31 October Dinner Ideas That Are Perfect for Sweater Weather

Think cozy risottos, hearty chowders and more

october dinners universal
Photo: Christine Han/Styling: Erin McDowell

The leaves are changing, the weather is cooling down and cans of pumpkin purée abound at the supermarket—and it’s giving us all the fall feels. In other words, we’re craving hearty meals that warm us up (without too much effort) and are best enjoyed next to a roaring fire. Here, 31 October dinner ideas that are satisfying, nourishing and sweater season-approved, like 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. Fresh herbs and lemon juice offer all the bright, fresh flavor you crave.

October 2: Creamy Gochujang Zoodles

The primary purpose of zoodles? They’re a vehicle for all that luscious, spicy sauce—and a great way to use up that leftover summer squash on your counter. Put an egg on it, if you please.

October 3: 30-Minute Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Orecchiette

Salty, savory, tangy and cheesy, this autumn pasta checks all the right boxes. 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. These tender beauties are filled with quinoa, chickpeas, hazelnuts, roasted red peppers and a generous dose of Gruyère.

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: Rotisserie Chicken Ramen

All the fixins' of your favorite noodle soup, minus the heavy lifting. Shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken makes it super satiating, while beef and chicken broths, soy sauce and chile garlic sauce infuse each spoonful with umami.

October 7: Butternut Squash Carbonara

It’s dreamy and decadent without any butter or cream (though it is loaded with grated Parm). We have squash to thank for its rich texture.

October 8: Leftover Pasta Frittata

When you'd rather be watching spooky movies than standing around in the kitchen, this 15-minute frittata is exactly what you should make for dinner. You'll only need one pan, one bowl and seven ingredients (including last night's pasta) to pull it off.

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: Roasted Cauliflower Sliders

Hot take: Fall is the best time of year to grill outdoors. So if you feel like enjoying alfresco-appropriate temps while they last, we'd suggest charring the cauli slices on the grates instead of roasting them in the oven.

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. Ingenious, if you ask us.

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 plant-based. The garlic-thyme shrooms are served on pita bread instead of tortillas with a generous dose of pickled beet mayo.

October 15: Skillet Eggs and Chorizo

This low-lift breakfast-for-dinner idea is as simple as it is robustly flavorful. Think spicy Mexican-style chorizo, canned tomatoes, chipotle chile flakes, tangy feta cheese, runny eggs and a dollop of sour cream to cool it all down.

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? (P.S.: The recipe calls for frozen or canned kernels, so you can make this summer-inspired dish all year round.)

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 of 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 forever change how you see the underrated herb.)

October 19: Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks

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

October 20: Mexican Posole

We're calling it: It's gonna be a posole girl autumn (well, at least at our house). For the uninitiated, posole is a Mexican soup made with hominy (aka extra-large, nixtamalized corn kernels). Finish your bowl with fresh lime, chopped cilantro and sliced radishes for color.

October 21: Chrissy Teigen’s Cheesy Chicken Milanese

These uber-crispy cutlets ooze melted mozz the moment they're sliced, but they're also served with peppery arugula-tomato salad (balance is everything, no?). The key to the chicken's impeccable crunch is using two types of breadcrumbs.

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 it, 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 wholesome. (Looking at you, barley and baby kale.)

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. Serve with white rice, dressed greens or buttered noodles.

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 shatteringly crisp tofu is pressing out all the liquid before cooking it, so don’t skip that step. Serve the squash with your favorite grain (or heck, bread) on the side to create a more 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. Add white beans, tofu or chickpeas for a protein boost.

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


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...

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...