eggy dish is a wonderful addition to your dinner menu in the fall. We suggest enjoying it while it is fresh out of the oven!

14. Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Soups with veggies and herbs are perfect for the colder months! This sleep will warm your soul on a chilly day. It has a flavorful blend of carrots, celery, chicken, mushrooms, and onions. It has the perfect balance of chicken stock and half-and-half, making it not too heavy but just right. You can include fresh parsley, black pepper, and thyme to impart a deeper flavor to the soup. We suggest serving this with garlic bread!

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