Maybe butternut squash and tahini isn't going to win any innovation awards, maybe brussels sprouts and fish sauce is old news to you now that it's 2016, but these flavor combinations work for a reason: They're reliably delicious.
So here, our all-star, old-school flavor duos: our favorite fall vegetables, the particular tastes (and ingredients) they're happiest with, and some ideas for going from there.
+ funk (fish sauce, anchovies)
+ heat (Sriracha, chile)
- Cook down anchovies in hot olive oil, then add shaved brussels sprouts and sauté just until softened. Mix into pasta! Add Parmesan.
- Make this chicken and nuoc cham salad but use blanched brussels sprouts in place of the radishes.
- Douse roasted sprouts, hot from the oven, in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and a couple drops of honey. Mix into a seaweed salad and shower with sesame seeds.
Butternut and Acorn Squash
+ creaminess (tahini, ricotta, melty cheeses)
+ sweetness (maple syrup, honey, caramelized onions)
- Caramelize red onions on the stove with capers and thyme while you roast chunks of squash in the oven. Add the squash to the pan of onions and add a splash of red wine vinegar. Serve over farro.
- Scoop roasted squash into a food processor with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Squash dip!
- Savory squash galette: ricotta, slices of roasted squash, Gruyère, and a drizzle of honey in a whole-wheat crust.
+ acidity (citrus, vinegar)
+ tang (goat cheese, Greek yogurt, crème fraîche)
+ smokiness (smoked paprika, smoked mozzarella, smoked almonds, and the char of the grill or broiler)
- Fry broccoli slabs in oil on the stovetop (as is done with cauliflower in this recipe), pile on a sandwich roll, tear smoked mozzarella over top, then broil until melty.
- Riff on Shaved Broccoli Stalk Salad by roasting the florets until blackene and using smoked almonds instead of Marcona.
+ lots of salt
- Make Salt-Crusted Potatoes. Once they're cool, cube them and toss them with kale that's been massaged with oil and roasted garlic.
- Sauté washed kale in a super-hot pan so that it blisters. Then stir into garlic or French onion soup, before it gets its bread hat.
+ earthy warming spices (cumin and coriander)
+ and/or tart-sweetness (figs, raisins)
- Coat cauliflower florets in a batter of chickpea flour, water, coriander, cayenne, and cumin. Fry in 1/4 inch of grapeseed oil and serve with Greek yogurt that's been thinned with olive oil and flavored with the same spices you used in the batter.
- Sprinkle cauliflower with chaat masala before roasting, then serve over your favorite dal—or, even easier, over canned chickpeas warmed on the stove with olive oil and garlic (and curry leaves!).
+ bright sweetness (honey, pomegranate molasses)
+ peppery heat (harissa, roasted red peppers)
+ zing (ginger, preserved lemon, vinegar and/or pickles)
- Stir together harissa, pomegranate (or date!) molasses, and some olive oil. Mix it into almost-fully-roasted carrots and send back into the oven until the dressing has reduced into a sticky glaze.
- Make a salad of julienned carrots, pitted and chopped Medjool dates, and tons of fresh parsley. Add teeny bits of crystallized ginger and dress with a lemony vinaigrette.