When most people think of Halloween party foods (if they think of them at all), they focus on the blood and guts aspect of the display.
On the whole, representing gore in food requires the slaughter of animals and preparation of meats. I’m here to tell you, that is not the only way to go.
While I am not a vegan myself (blame my cheese addiction) I do have many friends who have chosen that lifestyle as their own and it would be remiss of me as a party hostess not to accommodate their needs on my table spread.
Here are five vegan-friendly dishes to serve up at your Halloween party.
1. Worms in Dirt
While not the most disgusting looking of dishes on my menu, it is one of the tastiest. The dirt is a good, old-fashioned, black bean dip with a twist.
You can either used dry beans—just remember to let them soak overnight and be prepared to let them simmer on the stove for about two hours before you continue with the recipe—or you can use your preferred canned bean. Either way, you will want three to four cups of cooked beans, half a head of roasted garlic, a few tablespoons of olive oil (I prefer key lime oil, but I live in South Florida where such things are easy to find), a sprinkle of salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Put the whole lot into a food processor and let it whirl. Voila’! Black bean dip.
The worms can be made either of some type of soy “hot dog” or, if you’re trying to avoid soy, thick cut rice noodles. Slice the veggie dogs in eighths and toss them in for a quick boil. Watch them curl up before your eyes. If you prefer the rice noodles, cut them down to about four-inch sections and toss them in some boiled water. Let them soften.
Take your chosen “worm” forms and thread them through the “dirt” to create a delicious—and disgusting—vegan Halloween treat.
2. Puking Pumpkin
The Puking Pumpkin is the easiest of all dishes to prepare but it packs the most visual punch.
Get a small baking pumpkin—because let’s be honest, after he’s served his decorative purpose you’ll want to make something yummy like pumpkin soup or pumpkin bread from—and draw a face on him. Place him on the edge of a serving dish and spread your favorite hummus choice around, making sure to allow just a little of it to touch the drawn mouth.
I like to garnish the plate with carrot sticks for dipping. If you have roasted pumpkin seeds, all the better. Embellish your vomit!
3. Roach BItes
This is one of my all-time favorite party dishes. I use it at nearly every get-together.
Stuff a few dozen pitted dates with a generous portion of fresh thyme. I find date stuffing is dramatically simplified with the implementation of one of my favorite kitchen tools: the chopstick. Once the dates have been stuffed place them on a baking sheet and pop those babies in the oven at 325 degrees for about 10 minutes. They don’t need long, and if you really wanted you could leave them raw—personally, I prefer the effect of the date sugar melding with the thyme when they are heated.
This dish can also be made in a vegetarian by stuffing the dates with blue cheese instead. (I told you I was a cheese addict.) You could, of course, choose a vegan cheese alternative. I don’t have any personal experience cooking with cheese alternatives, so I don’t know how long it would require in the oven to melt.
The dates alone won’t be a show stopper or look like a Halloween dish; the coup de gras for this dish are the fake bugs interspersed throughout the plate. I prefer large, rubber cockroaches. I let mine crawl on and off the plate.
The power of suggestion is great and you’ll be amazed how quickly those little decorative touches will change up the way your guests view the plate.
4. Maggot Pudding
We love rice pudding in my house. We like it best made with coconut milk.
Take a cup of Arborio rice and toast it in the bottom of a sauce pan with a tablespoon or so of coconut oil until the grains become slightly translucent. Slowly add a cup of coconut water and stir. When the rice has absorbed the coconut water, add a cup of coconut milk. Alternate between the coconut milk and coconut water until the rice has the appropriately goopy pudding texture—this usually works out to about two to three cups of each. When the rice has fully cooked add some dried coconut flakes and raisins. Top with a large rubber fly and you have a delicious maggot pudding!
5. Severed Witch Fingers
This plate is my absolute favorite. But be warned: despite how tasty it is, most people will be too absorbed with the horror of its appearance that they may be hesitant to try!
White asparagus, hearts of palm, and almond slices are required for this dish. Also procure some green and red food coloring.
Start by cutting the steamed white asparagus spears in half. Dip a pastry brush in green food coloring and give each a good coat. With a fine knife blade dipped in red food coloring make tiny slices along the asparagus creating the scraped knuckle look. Be sure to add a dab of red to the bottom to create a bloody stump. Finish each spear off with a slice of almond in the place of a finger nail.
Delicious and disgusting. My favorite Halloween food combination!
To mix up the visual appeal of the plate intersperse hearts of palm with the asparagus. I leave the palm hearts unpainted, but otherwise they receive the same treatment as the asparagus.
Who says that Halloween food has to include meat? Not I!
Go forth and create delightful displays of ghastly looking goods!
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Ed: Sara Crolick