Halloween is a wonderful holiday to celebrate, full of costumes and horror movies and things that go bump in the night. Many people also associate this occasion with the sugary morsels their kids bring home after an enthusiastic night of trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, but those are rarely the healthy choices that any of us want hanging around in the pantry.
People might not be able to get away with hiding their kids’ treasure trove of snacks or throwing them away entirely, but at least everyone can make healthy choices when it comes to their own diets.
Whether you’re hosting a party or just spending the evening at home alone, watching a horror movie marathon in the dark, you can whip up some of these wonderfully creepy snacks to liven up your Halloween night. Not only are they spooky, but they are delicious, nutritious and ideal for an anti-inflammatory diet.
1. Blood-red Beet ‘Hummus’
Legumes are a great big “no” when one is avoiding inflammatory foods, so since hummus is made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), that delicious dip has to be taken off the menu, much to many peoples’ dismay.
Beet hummus is a surprisingly delicious alternative to that beany spread: beets have an earthy flavor similar to that of chickpeas but don’t have any inflammatory components. Rich in iron, folate, potassium, and vitamin B6, these root vegetables are as tasty as they are good for you. When you transform them into a hummus-style dip, the result is a deep, purple-red concoction that couldn’t be more perfect for a Halloween buffet table.
- 2 cups roasted beets, peeled and diced (about 8 medium or 10 small beets)
- Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
- 3 small garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tahini, optional
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, place each beet in a square of aluminum foil and coat the roots lightly with olive oil. Wrap them up tightly, place onto a baking sheet, and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, depending on their size. Smaller beets need less time in the oven.
- Remove the beets from the oven and allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Then, peel and dice them.
- Add the beets to a blender or food processor with the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, tahini (if using) and salt. Process until smooth. Taste the dip and adjust the salt and lemon juice if desired.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and serve with raw vegetable crudités, dehydrated root vegetable chips, or endive spears.
Note: If you do use tahini in this recipe, try to find black tahini at your local Middle Eastern grocery store. It’ll make the dip a deep, dark blood red — ideal for your spooky get-together. Omit the tahini if you’re eliminating all seeds and nuts.
2. Spiderweb Eggs
These little protein bombs can be served two ways: whole as hard-boiled eggs to just bite into or deviled. If you’re going to serve them whole, go for the smallest size eggs possible so that they’re practically bite-sized. If you’re aiming to make them deviled, aim for large or extra-large so that they hold a lot of filling.
- 12 small eggs with white shells
- 2 cups frozen blueberries or blackberries
- 8 cups water
- Black, gray or red salt, for serving
- Place the eggs in a single layer inside a large cooking pot and cover with the water and frozen blueberries. Turn on the heat, bring the water to a rolling boil, then remove the pot from the burner, cover it, and let it stand for 15 minutes.
- Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and tap each of them in a couple of places with a soup spoon: you’re aiming for a round depression with thin crack lines radiating outwards from the center.
- Place the eggs back into the blueberry water and put the pot in the refrigerator for at least 8 to 12 hours or overnight. Then, peel the shells off gently as the cracks will have absorbed pigment from the blueberry water and have dark gray “spiderwebs” on them.
- Peel the eggs and place them into a bowl for serving.
- Pour some gray, black or red salt in a small dish for guests to sprinkle onto the eggs.
Note: If you don’t have frozen blueberries or would rather that the “webs” on your eggs be dark brown instead of gray, steep the cracked eggs in strong-brewed decaf black tea instead of the blueberry water.
3. ‘Deviled’ Spiderweb Eggs
If you’re using large eggs instead and would like to make them “deviled,” you can make them even spookier by using mashed or pureed avocado instead of mayonnaise or yogurt.
The combination of green goop in these spiderweb-fleshed eggs makes for a perfectly themed snack. Food doesn’t get much spookier looking than this.
- A dozen large hard-boiled spiderweb eggs, sliced in half lengthwise (use the same preparation process as above for the small eggs)
- 2 large, ripe avocados, pitted and flesh removed
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or lime juice
- A pinch of garlic salt, onion salt or table salt
- Flying fish or salmon roe, optional
- Use a spoon to remove the cooked yolks from the hard-boiled eggs and add the contents to a blender or food processor.
- Add the avocado, lemon or lime juice and salt. Combine until smooth.
- Adjust the salt, if needed, then use a teaspoon or a piping bag to fill the hollowed-out cooked eggs with this filling.
- Place the eggs on a serving dish. If desired, sprinkle a bit of black or gray salt on top or garnish with a tiny spoonful of orange or red fish roe.
4. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
If you carve one or more pumpkins this Halloween, don’t throw out the seeds. They’re packed with protein, zinc, magnesium, and healthy omega-3 fats, so it would be a travesty to toss them away. They’re wonderfully crunchy morsels that have far more nutrient-density than popcorn or chips. So, the more pumpkins you carve, the more seeds you’ll have to snack on.
- Fresh pumpkin seeds
- Olive oil
- Garlic powder, optional
- Preheat your oven to 300F.
- Remove as much pumpkin flesh and stringy bits from the seeds as possible, and then rinse them thoroughly in a fine-mesh colander or strainer. Rub them dry with a clean towel and set them aside on some paper so that they dry out as thoroughly as possible.
- In a bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with a couple of tablespoons of high-quality olive oil and either sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.
- Spread the seeds in a single layer on a shallow, nonstick baking sheet, and then roast for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the seeds are golden brown. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before transferring them to a serving bowl or container.
5. Spider Guts Smoothie
Adults and kids alike love these smoothies, which are sweet and creamy and packed with nutrients. Some people call them “grasshopper” smoothies, but if you’re aiming for a more seasonal name, you can’t get much creepier than implying that they’re made from frothy spider guts.
- 1 peeled frozen banana, cut into slices
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup fresh mango or kiwi, peeled and chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 avocado, pitted and flesh cut into cubes
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup ice
- Add the banana, pineapple, mango or kiwi, coconut milk, avocado, spinach and ice to a blender or food processor.
- Process on high until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into glasses and serve, preferably with a little toy spider clinging to the glass.
Rick Kaselj, MS
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