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Vegan for the Holidays

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A Vegan Halloween Party
Halloween Treats for a Perfectly Ghastly Evening

Howling ghosts and goblins, cackling witches, fluttering bats, clanking skeletons, laughing Jack-o-lanterns, and screeching black cats are all on the prowl the night of October 31.

Halloween is the start of party season when the focus turns to sharing fun with those we cherish. A costume party for the grown-ups or the children is the perfect opportunity to express inner desires. That dashing pirate brandishing a sword may actually be the shyest person in the room. Many of us enjoy pretending we're someone else--or, someTHING else!

Decorations are a must, not only the graveyard scene on the front lawn, but walls and doorways need the Halloween touch. And don't forget to make a dramatic splash of the food table decked out in black, orange, and yellow. To each dish, add some seasonal garnishes, like black widow spiders, skulls, tiny pumpkins, witches' hats, black cats, small bats, and witches' cauldrons. To spark conversation, print out the menu and place it into a picture frame that rests on the food table.

When those frightful ghosts, goblins, and other creatures show up at your party and start to howl, warm them up with a punch cup of Hot Mulled Green Blood, a pleasantly sweet, warm beverage made from kiwis spiced with ginger and cinnamon. Then to accompany that little cup of punch, set out a bowl of tempting Mashed Goblin's Guts, a traditional hummus with an extra creamy rich texture. The addition of avocado also gives the hummus a slightly green tinge--perfect for the haunted house. A basket of pita wedges for dipping completes the starter.

When it's time for the big food, bring on the Screeching Black Cat Salad and the Graveyard Ghoulash. You won't need to hunt down a black cat for the salad. Just think black and orange and cook up some wild rice and slice up some carrots. Toss in a good measure of raisins, lemon, and spices, and voila! Rattlesnake Venom Dressing adds a very special optional touch. The Screeching Black Cat Salad is positively enchanting as it is, but tastes positively Draculilcious when enhanced with the venom dressing.

For authentic Graveyard Ghoulash, you needn't trouble yourself fighting off the banshees and the witches. Take the convenient approach and conjure up a batch of savory veggie meatballs in a luscious tomato sauce and pack them into toasted whole-wheat buns. Add some roasted peppers and onions and enjoy a convivial midnight meal.

Waiting for just the right moment to shock your senses and thrill your taste buds are two tantalizing desserts. First, a platter of Witch's Eyeballs won't taste nearly as frightful as they sound because they're simply delicious mini coconut macaroons decorated with chocolate to resemble the centers of eyeballs. To complete the effect, they're enhanced with tiny slivers of dried cranberries to imitate the veins in the white portion of the eye.

Finally, the piece d'resistance is a scrumptious Black Widow Pie, a rare delicacy composed of an all-white, satin-smooth lemon crème filling that floats within a sweet-tart crust of nuts and dried fruits. A flavorful medley of finely ground nuts and dried fruits comprise the finishing touch that decorates the top of the pie--a humongous black widow spider. The effect is positively chilling!


Mashed Goblin's Guts (Avocado Hummus with pita)
Hot Mulled Green Blood (Spiced Mulled Kiwi Punch)

Screeching Black Cat Salad (Wild Rice, Carrot, and Raisin Salad)
Rattlesnake Venom Dressing (Cashew Lime Dressing)

Graveyard Ghoulash (Italian Meatball Sandwiches)

Witch's Eyeballs (Miniature Coconut Macaroons with Chocolate)
Black Widow Pie (Lemon Crème Pie with Dried Fruit Spider)

With a cup of mulled punch in hand, party guests can roam the room to greet and chat with the other partygoers. Because guests often come to the party hungry, a warming beverage is ideal to calm the gnawing appetite.

Mulled Kiwi Punch


(Mulled Spiced Kiwi Punch)

Yield: about 4 servings

    3 cups (720 ml) white grape juice, apple juice, or apple cider, divided
    2 fresh kiwis, peeled
    2 teaspoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger

    3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon organic sugar or to taste
    2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
    6 allspice berries
    1 cinnamon stick

  1. Combine 1 cup (240 ml) of the grape juice, kiwis, and ginger in the blender and blend until the kiwis and ginger are completely pureed, about 1 full minute. Add the remaining white grape juice and blend briefly. Then transfer the green liquid to a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently about 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. Strain the beverage, pressing on the pulp to extract all the juice. Serve in 4-ounce (120 ml) punch cups.
Proportions for 20 servings:
    4 1/2 quarts (4.5 liters) white grape juice, apple juice, or apple cider
    10 fresh kiwis, peeled
    2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger

    1 cup (240 ml) organic sugar or to taste
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
    10 allspice berries
    2 to 3 sticks cinnamon

Follow the same procedure as above, then mull in a 10 to 12-quart stockpot. For serving a crowd, strain the beverage into a punch bowl, pressing on the pulp to extract all the juice. Serve in 4-ounce (120 ml) punch cups.

Hummus has become such a household word it's unusual to meet someone who's never heard of it. Creative cooks have added many unique touches to this traditional Middle Eastern appetizer, like eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, chiles, and spices. But avocado is a new innovation that gives the hummus a pleasing richness and a tinge of green that's perfect for the Halloween table.


(Avocado Hummus)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    1 15-ounce (425g) can garbanzo beans, drained, liquid reserved
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon tahini
    1/2 avocado
    3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    3 tablespoons reserved garbanzo liquid
    1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt

    Dash paprika

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with a dash of paprika.

Serve with fresh vegetables and toasted whole-wheat pita, rye or whole grain crackers, or toasted whole grain bread cut into quarters.

Variation: Mashed Goblin's Guts Cheesy Open-Faced Sandwiches
To turn Mashed Goblin's Guts into delicious open-faced sandwiches, spread the hummus over 4 to 6 slices of whole grain bread. Top each with slices of tomato and arrange slices of vegan cheese on top. Broil briefly to melt the cheese, and cut the open-faced sandwiches into quarters for easy handling. Serves 4 to 6.

Halloween's black and orange colors, set the scene for a black and orange salad that centers on carrots and wild rice. Dotted with golden and black raisins and seasoned with lemon and spices, the salad becomes a flavorful accompaniment to the meal. As an added enhancement, you may want to dress the salad with the deliciously tangy Rattlesnake Venom Dressing.

Black Rice, Carrot & Raisin Salad


(Wild Rice, Carrot, and Raisin Salad)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

    2 cups (480 ml) cooked wild rice
    4 large carrots, thinly sliced, reserve a 2-inch piece for garnish
    1 15.25-ounce can corn kernels, drained, or 1 1/2 cups kernels cut from 1 to 2 ears uncooked sweet corn
    1/4 cup (60 ml) golden raisins
    1/4 cup (60 ml) black raisins
    Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander

    Green leaf lettuce
    1/4 bunch of parsley

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the lettuce and parsley, in a large bowl and mix well. Adjust the seasoning if needed. To serve, line a platter with the lettuce leaves and mound the salad into the center.
  2. Garnish the edge of the bowl with the small bunch of parsley and shred the reserved 2-inch piece of carrot over the parsley. Alternatively, serve in individual salad dishes.

You can also use black rice, sometimes called forbidden rice, in place of the wild rice. Similar to long grain brown rice, black rice takes about 45 to 50 minutes to cook thoroughly. It has a pleasing texture and delightful nutty flavor. Be sure to rinse the black rice after cooking or it will coat everything in the dish a murky blackish color. Black rice is available at some natural food markets and some Asian groceries.

Nothing flavors a salad dressing quite like rattlesnake venom, though it is rather difficult to convince your rattler to contribute a sufficient quantity! Venom from other creatures just doesn't seem to measure up. So resign yourself, take charge, and charm your best rattlesnake into a small donation of venom. This tasty topping is an optional enhancement for the Screeching Black Cat Salad. Alternatively, you might want to include a salad of tossed greens and offer this tangy, flavor-filled creamy dressing on the side.


(Cashew Lime Dressing)

Yield: 1 3/4 cups (415 ml)

    1/2 cup (120 ml) cashews

    1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
    1/2 cup (120 ml) organic canola oil
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    2 garlic cloves
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Grind the cashews to a fine powder in small batches in a mini electric coffee grinder or mini-chopper-grinder and set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in the blender, add the ground cashews, and blend on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and blend for 1 full minute until the dressing turns white and creamy.
  3. Using a funnel, transfer the dressing to a narrow-neck bottle or similar container for easier serving. Shake well before using. Stored in a covered container and refrigerated, Cashew Lime Dressing will keep for one week.

Graveyard Ghoulash is not as terrifying as it sounds when the ingredient list features familiar favorites like toasted whole-grain buns filled with irresistible soy sausage meatballs in Italian tomato sauce. Add roasted trimmings like bell peppers and onions, and enjoy a frolic at the ghoul table. To save time, substitute the homemade tomato sauce with your favorite prepared variety.

Italian Meatball Sandwich


(Italian Meatball Sandwiches)

Yield: about 10 servings


    9 slices whole wheat bread
    3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened soymilk

    3 pounds (1.5 kilos) Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage flavor
    1 medium onion, diced
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
    1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or mini-chopper-grinder
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Organic canola oil

Tomato Sauce

    2 pounds (1 kilo) Roma tomatoes, finely chopped in food processor
    2 medium onions, finely chopped in food processor
    1 28-ounce (.8 kilos) can diced tomatoes
    2 6-ounce (170g) cans tomato paste
    2 cups (480 ml) water
    4 cloves garlic, crushed
    1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
    1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


    10 green bell peppers, quartered
    5 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
    Organic Canola Oil

10 well-toasted whole-wheat hamburger or hot dog buns


  1. Toast the whole-wheat bread, break into small pieces into a bowl, and moisten with the soymilk. Set aside to soften.
  2. Combine the Gimme Lean sausage, onions, garlic, salt, oregano, basil, fennel, and pepper in a large bowl, and mix well with the hands. Add the soaked whole wheat bread pieces and continue mixing with the hands until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Place 2 large skillets on the stovetop and pour 2 tablespoons of oil into each. In several batches, form meatballs about 1 1/2-inches (3.5 cm) in diameter and brown them over medium-high heat until golden on all sides. Drain on paper towels, transfer the finished meatballs to a clean bowl, and set aside. Makes about 50 to 60 meatballs.
Tomato Sauce:
  1. Combine all the sauce ingredients in a 12-quart (12 liter) stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 2 hours. Makes about 4 to 5 quarts of sauce.
  2. Add the browned meatballs to the sauce and cook about 10 minutes to warm through.
  1. While the sauce is simmering, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5) Put the green bell peppers into a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Mound the peppers onto one large baking sheet. Toss the onions with 1 tablespoon of oil and mound the onions onto the other baking sheet. Roast them for 30 minutes. Carefully turn the onions and peppers with a spatula, and roast 10 to 15 minutes longer until softened and lightly browned.
  2. Toast the buns until they are quite firm so they will be able to support the saucy meatballs without falling apart.
To Serve Informally:
Arrange the onions and peppers on a large platter and put them near the sauced meatballs on the stovetop. Place the buns on a platter near the stovetop, and invite guests to build their own sandwiches.

Mouthwatering miniatures, these petite coconut macaroons don't taste a bit like their repulsive sounding name. Instead, they're sweet and coconut-rich in flavor with a light-as-air texture. Decorated for Halloween, they can certainly look like a plateful of eyeballs!

Mini Macaroons


(Mini Macaroonies)

Yield: about 40 to 45 miniature cookies

    1 13.5-ounce (380g) can coconut milk
    3/4 cup (180 ml) organic sugar
    1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rose water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon imitation rum extract

    2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened dried coconut

    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
    1/4 cup water

    1 12-ounce (340g) package vegan chocolate chips
    1/4 cup (60 ml) thinly slivered dried cranberries (optional)

  1. Combine the coconut milk, organic sugar, orange blossom water, vanilla extract, and rum extract in a medium bowl, and stir thoroughly to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Add the dried coconut and mix well. Set aside for 4 to 5 hours or overnight to re-hydrate the coconut, stirring occasionally.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Combine the arrowroot powder and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to a thin paste. Add to the coconut mixture and stir the batter well.
  5. Drop the macaroon batter from a teaspoon onto the parchment to form 1-inch mounds. Flatten slightly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and around the edges.
  6. Carefully slip the parchment with the baked macaroons onto a flat surface to cool.
  7. To create the Witch's Eyeballs, melt the chocolate chips in a 1-quart (1 liter) saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly melted. Spoon a circle of the melted chocolate onto the center of each macaroon. If desired, create red veins with the slivered dried cranberries.

We often save the best for last to cling to those sweet, toothsome flavors that linger in our memories. This unique pie not only offers creamy texture with a lemony tang, but also delivers an unforgettable, chilling visual image as well.

Lemon Creme Pie


(Lemon Crème Pie with Dried Fruit Spider)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


    1 1/4 cups (300 ml) raw hazelnuts
    1 cup (240 ml) pitted prunes
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted dates


    2 12.3-ounce (350g) boxes extra firm lite silken tofu
    1 1/4 cups (300 ml) organic sugar
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon lime zest

Black Widow Topping

    1/2 cup (120 ml) almond meal
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted prunes, firmly packed
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted dates, firmly packed
    1/2 cup (120 ml) black raisins
    1 tablespoon agave nectar
    1 to 2 tablespoons water
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Have ready a 9-inch (22.5 cm) pie pan. Place the hazelnuts into the food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the prunes and dates and pulse and process until the mixture is almost pureed and holds together when pinched. The hazelnuts should be quite visible with lots of white flecks.
  2. Using the back of a spoon and your fingers, press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the pie pan, building the sides up slightly higher than the rim. Set the pan aside.
  1. Wash and dry the processor workbowl. Combine the tofu, organic sugar, lime juice, vanilla extract, and lime zest in the food processor. Process until smooth and creamy.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the hazelnut and prune pie crust, spreading evenly. Chill for several hours or overnight to form a firm layer.
Black Widow Topping:
  1. When the pie filling has firmed, prepare the topping. Combine the almond meal, prunes, dates, raisins, agave nectar, water, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in the food processor. Pulse chop and process until all the ingredients are well incorporated and form a thick puree.
  2. Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Using your hands, form the topping into the body, head, and legs of the black widow spider, one section at a time and arrange them on top of the filling. Return the pie to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For more Halloween fun click on
A Vegan Halloween Party
Halloween Treats for a Perfectly Ghastly Evening

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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