It’s one of my favorite days of the year. One of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Why? Because it’s just so much fun! Dressing up. Going to parties. Creating ghoulish and fun treats to share at get-togethers. It’s one time of year where people don’t look at you twice if you are wearing something out of the norm…while feasting on some treat that is fashioned to look like witch’s fingers…or grapes made to look like eyeballs.
That’s the norm.
I love this time of year because I love to get in my kitchen and get a little creative with the food I am making. I love a theme…and holidays, especially Halloween, lend themselves to creative, themed treats.
This year, I cooked up a couple of fun, festive, gluten-free Halloween treats the entire family will enjoy! Try them…if you dare…
Blood & Guts Potatoes
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 45-60 minutes
- 4 baking potatoes (I used 2 russet and 2 sweet potatoes)
- 3 balls fresh mozzarella, diced (if you are dairy free, I used some of Daiya Havarti-Style Wedge…which also gave it a little kick…but any Daiya wedge would work…just dice it as you would the mozzarella)
- 2 tablespoons organic ketchup
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and put them into the oven for 45 to 1 hour, depending on their size. If they are particularly large, you might need to go for 1-1/2 hours. I used small potatoes for my version.
- Take the potatoes out of the oven and let them cool down a little before you handle them. Carefully slice each potato in half and scoop out the fluffy potato flesh into a bowl, reserving the skins.
- Put the diced mozzarella (or vegan cheese) into the bowl with the potato and add the 2 tablespoons of ketchup. Mix with a fork and then spoon the filling back into the potato skins.
- Sit the loaded potato skins on a lined baking sheet, and dribble over some more ketchup in a gory blood-dripping kind of way. Put back in the oven to cook for 15 minutes, by which time the cheese will have melted and the potatoes be warmed through.
I actually made these up for breakfast…because I love potatoes (in any way) for breakfast. They sort of taste like…french fries…which is quite awesome and delicious at the same time. And…kids and adults alike will enjoy it.
Vegan Spooky Shepherd’s Pie
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 60 minutes
Ingredients for the vegan mince:
- 1 cup lentils, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon organic ketchup of tomato paste
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or a few drops of hot sauce
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen or fresh – but this ingredient can be optional)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pour the lentils into a small saucepan and cover with water until the water level is one inch above the lentils. Turn the burner to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and allow the lentils to cook for 20 minutes.
- Drain the lentils in a colander.
- Warm up a pan on medium heat on the stove and add 1 tablespoon butter (or vegan substitute). Allow to melt.
- Add onion and saute until soft.
- Add thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper, cider vinegar, ketchup and ½ teaspoon of salt to the onions and stir to combine. Add the lentils and the corn (if using). Stir. Then add about ½ cup water to the lentil mixture and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Ingredients for parsnip puree:
- 1-1/4 pound parsnips, peeled, chopped (If you prefer to use potatoes, you can substitute those instead of using parsnips)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- Boil parsnip chunks in a large pot pot of salted water for 30 minutes, or until very soft. Drain, and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Press the boiled parsnips through a potato ricer or mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in ½ cup of the reserved cooking water, buttermilk (or milk alternative), and 2 tablespoons of melted butter (or vegan butter like Earth Balance). Season with salt and pepper (if desired).
- Assemble: Spoon the lentil filling into individual ramekins or bowls. Then, using a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, pipe the hot parsnip puree over the top into a ghost shape. Sprinkle with shredded vegan cheese, if desired, around the base of each ghost. Place lentils (or capers or minced olives) onto the ghosts for eyes.
Fun…festive…and gluten-free. I promise…everyone will get into the Halloween spirit with these fun, simple, and creative dishes.
I dare you to give these recipes a try!
Karen Brady has been vegetarian since early 2010 and went gluten-free for medical reasons in February 2011. She is an avid runner who ran her first marathon at the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and qualified for the 2015 Boston Marathon with her finishing time. Other loves include cooking, traveling and writing, which she combines into her blog at http://veggiefoodlover.wordpress.com. She resides in Southern Indiana and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.