Capital One BrandVoice: Creative Recipes That Give Fall Foods A New Twist

Forbes Lifestyle 2 weeks ago

By Natalie Burg

Pumpkin, cranberry, sage, nutmeg, sweet potato—these flavors say “fall” just as clearly as colorful leaves and chilly mornings do. This year, why not shake up your traditional autumn menu by exploring those tastes in a new way? 

Creative chefs across the U.S. are reimagining seasonal culinary classics with delicious results. Here are a few ways to delight—and surprise—your family with fall flavors this year.

Cutting Fresh Pumpkins for Roasting in the Oven
These dishes are sure to add some seasonal spirit to your kitchen.

Butternut Squash Pizza

The butternut squash is everywhere in autumn. But once you've made a couple of batches of butternut squash soup and roasted up some squash cubes, what next? 

Zoe Robinson, the restaurateur behind the Billie Jean and other St. Louis-area restaurants, suggests pizza. Yes, pizza.

“This pizza is one of our favorite fall dishes," Robinson said. "The sweet fall flavor of the squash, the saltiness of the Parmigiana, the smokiness of the speck and the heat from the chilis is truly unique.” 

Robinson said vegetarians will find this dish just as delicious without the meat. 


  • Your favorite pizza dough recipe
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded and sliced very thin. (You’ll have extra squash, which you can freeze for use later.) 
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella 
  • 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 Fresno pepper sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh sage 
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon brown butter 
  • Sliced speck or prosciutto ham (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you're using a pizza stone, place it in the oven to preheat now.
  2. Roll out dough to desired thickness. 
  3. Heat the grapeseed oil on medium-high and fry the sage leaves for a minute or two until crispy. Place on a paper towel. If you’re using a pizza pan, put your dough on it according to your dough recipe instructions. If you’re using a pre-heated pizza stone, dust it with flour or cornmeal. 
  4. Toss the squash in olive oil with salt and pepper and then place it evenly over the pizza dough. Add pine nuts and the Fresno pepper. Top with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. 
  5. Put in the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Keep your eye on it to avoid burning.
  6. Remove pizza and drizzle with brown butter and place sage leaves on top. If desired, top with thinly sliced speck or prosciutto. 

Pear Ginger Chai

Chai is a great fall drink because the spices in it overlap almost entirely with those that are used in “pumpkin spice” mixtures—including nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Chicago’s Chiya Chai Cafe takes that autumnal flavor to the next level by integrating pear into the mix. 

Owner Swadesh Shrestha calls pear "an often forgotten, but quintessential fall fruit" that’s rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. "The sweetness of the fruit, complemented by the heat of warming ginger and the aromatic flavors of our signature chai spices, especially in the colder months, makes for a perfect fall drink."


  • ½ cup chai concentrate (Chiya Chai recommends its own small-batch variety)
  • ½ cup coconut, almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed ginger juice
  • 2 tablespoon organic pear juice


  1. Pour all ingredients in a cup
  2. Stir with a spoon
  3. Heat the cup in microwave for 1.5 minutes or over the stove top until the chai is close to a boil.

Pollo A La Parilla Tacos

Your family may not be ready to replace its beloved sweet-potatoes-and-marshmallows dish on Thanksgiving, but there's plenty of time outside the holiday to play around with those pleasantly orange tubers.  

Chef Pepe Barajas of La Josie in Chicago has a taco that could change the way your family thinks about sweet potatoes. Loaded with chicken, pumpkin seeds and butternut squash as well as with sweet potatoes, these are tacos that will impress at any dinner this season. 

"The autumn season allows us to be really creative with our tacos," Barajas said. "While the weather still allows you to utilize the grill for chicken, the sweet potato and butternut squash can be roasted to caramelize the flavors and balance the smoke from the grill."

The best part? After a bit of chopping and preparatory roasting, the recipe is simple. 


  • Soft corn tortilla, warmed 
  • Grilled chicken, chopped
  • Sweet potato
  • Butternut squash


  1. Chop sweet potato and butternut squash into 1-inch cubes. Roast sweet potato at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until crispy. Roast butternut squash until at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until caramelized.
  2. Assemble chicken, sweet potato and butternut squash in tortillas. 
  3.  Top with pumpkin seeds and your favorite sauce. 

Roasted Guinea Hen With Chestnut Puree And Glazed Cranberries

If you're looking for something unusual to invigorate your family's fall menu, Chef Martial Noguier's guinea hen recipe is the dish to try. This multi-step preparation offers a new take on cranberries and chestnuts.

“[It's] perfect for the season because it utilizes fall ingredients, but is still light and delicate—a welcome break from stews and hearty dishes," said Noguier, owner of Bistronomic in Chicago. "We use the cranberry because it is an autumn favorite.”

The acidity provides a nice counterpoint to the dish’s fattiness, he said.

Stuffing the meat with duxelles, a creamy chopped mushroom mixture, makes the dish that much more luxurious.


For the mushroom duxelles:

  • 1 cup diced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraiche

For the guinea hen:

  • 2 whole guinea hens
  • 4 cups brown chicken stock

For the sauce: 

  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 4 shallots, sliced
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1/4 yuzu juice
  • ½ cup brandy
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • 4 cups brown chicken stock

For the ragout:

  • 1 lb. baby turnips, blanched
  • ½ lb. pearl onions, blanched and peeled
  • ½ pint cranberries
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoon garlic, blanched and sliced

For the chestnut puree:

  • 30 chestnuts
  • 1 tablespoon duck fat
  • 1 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup crème fraiche


For the mushroom duxelles:

  1. Sweat the shallots. Add diced shiitake mushrooms. Deglaze with white wine. Reduce until almost dry. 
  2. Add heavy cream and reduce. 
  3. Finish with crème frâiche. Chill.

For the guinea hen:

  1. Clean and trim hen breasts. 
  2. Braise legs and thighs in chicken stock until tender. 
  3. Shred meat and set aside for use in ragout. 
  4. Stuff breasts with chilled mushroom duxelles. 
  5. Pan-roast breasts over medium heat until medium.

For the sauce: 

  1. Sweat carrot, celery and shallot with garlic clove, bay leaf and black peppercorns. Deglaze with brandy and yuzu and then add cranberries. 
  2. Reduce until almost dry. 
  3. Add brown chicken stock. Simmer and reduce slightly. 
  4. Strain through a chinois. 

For the ragout: 

  1. Heat baby turnips, sliced blanched garlic, pearl onions, cranberries, shredded and braised guinea hen meat and chopped parsley with two ounces of sauce.

For the chestnut puree:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Using a small sharp knife or a chestnut knife, carve an "X" in the flat side of each chestnut. Place chestnuts in an even layer, "X" side down on a baking sheet.
  3. Transfer to oven and roast until opened, 10 to 12 minutes. 
  4. Peel immediately, using a towel if chestnuts are too hot to touch. Coarsely chop.
  5. Heat duck fat in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent. 
  6. Add chestnuts and cook for about one minute. Add vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. 
  7. After cooking, carefully transfer to a blender. Blend with crème frâiche until smooth. Add seasoning.
  8. Plate the chestnut puree in the center, add the ragout, position the guinea hen breasts on top, drizzle the sauce on the plate.

Whether you're looking for a simple but imaginative fall drink or a culinary challenge that will have your family tasting fall in a new way, these dishes are sure to add some seasonal spirit to your kitchen.

A former downtown development professional, Natalie Burg is a freelancer who writes about growth, entrepreneurialism and innovation.

This article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice, or to indicate the availability or suitability of any product or service for your unique circumstances.

Capital One does not provide, endorse, or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.

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