Autumn family dinners – BBC Good Food


As the leaves start to turn and there’s a chill in the air, why not treat the family to our heartiest meals this autumn? The all-important butternut squash features in our favourites, as does slow-cooked meat in rich sauces, one-pot chilli, traybakes, creamy risotto and filling soups.

With work or school commitments, family dinners can be tricky to navigate, so we’ve listed flexible dinners that require varying degrees of effort. Packed full of nutrients, autumn dinners ought to be both warming and filling, made to suit individual tastes.

We have collections for autumn vegetarian recipes, and vegan, too, including some delicious dairy-free desserts. Our autumn recipes are regularly updated with seasonal dishes, as well as our spiced autumn cakes and warming desserts. For beverage accompaniments to your meals, dive into our warming autumn drinks and mocktails.

Our favourite autumn family dinners

1. Butternut squash & sage risotto

Butternut squash & sage risotto

A vegetarian classic, this seasonal risotto is full of comforting, autumnal flavours. It’s super easy to make, and ready in under an hour – perfect for a family meal during the week. Check out more butternut squash recipes for hearty curries, soups and pies.

2. Aubergine & chickpea stew

Aubergine and chickpea stew

An easy, plan-ahead recipe, this aubergine & chickpea stew is a vegan classic guaranteed to satisfy. Warm up some flatbreads, sprinkle over some pine nuts and you’re good to go. Find more cold-weather-classics with our vegan stew recipes, or try our vegetable or beef stews.

3. Fish mappas

fish mappas

Creamy, vibrant and full of flavour, this Keralan fish curry dish is a great way of incorporating fresh and nutritious ingredients into your cooking. It’s ready in 35 minutes, perfect for impatient hungry mouths. Try even more fish curries, or dip into our favourite curry recipes.

4. Lamb & chickpea soup

Lamb and chickpea soup

Packed with your five-a-day, this lamb & chickpea soup is full of hearty veg, pulses and succulent lamb – making second helpings irrestible. The recipe is easily doubled, great for a big family dinner or batch cooking. Try more sensational soup recipes, as well as our best hearty soups for colder months. To truly embrace autumn, try out one (or more) of our silky pumpkin soups.

5. Spinach, sweet potato and lentil dhal

spinach, sweet potato and lentil dhal

This nutritious one-pot dhal is great for a balanced meal during the week. It’s full of iron and contains all of the good stuff for kids and adults alike. Our vegetarian recipe collection is full of dinners like this, and our delicious dhal recipes are a treasure trove of spiced, satisfying dishes.

6. Slow-cooker beef stew

Slow-cooker beef stew

This tender slow-cooker beef stew is the definition of autumnal food. With loads of vegetables, herbs and spices, expect the family to be wowed by its rich flavours, best served atop a pile of buttery mash. Try more beef stew recipes, or get a plant-based protein injection with our brilliant bean stews.

7. Piri piri chicken with smashed sweet potatoes & broccoli

Piri piri chicken with smashed sweet potatoes & broccoli

An all-in-one chicken and vegetable traybake is a top contender for an instant family favourite. Not only is this dinner incredibly tasty, but very nutritious, with golden, spiced chicken thighs, broccoli and red onion. Explore our traybake dinners for more easy oven meals, or deep-dive into our chicken thigh traybakes, which are affordable, quick and fuss-free.

8. Baked ratatouille & goat’s cheese

Baked ratatouille & goat's cheese

Spanning late summer and early autumn, this baked ratatouille with creamy goat’s cheese is rich, cheesy and packed with veg. Like this? Try our ratatouille recipe collection, where you’ll find irresistible variations of this classic French dish.

9. Barley, chicken & mushroom risotto

Barley, chicken & mushroom risotto

Our pearl barley, chicken & mushroom risotto is a healthier alternative to the traditional rice-based dish. It’s earthy, peppery and satisfyingly creamy – perfect for a hearty midweek dinner. Try more chicken risottos, or explore fish, meat and veggie options in our favourite risotto recipes.

10. Meatball black bean chilli

Meatball black bean chilli

A classic midweek meal, this one-pot meatball black bean chilli is all kinds of appetizing. With garlic, hot smoked paprika and cumin, this dish is loaded with flavour. You can make double and freeze the leftovers for evenings when you don’t want to cook, adding rice or flatbread for variety. Try our best chillies, including vegetarian and vegan options.

More dinner inspiration…

Autumn vegetable salad with saffron dressing
Squash, chickpea and coconut curry
Chicken pasta bake
Stuffed pumpkin
Creamy pumpkin pasta

Tell us your favourite autumn family dinners in the comments below…



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