51 Freakishly Healthy (and Delicious) Halloween Recipes
51 Freakishly Healthy (and Delicious) Halloween Recipes
Muffin-Tin Pumpkin-and-Pear Stratas
Nectar-sweet pears, earthy pumpkin, and tart cranberries are a wonderfully balanced combination of fall flavors. Bosc or Anjou pears will also work here, as long as they're ripe. Your bare hands do the best job of mixing the bread into the egg.
Chicken and Garlic "Vampire" Dip
Chase away these Halloween ghouls with this creamy, cheesy, garlicky chicken dip. The garlic cloves will mellow and soften considerably in the slow cooker or on the stove; leave the cloves whole for the best result. A hearty dip with crisp, fresh vegetables is ideal for Halloween entertaining—a satisfying bite on a night filled with sugary treats. Thin the leftover sauce with water or stock and fold into hot cooked pasta for dinner on another night.
Honey Cider-Beer Cocktails
The cider-honey base of this fall beverage makes enough for a whole batch. Beer and cider are refreshing and lower in sugar and alcohol than stronger potions, which tend to go down a bit too easily. The cider syrup needs time to cool; let it rest while you get ready for your party.
Glazed Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
We stayed away from artificial food coloring and instead added drama in other ways: A coating of black sesame seeds makes for creepy bats and spiders with great texture (we use chopped pistachios for the bats’ eyes), and ghosts become ghoulish with little more than a layer of glaze and either mini chocolate chips or black sesame seeds for eyes. Pumpkin puree adds rich flavor and a bit of golden color to the cookie dough.
Mini Chicken and Basil Meatball Hoagies
These mini meatball subs, with olive “eyes” and basil “hair” are sure to get a laugh from trick-or-treaters and their parents. If you can’t find mini hoagie rolls, split larger rolls in half crosswise and scoop out some of the breading so the sandwiches can hold the filling. Look for ground chicken or turkey rather than ground breast meat for meatballs that are tender and flavorful yet still lean. Feel free to use thinly sliced baby spinach instead of the basil.
These deviled eggs live up to their name thanks to the edible eye and horn garnishes. You could also skip the horns and use a single olive slice for a fleet of Cyclops eggs, or do a mix of both. We use pimientos again in this pimiento cheese-style filling; the sharp cheddar cheese gives the yolk mixture a Halloween-orange hue.
Frosted Brown Butter Blondies
This festive fall dessert became an instant staff favorite. Brown butter imparts a rich flavor to blondies composed of bittersweet chocolate and cream cheese. A plastic zip-top bag makes it easy to pipe the web pattern onto the frosting.
Hibiscus and Blood Orange Punch
The deep garnet color from hibiscus and blood oranges adds plenty of drama to this sparkling drink. The tea base also keeps the beverage much lower in sugar than soda or other juice-based punches. Make sure to let the tea bags steep in the hot water for the best flavor. Top off each glass with whatever sparkler you have on hand—sparkling wine for the adults or sparkling cider or seltzer for the kids. If you can’t find blood oranges, use navel oranges.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Apple Wedges
We make the classic candied apple snack-size by cutting into wedges before drizzling with all the goodies. Not only is the treat easier to eat, but you get more chocolate and peanut butter in each bite. Peanut butter powder adds an intense peanut butter flavor to the white chocolate drizzle; you can find it at most supermarkets. You can also use the powder as part of a breading for baked chicken or fish, stir it into a smoothie for a protein boost, or use as a coating for peanut-flavored truffles.
Chocolate Halloween Cutout Cookies
If orange food coloring isn't available, combine red and yellow to create an orange hue. Either way, these adorable, festive cookies are sure to impress your Halloween guests. When it comes time to decorate, let your kids help out for a fun holiday craft. Undeniably rich and sweet, we think these cookies are way better than a store-bought chocolate candy bar.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Get the chili started in the morning and keep warm in the slow cooker while you're out. Calling for a mixture of beans and hominy, this recipe boasts bold, rich flavor, something that can often be dulled in a slow cooker. Whirring some of the beans in a food processor thickens the soup, lending a heartier texture to the dish. We suggest serving the soup with green onions, cheese, cilantro, peppers, and plain yogurt, a great substitute for sour cream. Serve with Cheesy Jalapeno-Sour Cream Corn Muffins (next slide).
Cinnamon-Cider Candied Apples
These blood-red cinnamon and brandy-spiked candy apples make for a deliciously gruesome centerpiece on the table at your next Halloween blowout.
Peel 'N' Pop Pumpkins
These pint-sized tangerine pumpkins are a healthy (and adorable) alternative to candy. Serve a platter at your next Halloween party with a bowl of homemade hummus for the celery “stems.” Nut-free shopping tip: Always check package labels before you purchase any ingredients. The U.S. Food Allergy Labeling and Customer Protection Act (FALCPA) requires any major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and soy) to be listed on all packaged food labels, whether in the ingredient list or in an accompanying statement.
Black Sesame Cupcakes
There's nothing artificial about these dramatically hued treats. Supermoist (and whole-grain) chocolate cupcakes get their blackout color from black sesame seeds and antioxidant-rich dark cocoa powder. These desserts are delicious and better for you, with every bit of fun, festive flair you crave.
Granny Smith Moscow Mule
Warm winter spices like cinnamon and whole allspice give this cocktail a seasonal spin. We also add green apple for a subtle tart-sweet note. Look for bottled ginger beer such as the Ginger People or Reed’s; ginger ale is too sweet and won’t have enough kick. Ginger beer is also usually nonalcoholic; just omit the gin for a nonalcoholic beverage. Vodka or bourbon would also be delicious if you’re not a fan of gin.
White Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie Caramel Apples
Caramel apples are easy to make and invite endless potential for sweet, salty, tangy, and crunchy nut-free toppings. For these show-stopping apples, we infuse caramel with pumpkin pie spice for a Halloween twist.
Spooky Spider Cupcake Toppers
Halloween is a holiday for pulling out all the stops, for having fun with all kinds of ghoulish decorations. Here's a scary-good way to go big and give kids and grown-ups a thrill—3-D chocolate spiders that perch on top of cupcakes and definitely give you the creepy-crawlies. Dare you reach for a sweet treat, lest these spiders crawl onto your hand? The chocolate arachnids are frighteningly easy to make, requiring readily found craft-store ingredients and just a few steps. Any leftover chocolate can turn into eerie spiderwebs.
Toffee Dip with Apples
Crunchy toffee bits stirred into a creamy dip make this impossible to stop eating. It’s kid and adult friendly. Coating the apples with pineapple juice prevent them from browning.
Chocolate-Almond Butter Cups
The popular chocolate-coated peanut butter cup candies are actually super easy to make at home. Almond butter stands in for peanut butter here. Dark chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped almonds and flaky salt make these cups sophisticated treat. You could also use two different kinds of chocolate for the top and bottom layers; simply use one bar of each and microwave separately.
Cookies & Cream Marshmallows
Homemade marshmallows have an incredibly soft, pillow-y texture that you can’t get from store bought. You’ll be amazed at how much these marshmallows taste like the classic combination of cookies and cream. Remember to add the hot gelatin mixture slowly so as not to deflate the whipped sugar mixture. Coat your knife in powdered sugar and keep it dry so it won’t stick as you cut the marshmallow into cubes. Skewer the cubes for serving or stack in narrow cellophane bags for a take-home treat.
Cheesy Jalapeño-Sour Cream Corn Muffins
What is chili without corn muffins? Pickled jalapeños add a little extra zip and dimension without too much heat. You can omit them or substitute minced cilantro if you like. Make the corn muffins a day or two ahead and refrigerate then leave out at room temperature with the Kale, Jicama, and Orange Salad and Frosted Brown Butter Blondies. The addition of sour cream makes these muffins incredibly tender—they won't dry out if made in advance. Looking for a spooky spin? Use blue cornmeal; it'll turn the muffins a greenish blue.
Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix
Halloween snacks are meant to be munched by the handful, which is why we love this crunchy, spicy, savory-sweet snack mix. Whole-grain air-popped popcorn is an excellent “filler,” adding volume to the mix without upping more sodium- and calorie-heavy ingredients. We love the pungent kick and crunch of wasabi peas; you can leave them out or substitute unsalted roasted or smoked almonds.
Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon, and Potato Soup
The slow cooker gently coaxes out delicious flavors from simple, hearty ingredients. This soup is perfect for ushering in fall: It's hearty enough for the beginning of soup season, yet brothy and veggie-packed so that it doesn't feel too heavy. Pair it with a slaw or kale side salad and crusty whole-grain bread for a light, satisfying dinner. This recipe is ideal for a weekend, when you can check on the slow cooker after just a few hours; though you won't be able to leave the soup unattended all day, this still offers the benefit of hands-free, fuss-free cooking. Either baby red, Yukon Gold, or fingerling potatoes will work well here, as they'll maintain their shape nicely during cooking.
Flan, a custard-based and caramel-topped dessert, is a stunning, gluten-free treat that’s sure to impress guests. Here, pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin give the classic recipe a touch of autumn.
These candied apples combine the buttery richness of caramel apples with the fun crunch of candied ones—two old standards twisted together.
Black Cat Sandwich Cookies
These yummy (and slightly spooky) confections are a tasty blend of shortbread-like cookies with a layer of soft chocolate.
Peanut Butter Caramel Corn
Just enough butter for caramel goodness. Peanut butter for heart-healthy richness.
Chocolate Spider Cupcakes
It's easy to make spiderweb designs on cupcakes: Simply pipe concentric circles and drag a wooden pick through wet frosting to create a webbed effect. No bourbon? Use water instead in the frosting.
Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits
These light, flavorful biscuits are the perfect complement to a fall meal, especially when paired with Orange Blossom Honey Butter. A light hand with the dough will help to ensure tender biscuits.
When we prepared these Candied Apples in our Test Kitchens, we were won over by their simple charm. In particular, we liked the way the cinnamon candy coating complemented the sweetness and cool crunch of the fruit in a classic flavor match. Our recipe uses cinnamon candies (Red Hots are a good choice) instead of the cinnamon and red food coloring used in other versions.
Pumpkin Pie Shake
This simple shake has all the flavors of pumpkin pie, but requires a quarter of the work. Kids will be all over this fun, fall-inspired indulgence.
Beef Daube Provencal
This classic French braised beef, red wine, and vegetable stew is simple and so delicious we named it one of our 25 best recipes ever. The flavor and texture allow you to keep it warm for your guests. Buy a whole-grain baguette, bagged salad greens, and bottled vinaigrette to round out the meal.
Caramel Apple Pie
You can't go wrong with a classic! A touch of kosher salt adds depth to the caramel topping.
Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Instant coffee intensifies the chocolate richness of these cupcakes. To repeat the Halloween theme, decorate them with plastic cake toppers, licorice, jelly beans, or candy sprinkles.
Candy Apple Punch
Cinnamon candies and cranberry-apple drink help give this party-ready punch its fun, bright red color. For a toddy version, adults can substitute 1 cup rum for 1 cup water.
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies
Like popcorn and butter or apple and cinnamon, chocolate and peanut butter is an enduringly irresistible combination. Bake on a weekend and serve as an after school snack or offer them at a Halloween party.
Roasted Root Vegetables with Sorghum and Cider
Sorghum—also known as sorghum molasses—is the distinctive, syrupy by-product of sorghum grain. Look for it in specialty stores and gourmet grocers, or substitute molasses.
This top-rated treat is always a hit. Divide and store in airtight containers to give as gifts or set out for friends and family to snack on at your next party.
Butternut Squash and Parmesan Bread Pudding
A side of sautéed kale or mustard greens would provide a nice counterpoint to the sweet butternut squash in this savory vegetarian entrée.
Jackson Pollock Candied Apples
Named for the abstract expressionist's signature paint-splattered canvases, these apples make great Halloween treats. Green Granny Smiths go well with the sweet white and bittersweet chocolates, but use any apple you like. Look for wooden sticks at craft supply stores, or use forks instead.
Halloween Green Bean Salad
Throw together a quick salad full of fresh fruits and veggies while the kids are trick-or-treating. A white wine and orange juice-based vinaigrette helps marry all the flavors together.
Caramel-bathed apples nestle in a tender crust, while crème fraîche lends a little French tang to this fall classic.
Shaved Fall Vegetable Salad with Cider Vinaigrette
Sparkling cider and cider vinegar amplify the apple flavor in this fresh seasonal salad also featuring butternut squash, celery root, and arugula.
Maple syrup provides a touch of sweet, while ground red pepper adds heat to this quick and easy appetizer. A heatproof spatula works best to combine and spread the ingredients into the pan.
Brownie Snack Cake
Don't be intimidated by the spiderweb design on this cake; it's much easier than it looks! Starting in center of cake, pipe frosting in 4 concentric circles. Then, starting at center circle, pull a wooden pick or tip of a knife through circles at regular intervals to edge of cake to form a "web" design.
Quick Fall Minestrone
Fall produce, with its powerful flavor and heartiness, is a frequent presence in comfort-food recipes. Butternut squash, potatoes, kale, and carrot make this soup soul-warming, and pasta and white beans give it traditional Italian flavor.
Spiced Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Vegetable shortening gives this piecrust—which we've deemed our best ever—a delicious, flaky texture. Be sure to read the nutrition labels and buy a brand with no trans fats though.
Brining overnight in a salt-and-cider mixture makes this chicken incredibly flavorful and moist while basting with reduced apple cider adds a hint of sweetness to the finished chicken.
Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies
Get festive with these delightful chocolatey cookies. For the spiderweb glaze, snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag. If it's too small, you can always make it bigger.
Crisp and Spicy Snack Mix
Snack on this salty, spicy mix before dinner. And if there's any left, toss it on a salad.
Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
This classic French comfort food is simple and satisfying at its best. One of the basic tenets of French cuisine is making full use of ingredients—hence, whole chickens in this recipe.