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The 5 Best Fall Vegetarian and Vegan Dishes

Autumn is still here, y’all. We love to jump the gun this time of year and go straight for winter’s splendor. And while we can’t blame you, especially given what we’ve all dealt with over the last year and a half, let’s not forget about fall and its many great opportunities for great eating.

It’s a wonderful time of year for produce, making vegetarian dishes all the easier to create (and thoroughly enjoy). If you like meat, so be it, maybe get more creative with your sides or try one of these dishes for fun. If you’re a vegetarian, it’s a fine time to put together some satisfying meals with real heart and soul.

Here are some of the best vegetarian and vegan recipes to try out during the remainder of 2021.

Kale Sauce with Any Noodle

Dark leafy greens like kale, chard, and spinach
CSU Extension / Pixabay

This Josh McFadden recipe from Six Seasons is great to have on hand as it can accompany just about any kind of pasta.


  • 1 lb kale, thick ribs cut out
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • .75 cup freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • .5 lb pasta (rigatoni works great)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper


  1. Bring large pot of water to boil and add salt.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, put the garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil into a small heavy pot or skillet over medium heat and cook until garlic begins to sizzle. Reduce heat to low and gently cook until the garlic is light golden, soft, and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Pour the oil and garlic into a bowl so it can cool quickly.
  3. Add kale leaves to boiling water and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Pull them out with tongs and transfer to blender.
  4. Add pasta to still-boiling water and cool until al dente. Scoop out a cup of the pasta water, then drain the noodles.
  5. Process the kale in blender with oil and garlic, adding just a bit of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer drained pasta back to pot and pour in kale puree. Add half the cheese and toss well. Add a touch more pasta water and toss until pasta noodles are well coated with a bright green, creamy-textured sauce. Serve right away with drizzle of oil and rest of cheese.

Braised Tempeh with Madeira Sauce

Braised Tempeh dish.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This recipe comes from the online culinary school Rouxbe, which just released the third edition of its cookbook. These recipes tend to involve a little more work, but the payoff is tremendous.

Braised Tempeh Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 oz) packages of tempeh
  • .5 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 piece of ginger (2-inches)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • .25 tsp sea salt
  • 5 cups water


  1. To start, slice the garlic and thinly slice about 8 pieces of ginger.
  2. In a large pot, combine the tamari, garlic, ginger, salt, and water and bring to a simmer.
  3. To prepare the tempeh, cut each piece of tempeh into about 10 thin slices, diagonally. Add the tempeh to the pot and continue to gently simmer for at least 45 minutes.

Dredging and Frying Ingredients:

  • .75 cup unbleached white flour
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
  • .25 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp onion granules or powder
  • 1.5 tbsp minced fresh rosemary (optional)


  1. Once the tempeh is ready, drain onto a tray lined with a cooling rack or something that will allow the tempeh to dry as it cools.
  2. Place the flour, nutritional yeast, onion granules, and rosemary into a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Next, dredge the pieces of tempeh in the flour mixture, making sure the pieces are completely coated. If you need more moisture on the tempeh dip them in the braising liquid before dredging.
  4. To fry the tempeh, heat a large fry pan over medium to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil, followed by the tempeh. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on the first side, or until nice and golden. Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Remove from the pan and set aside while you prepare the sauce.
  5. The tempeh will also keep well in a warm oven while you make the sauce.

Sauce and Finishing Ingredients:

  • 2 small shallots (approx. 3 tbsp), minced
  • 2.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 cups Madeira wine
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • .5 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1.5 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 2.5 tbsp non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • .25 cup cold water


  1. Using the same fry pan, add the olive oil and sauté the shallots over medium-low heat for 2 or 3 minutes, or until translucent and starting to brown.
  2. Next, add the wine, thyme, and bay leaves. Let simmer until reduced by half.
  3. Once reduced, add the broth and the crushed peppercorns. Let the sauce cook for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the arrowroot and water.
  5. After 12-15 minutes, whisk in the arrowroot and water mixture. Once you have reached the desired consistency, let simmer for a minute or so to cook out any arrowroot or cornstarch flavor. At this point, turn off the heat, and if using, whisk in the vegan “butter.” Lastly, taste for seasoning.
  6. To serve the dish pour this aromatic sauce over the tempeh once plated.

Stewed Collards with Beans and a Parmigiano Rind

Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

This Joshua McFadden recipe from Six Seasons is incredibly hearty and nourishing, taking advantage of old cheese bits that add salt, flavor, and texture to the stew. The original calls for shell beans, but really any kind can work, from navy and kidney to Great Northern beans.


  • 4-5 cups beans
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 rind from Parmigiano cheese wedge
  • 1 big rosemary sprig
  • 1 small dried chili
  • 1 bunch collards, ribs cut out
  • Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Add oil to deep pot and cook the garlic and onion.
  2. Add beans with liquid from can, along with cheese rind, rosemary, chili, and collards. It may take a few minutes for the collards to wilt enough to actually submerge in the liquid. Add water if needed.
  3. Simmer until the beans are fully tender as well as collards. The cheese will just soften and contribute its flavor to the dish.
  4. When things have cooked, remove pot from heat and let rest for 30 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and whole chili. You can reheat before serving, if you like, but flavors and textures will be best if warm, not hot.

Cauliflower Steak with Mushroom Peppercorn Sauce

Cauliflower Steak with Peppercorn Sauce.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Another Rouxbe recipe selection, this recipe functions just like a steak, with rich, earthy flavors that linger.

Cauliflower Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves and stem trimmed (don’t core, keep some of stem)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup vermouth or dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • .5 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a 9×11 baking dish, mix together the garlic, stock, vermouth, bay leaves, and salt. *Note: The amount of salt you add will depend on how salty your stock is to begin with. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  2. Place the cauliflower into the liquid and cover tightly with foil. Carefully transfer to the oven and let bake for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Ultimately, the time will depend on how thick the ‘steaks’ are and your oven.
  3. Test the ‘steaks’ periodically. When a knife goes in somewhat easily the cauliflower is done. Note: The cauliflower should be cooked through, but still a bit firm. If it’s too soft, it will fall apart during frying.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • .75 lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • .25 cup shallots, minced
  • .25 cup brandy
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups stock
  • .5 tbsp oil
  • .5 tbsp non-dairy butter


  1. To prepare the sauce, first gather and prepare all of your mise en place.
  2. Next, heat a large stainless steel fry pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and butter, followed by the shallots. Let the shallots cook until they just start to brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Then, add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms until they start to release their juices and start to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. At this point, carefully deglaze with the brandy and let cook for a minute or so, or until most of brandy has evaporated. Next, add the stock, turn down the heat and let simmer while you pan-fry the cauliflower ‘steaks’.

Searing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy butter


  1. Once the cauliflower is ready, carefully remove the foil from the baking dish, making sure you don’t burn yourself from the steam.
  2. At this point, remove the ‘steaks’ from the liquid and place onto a plate lined with paper towel. Blot the top of the cauliflower with paper towel as well. This step helps ensure you get a nice golden crust.
  3. Next, crush the peppercorns on a cutting board—a heavy fry pan works well for this. Then, carefully place the cauliflower into the crushed peppercorns and gently press to ensure some of the peppercorns stick to the cauliflower. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  4. Next, heat a large fry pan—or better yet, a cast iron skillet—over medium heat. Once hot, add the oil and butter, followed by the cauliflower. Let the cauliflower cook for about 4 to 6 minutes, or until golden brown on each side. Try not to fiddle with the pieces too much, otherwise the ‘steaks’ will start to fall apart.
  5. Once done, set aside while you finish the sauce.

Finishing Ingredients:

  •  1/3 cup cashew cream (optional)
  •  sea salt, to taste
  •  2 tbsp slurry, or as needed


  1. To finish the sauce, taste for seasoning, adding salt as needed. Next, add the slurry. For the slurry, either cornstarch or flour can be used. Slowly add the slurry until you reach a nice sauce-like consistency.
  2. If desired add the cashew cream. Note that the cashew cream will change the color of the sauce. It will go from a rich dark brown mushroom color to a light brown-beige colored sauce. However, the taste of the sauce with the added cream is delicious!
  3. As an experiment, you could remove some of the sauce from the pan, before you add the cream. Then, taste the sauce with and without the cream, to decide for yourself, which one you prefer the look and taste of.
  4. If you are using the above Cashew Cream, note that you will likely want to add a bit more water to the recipe. For a very neutral flavored cream, you can omit the lemon juice and apple cider from the recipe if desired.

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard, Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Chiles

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A Six Seasons  recipe that brings some much-needed color and freshness to late autumn.


  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced, leaves torn into strips
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • .5 tsp dried chile flakes
  • .5 cup pine nuts
  • .5 cup raisins
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar


  1. Combine raisins, a splash of vinegar, and warm water just to cover in a bowl and plump for 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt. Add spaghetti. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain pasta when done.
  3. Meanwhile, pour a healthy glug of oil into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and pine nuts and let them toast very slowly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add chili flakes and cook for another 10 seconds so they can bloom, then add the drained raisins.
  4. Increase heat to medium, add chard stems, season with a bit of salt and black pepper, and cook slowly until stems are slightly tender, 3-4 minutes. Add torn chard leaves and a splash of pasta water, cover the pan, and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add drained pasta and butter to chard and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Grate cheese over everything, drizzle with more oil, and pile into bowls.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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