31 October Dinner Ideas That Are Perfect for Sweater Weather

The leaves are changing color, the air is getting crisper and cans of pumpkin purée abound at the supermarket. Needless to say, we have all the fall feels right now, meaning we’re craving hearty meals that warm us up—and are just the thing for cozying up next to a roaring fire. Read on for 31 October dinner ideas that are satisfying, nourishing and sweater-season appropriate (think butternut squash risotto, sweet potato cheese fries and more).

105 Fall Dinner Ideas Starring Easy Seasonal Recipes

October 1: Pesto Quinoa Bowls with Roasted Veggies and Labneh

A dollop of seasoned labneh (or Greek yogurt) takes these healthy bowls from everyday to over the top.

October 2: Creamy Gochujang Zoodles

The primary purpose of zoodles? They’re a vehicle for all that luscious, spicy sauce. (Put an egg on it, if you please.)

October 3: 30-Minute Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Orecchiette

Salty, savory, tangy, cheesy—this autumn pasta hits all the right notes. The nine-ingredient delight gets its briny kick from apple cider vinegar.

October 4: Hearty Stuffed Butternut Squash

This year, we’re heading into butternut squash season with open minds and empty stomachs.

October 5: Polenta and Meatballs

For when even the kids are sick of spaghetti. Polenta isn't as fussy as you may think; you only have to stir this one every so often to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

October 6: Chicken and Snap Pea Stir Fry

When you’d rather be watching spooky movies than standing around in the kitchen, this 20-minute stir fry is exactly what you should make for dinner.

October 7: Skillet Gnocchi with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Something magical happens when you combine store-bought gnocchi, flavor-packed sausage and a cast iron skillet. (You guessed it: It’s this game-changing meal.)

October 8: Butternut Squash Carbonara

It’s creamy and dreamy without any butter or cream (though it is loaded with grated Parm). Squash is transformative like that.

October 9: Pork Milanese with Cucumber Yogurt

All these impossibly crisp fried chops need before you inhale them is a spritz of lemon. Use every bit of the fresh dill, chives and spring onions in the yogurt dip—herb stems are loaded with flavor.

October 10: Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: soup season. Celebrate with this bowl of coziness, starring store-bought, cheese-filled pasta and alllll the Parmesan cheese.

October 11: Prosciutto and Fig Salad Board

Our favorite part about this charcuterie masterpiece? It's served on a chic cutting board, so all the toppings are easily accessible instead of trapped at the bottom of a bowl.

October 12: Tandoori-Inspired Roast Cauliflower Bowls with Tahini

A slew of warm spices (ginger! turmeric! cumin!) make this vegetarian dish a worthy alternative to traditional tandoori chicken. And the tahini sauce? You'll want to drizzle it on every salad you make this fall, trust.

October 13: Classic Stuffed Peppers

Only 40 minutes stand between you and this beefy dinner staple. Feel free to use pesto, vodka sauce or cream sauce instead of marinara in the stuffed pepper filling.

October 14: Mushroom Carnitas

Carnitas tacos, but make 'em vegetarian. The garlic-thyme shrooms are served on pita bread instead of tortillas with a generous dose of pickled beet mayo.

October 15: Bacon-Wrapped Black Cod with Spinach and Capers

Flaky fish, crispy bacon, garlicky greens and briny capers—what more can you ask for in a lightning-fast seafood dish? You handle dinner, we'll bring the white wine.

October 16: Sausage, Corn and Poblano Chowder

It’s spicy, sweet, hearty and just so happens to keep really well in the freezer. Need we say more?

October 17: Warm Ginger-Scallion Pork & Kale Salad

Cold weather calls for warm salads. Raw kale can be tough to chew on, but sautéing it in a zingy honey-ginger dressing for a couple minutes will soften it just right.

October 18: Antoni Porowski’s Strip Steak with Harissa Butter and Parsley Salad

Whether you're cooking for an intimate date night or an elegant dinner party, you can never go wrong with seared steak. (BTW, the parsley salad will change how you see the underrated herb forever.)

October 19: Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks

This risotto sounds and looks complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Butternut squash purée is stirred in with chicken broth, and the results are *chef’s kiss.*

October 20: Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots

Save the kale Caesar for another night. This salad is packed with fall flavors, plus plenty of chickpeas to fill you up.

October 21: Garlic Shrimp Mafaldine

This buttery meal will make you fall in love with shellfish (and pasta) all over again. Try to find whole, head-on shrimp—they add so much flavor to the sauce and tint it a pretty coral color.

October 22: Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios

Give us the chance to eat sweet, creamy squash as a main course and we’ll take it. The combination of lemony yogurt sauce and brown butter is—dare we say—divine.

October 23: Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Barley Risotto

Who needs bowls when you can lean on big, juicy mushrooms instead? This meal tastes decadent, but it’s actually pretty healthy.

October 24: One-Pan Roasted Chicken with Carrots

You can’t go wrong with this pairing. We love the way the carrots soak up some of the chicken's flavorful juices as they cook.

October 25: Fall Cobb Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries and a to-die-for maple dressing put this salad firmly in fall territory. Drive the theme home by adding winter squash or broccoli to boot.

October 26: Roasted Squash and Tofu with Soy, Honey, Chili and Ginger

The key to crispy tofu is to press all the liquid out before cooking it, so don’t skip that step. Serve the squash with rice on the side to create a filling main course.

October 27: Salmon with Pesto and Blistered Tomatoes

Hit the farmers market for the prettiest cherry tomatoes you can find one last time before winter comes. Then, bake them with garlic and plate them with tender salmon, coated in store-bought pesto.

October 28: Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

Typically, you’d spend at least an hour caramelizing onions on your stovetop for this soup. Our recipe relies on the trusty slow cooker instead to keep it low-maintenance.

October 29: Cauliflower, Pomegranate and Apple Salad

Salad for dinner isn’t just a summer thing. This one has roast cauliflower and crisp apples, so it’s satisfying, seasonal and light at the same time.

October 30: Sweet Potato Cheese Fries

Mischief night calls for a scary delicious—and devilishly nostalgic—dinner. Pepitas, sweet spuds and dried cranberries are sure to get you in the Halloween spirit.

October 31: Pumpkin Soup In Mini Pumpkin Bowls

It’s Halloween. If you’re not eating dinner straight out of a pumpkin, you’re doing it wrong. Bonus points for topping the soup with toasted pepitas from this year's jack-o'-lantern.

The 50 Best Pumpkin Recipes to Make All Fall Long

For even more great recipes, check out our first cookbook, Only the Good Stuff.

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

Katherine Gillen

Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...
read full bio

taryn pire
Taryn Pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...
read full bio