We all want to have fantastic holiday dinners, and Halloween is no exception, so what can you serve up that will both amaze visually and be a fantastically appetizing feast but still be vegetarian? Here are a few ideas on where to start and how to make Halloween a fun and festive occasion for vegetarian family and friends.
Fall is one of the best times to be a vegetarian. This is the season of harvesting, and there are great natural options that you can find almost anywhere. Pumpkin pie is an automatic favorite for many this time of year, but you can add some flair to it by adding plastic spider rings pressed into each piece to add a little more Halloween atmosphere. Other options are using those mini-pumpkins as little bowls for side dishes or to hold pumpkin icecream. Just make sure that your options are vegetarian if you’re buying from the supermarket!
Main courses for Halloween should stick to things that are starchy and light if you’re planning on following a nice dinner with some lively partying. However, if dinner is the main event, feel free to serve heavier dishes. Also, depending on your climate, Halloween might still be warm or even hot, so serve chilled spiced cider instead of hot if this is the case.
Great ideas for main meals are things with a seasonal flare, Vegetarian chili, Tofu and Potato stews, and seasonal mashed squash can add color to a vegetarian table. Also, anything that can be easily interrupted by the ringing of the doorbell to feed those little haunts looking for candy is a good idea. Spiced foods are a great idea for Halloween, and fall Crock-Pot recipes are just the thing to make your life a little easier while adding all the visuals for making the décor and atmosphere just scream Halloween. Soups and stews served in mini cauldrons, summer squash served in mini-pumpkin bowls, and finishing that off with pumpkin pie or pumpkin ice cream are my ideal for a Halloween dinner.
Also, consider that Halloween is a holiday that honors the dear departed. Making grandma’s old recipes to carry on family tradition is a great way to carry on her memory. My family makes a corn soufflé every year that’s been in our family for generations. We bake summer or winter squash, mash it up, and toast baby marshmallows over it in the oven. We make no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies for the kids, and serve hot or cold cider depending on the weather. We also will do things like put orange food coloring in the whipped cream and add decorative little things like spiders, fake webs, and various other things as garnishes to make the food on the table seem that much more festive.
No matter what you do, make it something to remember. Whether it is a somber night of remembrance or a festive party, a great vegetarian meal is sure to be a highlight for everyone. Here are a few of my vegetarian meal recipes:
Toasted Marshmallow Winter Squash
Three whole Summer or Winter Squash cut in half (be careful this is difficult for many: you can bake them whole if it is too difficult to cut raw)
If you cook the squash whole, cook for the same amount of time as the halves, but cut in half and remove seeds after baking before scooping out the rest of the flesh for mashing. If cut in half first, scoop out the seeds before baking.
Bake the squash on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until soft. Scoop out the softened insides and mash them. Add brown sugar to taste and place in an oven-safe container. Layer the top with marshmallows (mini/baby marshmallows are easiest), and then bake for about three minutes on the top rack while watching them and taking them out as soon as the marshmallows begin to brown.
2 cans whole corn, drained
2 cans creamed corn
16 oz sour cream
2 packages Jiffy Corn bread mix
1 stick butter (or butter substitute) melted
3-4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, mix all ingredients in a 9 x 13 pan and bake for one hour.