I hate all the preamble on online recipes. Here’s the gist: People waste of ton of perfectly good food during Halloween, and there are a few ways to stop doing that. Now let’s jump right into the recipes for Halloween foods, and I’ll leave some info regarding Halloween food waste down below.
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Halloween Foods Recipe #1: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- As you’re carving pumpkins, dig out the seeds and collect them in a colander.
- Rinse them and pick out the orange pumpkin flesh.
- Seeds need to be dried before roasting. To dry them, place them in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour, or spread them on a baking sheet and let them sit out for at least 24 hours.
Once the seeds are dry they are ready to season. There are countless recipes for seasoning. I kept it simple this year and mixed my seeds in a bowl with a tablespoon of olive oil and a 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic, then seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast them at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Roasted seeds are best when they’re still warm, but make a really good snack for several days after. I’ve been happily crunching on mine while writing this. Here are 10 more recipes from Swanky Recipes.
Pumpkins are the king of Halloween foods and can easily be part of your diet!
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Halloween Foods Recipe #2: Roasted Veggies
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel, cut and cube your favorite veggies into 1/2 inch cubes. I recommend broccoli, asparagus, squash, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, onion, sweet potato, carrots and, of course, pumpkin.
- Toss the veggies in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, fresh or powdered garlic and thyme.
- Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, stirring/flipping halfway through.
That’s it! We often make a side of quinoa or some other grain to eat with it.
This meal is quick, nutritious, vegan/vegetarian, and a great way to incorporate awkward little batches of homegrown produce. It also might be the ideal place to try those “decorative” squashes and gourds sitting on your front step. Yes, those are all edible.
This year, I took the chunks we carved out of our jack-o-lanterns, cut off the skin and string parts, and chopped them into one inch cubes to incorporate with roasted veggies.
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Halloween Foods Recipe #3: Baked Acorn Squash
Recipe (inspired by Simply Recipes):
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half using a sharp chef’s knife and Thor’s hammer. Seriously, these things are tough so you might need a rubber kitchen mallet. Be safe and stabilize the squash before hacking away!
- Scrape out seeds and guts with a spoon. Save for planting next year or roast using the recipe above.
- Score each half with 1/2 inch deep cuts in a grid pattern
- Rub each half with:
- 1/2 tbsp. butter (vegan butter if you so choose!)
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. of maple syrup (I skipped this part and don’t really regret it)
Bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until flesh is soft and caramelized (the longer you bake, the more caramelization occurs!).
These make a great side dish, snack or even dessert! A great way to dip your toe into the world of squash or introduce someone new.
Also, acorn squash are a winter squash, which means they store very well in cool, dry locations. You can leave them outside and use them as a Halloween decoration. Come November, chop ’em in half and eat them!
Reducing Halloween food waste
While carving pumpkins is fun, it does lead to an incredible amount of food waste. According to NPR, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that 1.91 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in the U.S. in 2014, and only a fraction of that was eaten. A majority of the rest (around 1.3 billion pounds) ended up in landfills and released methane gas as they rotted away.
What a Grade-A waste of food and resources. Pumpkin plants require a ton of space, water, nutrients and sun to develop fruit – trust me, I’m an incredibly average backyard pumpkin grower. It’s heartbreaking that this nutrient-packed food source literally being turned against us, especially when hunger is still a worldwide issue and those resources could be used to grow food that will actually be eaten.
For starters, on November 1, dispose of jack-o-lanterns in yard waste or compost, not the trash. If you don’t have access to either, feed it to an animal (my dog loves pumpkin and squash) or break it up and bury it in a garden bed to let it decompose and enrich the soil. Make sure the nutrients in that pumpkin benefit the Earth instead of harming it!
Feature photo by the author. Copyright Emeraldology 2020.