Halloween may be associated with people stuffing their gullets with sugary snacks and junk food galore, but there are ways of celebrating this festive night that won’t result in a diabetic coma. There are plenty of recipes that are as healthy as they are delicious, and you don’t have to skimp on the creep-out factor either.
Whether you’re throwing a party, bringing a contribution to a potluck, or celebrating in blissful solitude, here are some fabulous Samhain snacks that any ghoul would be happy to snack on.
Spider Guts Smoothie
Photo: The Tree Apprentice, via Flickr
It’s great to start your day off with a smoothie, and a frothy, green, bubbly drink is just perfect for Halloween breakfast. There are countless green smoothie and juice recipes out there, but if you don’t already have a favourite, try this one out:
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup coconut water
- 2 cups frozen green grapes
- 2 peaches, sliced
Puree all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture is gorgeously smooth. If you find that it’s a bit too thick, add a bit more coconut water, tap water, or even a splash of non-dairy milk.
Another great breakfast dish: Take half an avocado and remove the pit. Poach an egg until it’s well set, drain it with a slotted spoon, and plop it into the hollowed avocado. Sprinkle with black salt and cracked pepper (even some black caviar if you’re feeling extravagant), and serve warm.
Creepy Teeth Apple Bites
Slice a wedge out of an apple, and then cut a smaller wedge into it to make a mouth. Fill the cavity with nut butter or fruit preserves, and then push slivered almonds into the apple flesh to make craggy teeth.
“Candy Corn” Parfait
Photo: Sallypenut via Flickr
Have you ever eaten candy corn? They’re those unbelievably sugary niblets that are yellow at one end, orange in the middle, and white at the tip. Hideous. That said, you can make a splendidly healthy parfait in these very colours, by layering fruit or vegetables with toppings of your choice. Here are a couple of options:
- A base layer of crushed pineapple, mid layer of mandarin orange slices, and low-fat yoghurt topping.
- Chopped pineapple base, middle layer of crushed cantaloupe, and low-fat cottage cheese on top.
- Reversed candy corn colours with an herbed yoghurt dip on the bottom, followed by layers of baby carrots and sliced yellow pepper.
Wrap pickle wedges or spears of steamed white and green asparagus with ham or smoked turkey.
Spiderweb Eggs (or “Rotten” Eggs”)
Photo: Nichelle Stevens, via Flickr
To create a spiderweb pattern on a hard-boiled egg, just boil a dozen eggs for 10 minutes in 8-10 cups of water, along with 2 cups of blueberries. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, tap one side of each lightly so the shell crackles, and then place them back in the berry water. Keep the saucepan in the fridge for a few hours until the eggs are completely cool, and then peel them: you’ll find a lovely spiralling web etched onto each egg. (You can also use black tea for this for brown webs.)
Photo: Mike Dory, via Flickr
There are a few ways to go about creating a dip that looks as though it’s been created from cemetery dirt: one is to make a tapenade from dark olives (like Kalamata, or Spanish black) with capers, garlic, oil, and lemon juice, another is to create a spicy black bean dip, and some people might even prefer to use guacamole or spinach/artichoke dip as their base. Let’s use a recipe for the black bean option, shall we?
- 1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 roma (plum) tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 small chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Salt (to add later)
Pulse the first 7 ingredients in a food processor until the mixture is fairly smooth, and well combined. Add salt to taste, and feel free to adjust the acidity (with the lemon juice) as well as the spice level as desired. To serve, pour the dip into a shallow bowl, and tuck melba toast squares, Crispers or vegetable chip “headstones” into it, with extras on the side.
Dark and Creepy Crudites
A large platter that’s covered in black, purple, and grey tidbits can look incredibly creepy, but so delicious. Items to place on yours can include:
- Black and purple grapes
- Black figs
- Deep purple plums
- Black radishes
- Black and Kalamata olives
- Black currants
Strips of Skin
Spread layers of prosciutto and other cured meats on a large wooden cutting board, and jam a meat cleaver vertically into the board for effect.
Blood and Eyeball Soup
Photo: Nicole McGuire via Flickr
Sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it? Basically, this is just tomato soup with a little extra added to it. To make the eyeballs, get yourself some of those bocconcini balls that are 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. Use a small paring knife to hollow them out, and then pop a couple of pimento-stuffed eyeballs into the cavities. When you serve the soup, float the cheesy eyeballs in it so they’ll stare at whoever’s digging in.
Other Eyeball Snacks
On that same note, you can carve away at a lychee or longan fruit to expose the dark inner pit to create interesting eyeballs, or you can pop capers into hard boiled quail eggs.
Witch’s Hair Pasta
Did you know that you can get gluten-free black bean pasta? I only found this out recently, and it’s bloody brilliant. The noodles are a deep grey colour, which is perfect for a Halloween dish. You can also get black rice noodles if you can’t get your hands on the black bean ones.
As far as a recipe is concerned, just follow the directions on the black pasta package, and then top with your favourite sauce and vegetables. My personal favourite is a simple sauce of roasted eggplant and tomato, but you can can slather yours in vodka rosé sauce, a simple dressing of olive oil and garlic, or make a sea witch proud by covering the pasta in seafood and marinara sauce.
Shrunken Head Punch
Peel some small apples, and then carve them to look like faces/shrunken heads. Float these in a large punch bowl that you’ve filled with apple cider, or your autumn drink of choice.
Photo: Bradley H, via Flickr
Take a whole-wheat flatbread, half an English muffin, a pita, or any other flat, round, bread-like substance that you’re fond of. Spread on something fabulous as a base, and decorate it with items that could conceivably be mummy-like, then devour.
For savoury options, you can try the following:
- Pizza sauce base, with sliced mushroom eyes and slices of mozzarella as bandages.
- Hummus for the bottom layer, strips of grilled zucchini or eggplant, and olive slice eyes.
For those with a sweet tooth, you can try these as well:
- Tofutti (or low-fat goat cheese, cream cheese, etc.), with blueberries or halved cherries for eyes, and gobs of jam or jelly for colour.
- Almond (or other nut) butter as a base, with strips of banana for bandages, and strawberry eyes.
Frothy and reddish-pink, this juice is reminiscent of something you’d see on True Blood, but it’s fabulous for nourishing your own blood cells (as well as your liver, heart, and more.) Just put 2 medium carrots, 2 medium beets, and 2 large apples (peeled and cored) through your juicer. If you like, add 1/2 an inch of peeled ginger too. Run 1/4 cup of water through to get all the juice out, and serve over ice.
Rice Ghosts or Spider Egg Sacks (Onigiri)
Photo: Mega, via Flickr
These are just onigiri rice balls stuffed with whatever you like, or even just plain sticky rice that’s been formed into spooky shapes. Just cook Japanese sushi rice according to the ingredients on the package. If you like, you can add a bit of mirin wine and/or rice vinegar for extra flavour. You can fill the onigiri with anything from egg salad or tuna to pickled vegetables or bean paste, pack the rice into shape by rolling it in plastic wrap, and then add eyes, fangs, etc. that you’ve created by cutting dry nori (seaweed sheets) into pieces.
For a well-rounded bento lunch, add in some heirloom tomatoes in shades of black and red, some orange peppers carved into jack o’lanterns, and any other veggies you like.
Use a melon baller to scoop the flesh of honeydew melon into perfect little spheres, and then splash them with black vodka. Serve chilled.
Photo via Pinterest
This terror-inducing variation on “pigs in a blanket” doesn’t need to be filled with chemical-laden meat slurry sausages. You can create the same effect by stuffing half a crescent roll with a mixture of spinach, low-fat feta cheese and minced onions or spiced sweet potato wedges, or make sweet versions with jam or fruit. Here’s a tip: the original Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are vegan, so you can go wild creating all manner of cruelty-free screamy snacks. Just stick on some fake eyes with dabs of mustard or tofutti and a couple of poppy seeds to finish them off.
Spooktacular Quinoa Salad
Did you know that you can get black quinoa? Use it in your favourite quinoa recipe, or try a new one like this black quinoa salad with cherries, pistachios, and watercress.
Photo: Alvin Smith via Flickr
Preheat your oven to 400-450F, depending on how hot your oven tends to get. Remove the lower leaves and core from the cauliflower, and then place it hollowed-side down onto a greased baking sheet. Use a paring knife to remove a thin, straight slice from across the vegetable, making it look like a brain. Drizzle it with olive oil, salt, and about 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and roast it for 1 to 1.5 hours, until it’s fork-tender. Serve on a platter surrounded by pickled beets for a great, bloody effect.
What are some of your favourite Halloween recipes? Please feel free to share them with us!