Halloween is my favourite holiday. I love fall, I love dress-up, and I love ghost stories. More importantly, though, this holiday encourages more creativity than all others, and how could I not love that?! Since I was a kid, I’ve looked forward to Halloween every start of fall. As an adult, I plan months in advance what my grown-up Halloween party will entail. It’s always a good time.
This year, I got to have fun making spooky vegan recipes and drinks, with a couple gluten-free options as well. Come into my blog lair, and let me show you…
First, the drinks…
I wanted something creepy looking, but delicious and alcoholic, so I modified two of my favourite drinks — margaritas, and white Russians. Instead, “Black Magic Margarita” and “Matcha Green Russian.”
It took me years to discover my love of tequila, and fall in love with the margarita. How could I not serve it at my party? But how to make this perfect drink perfect for halloween…? Dye it black!
You may be surprised to learn, but many food dyes are not vegan. Red dye, specifically, is 100% not vegan and made from beetle shells. Gross. So instead of doing a ton of research into what synthetic food dyes are vegan, I decided to go simple and use more natural dyes. For the black dye, I used a pinch of vegan (and food grade) activated charcoal, made from beech trees. It has no taste, and you only need a pinch to get this dark colour (and it’s totally safe). It has the added benefit of helping to absorb some of the effects of the alcohol and helps with hangover.
I knew I wanted a green drink, too. Google searches showed me a lot of recipes for drinks mixed with green soda pop. I wasn’t too eager to try that. I wanted something more natural and with a more robust taste. Enter the Matcha Green Russian! This drink is a fun variation of the White Russian that uses coffee liqueur, cream, and vodka. The green russian is made with sweetened, vegan Matcha latte, mixed with vodka. I made it with a ton of matcha powder (get good quality, organic), and organic soy creamer, and sugar — heated, then cooled and mixed with vodka in a 2:1 ratio.
The non-alcoholic offering was simple and delicious organic apple cider with shrunken apple heads. For the shrunken heads, you simply carve half an apple (peeled, with cores removed) into the shape of a face and dehydrate in the oven for two hours. You don’t have to get too sophisticated with the carving. Simple faces still make quite the visual impact.
Vegan Halloween Treats
But now to the important part: the FOOD!
My fave dish was the Vegan Gluten-free Pesto Pasta Salad with radish eyeballs. It looked totally gnarly, but tasted delish. The pasta is made from lentils, for extra protein and to make it suitable for my gluten-free guests. The pesto sauce is a recipe from my beloved mother-in-law and uses nuts (cashew, almond, or walnuts) with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. This pesto uses spinach rather than basil, so you get a big dose of iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants. I added some roasted baby potatoes and green beans to the salad, and some radish-olive eyeballs to increase the creep-out factor. The radish eyeballs are thanks to Martha Stewart and were lots of fun to make.
My lovely sister brought the Vegan Nacho Cheeze — recipe from Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows, a family favourite you must try! Not pictured, is the delicious Vegan Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip I made. I will make it again and include the recipe in a future post, because that one was a keeper!
The sweets smorgasbord included Vegan Brain Cupcakes, Vegan Bat/Black Cat Truffles, Vegan Gluten-free Brownies, and Jack-o-lantern Clementines.
The Brain Cupcakes were made using a cupcake recipe from Hot for Food, and dyed with a pinch of activated charcoal and beet root powder. The icing is dyed pink with the beet root powder and splattered with raspberry jam “blood.”
The truffles were made very simply with a vegan ganache (coconut milk, and vegan chocolate), rolled in cocoa powder, and topped with vegan chocolate “ears.” They were supposed to be black cats, but a few guests mistook them for bats, and we went with that. Either way, fearsome halloween creatures!
The Vegan Gluten-free Brownies were initially intended to be iced with stripes of white icing to look like mummies, but I ran out of time and patience, so they are simply brownies. Delicious. These are made with quinoa flour, which makes them suitable for a gluten-free diet, and makes them chock-full of protein. Get the recipe here!
The clementines were a cute addition. Simply, draw on the faces with permanent marker, which comes off with the peel.
All-in-all, it was a great time and a totally vegan party!
Do you have any spooky, vegan halloween recipes you love? Let me know! I’m looking for ideas for next year!