From McIntosh and Gala to Honeycrisp and Granny Smith, apples abound in autumn, bringing a fresh, juicy crunch to classic dishes. These ubiquitous little treats flood our local grocers’ produce aisles, tempting us with rich hues of ruby and garnet, streaked with amber and chartreuse. Unlike other holiday temptations (pecan pie, anyone?), this is one worth indulging—apples are rich in cancer-preventative antioxidant compounds and contain fiber and vitamin C. With a fruit that’s as versatile as it is nutritious, why not incorporate it into every aspect of your holiday meal?
As a fancy first course or a simple lunch, soup and salad redefine a healthy, filling meal. Apples add an unmistakable tang to crisp, green salads, but the apple-, banana-, and cucumber-filled Polynesian Salad with Curry Dressing will add a suprising tropical touch to your meal. With a broad variety of apples coming into season in the late fall, why not just make Paw Paw’s Apple Salad to pair with any savory soup? Speaking of soup, most people wouldn’t think to put fruit in a velvety smooth squash soup, but a few fresh apples add tartness to Mouthwatering Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. In Kale and Apple Soup, just a teaspoon of brown sugar adds an apple-pie flavor to this supremely nutritious soup. Tasty Tart Carrot Apple Soup is perfect for anyone short on ingredients (it requires just three plus salt and pepper) and adds a bright orange splash of color to gray fall days.
Par For The (Main) Course
Think apples can’t be the key ingredient in every component of a holiday meal? Think again—from pearl barley to sweet potatoes, grains and veggies baked with apples will take a traditional meal to the next level. Apples also blend well with spicy curry, such as in Warm Curried Chickpeas with Apples and Acorn Squash with Curried Apples. For a hearty main course, bake up a Yummy Nut Roast—with earthy herbs like basil, thyme, and sage, apples will naturally add a complementary tang to this filling fare. It’s a well-known fact that with holiday meals comes leftovers that somehow taste even better than day one, so don’t waste the rest of that Tofurky! Instead, add some fruit and make a scrumptious Tofurky Apple Grape Salad Sandwich.
Beyond the Apple-tini
Why eat your apples when they can be sipped? Start the day off on the right foot with an Awesome Apple Shake or amp up breakfast with the quintessential flavor of maple in an Apple Walnut Smoothie. Trust us—it beats pancakes any day of the week. As the weather cools down, warm drinks only get hotter, especially those with apples. Sip on some Chai Spiced Cider or Hot Holiday Apple Punch to stay toasty—the addition of aromatic cinnamon and vanilla bean is perfect for autumn. And when your holiday party really gets going, make sure to include apples in the essential elixirs, such as in a fruity burgundy Sangria. On the other hand, “Apple Pie Booze” are the only three words you need to say to your guests. It’s hard to resist the temptation to drink your dessert. Or eat it. Or both. Speaking of dessert…
Sure, everyone needs a fix of hot apple pie around Thanksgiving, but with such adaptable apples, why limit your dessert horizons? To start, you don’t need to stray too far from pie heaven if you whip up an Apple Puff Pastry, which bursts with soft, sweet apples and crunchy pecans. Or, bake Grandma Jeanette’s Apple Strudel, a recipe from the family of the Spork Sisters—these girls know their stuff when it comes to desserts! Light Applesauce Cake will satisfy any sweet tooth without the use of added sugar. Or, dare to venture into the world of apple mania and bake a Caramel Apple Pizza. We won’t judge.
With literally thousands of recipes and dozens of types, apples are an amazing addition to nearly anything. Don’t be afraid to get creative, as there’s no wrong way when it comes to seasonal apples.