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November 15, 2017

A Vegan/Vegetarian’s Guide to Halloween

Halloween, as well as the season of fall, is the time of the year when just about everyone’s sweet tooth is in high gear. Cookies, cakes, pastries – and even comfort food like macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes – are all warm, subtle reminders of the season.

For vegans and vegetarians, it’s a little harder to enjoy these delightful dishes, but there are plenty of Halloween treats that can easily satisfy anybody’s taste buds. Here are a few dishes that are easy to make and can get anyone in a Halloween spirit.

Pumpkin Cider Bread
Ingredients:
Bread pan or round circular pan
2 cups pumpkin puree
Flour (just keep adding until consistency is right)
2 tablespoons yeast – dry in 1/2 cup
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup molasses
2 cups apple cider

Preparation time: 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

First, proof the yeast, which means that you will want to measure out two tablespoons of yeast and mix it with warm water to activate it. It is important that the water is warm because water that is too hot will kill the yeast. The yeast is the essential part of vegan bread because it allows the bread to rise. Once you can see a quarter inch of foam on the top of the yeast, you can mix the dry ingredients.

It is best to start with the flour and salt. Start with four cups of flour and then slowly sift in more after the wet ingredients are added. Once the flour and salt are combined, mix in the rest of the ingredients from most wet to most solid. Some extra ingredients that you can add are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice, mace and cardamom.

After all the ingredients are mixed, transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a cloth or plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in size. This may take a while depending on your yeast and the climate and humidity, so anywhere between a half hour to an hour. Roll the dough out into a long, thin, strip and place in a greased pan and let it rise until it again doubles in size.

Finally, put it in a preheated oven and bake it at 325 ºF for about 45 minutes. Make sure to watch it so that it does not burn or start browning too quickly. Cool the bread out of the pan because the heat could continue to cook it for a while.

Halloween Pizza Mummies
Ingredients:
English Muffins
Pizza Sauce
Black Olives
Scallions (Green Onion)
Cheese Sticks

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

First, preheat an oven or toaster oven to 350 ºF. Cut each English muffin in half, toast them and spread about a tablespoon of sauce. Next place the slices of olives on the muffins for the eyes and then cut small pieces of green onion for the pupils. Next, pull apart the string cheese and lay the cheese across the muffins for the mummies’ wrappings. Finally place the muffins on a baking pan and place them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Haunted Pasta
For this next dish you will need the following items:
Any good size pan
1-1/2 pounds pasta of your choice

Sauce:
1-1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
1-1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 (12-ounce) block of firm (not silken) tofu
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Vegesal or in lack of fancy product, just use salt
1 dollop mustard (optional)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Pre-heat the oven to 350 ºF and then boil water in a big pot to cook the pasta in. Cooking directions are on the side of the pasta box. Next, add all of the cheese sauce ingredients into a blender and process it all until it has a smooth texture. Once the pasta is fully cooked, drain out the water. Place the pasta into a baking pan and pour the cheese sauce over it. Then, place the pan into the oven and bake the pasta until the top starts to turn brown in color or until it is crispy over the top. This should occur after about 15 minutes.

For a more creative dish of Halloween spirit, you can make some macaroni swamp creatures. For this you will need a muffin pan, olives and spinach. Instead of pouring out the macaroni into the larger pan spoon some into the muffin cups (make sure each cup you used is lightly greased). Bake the macaroni until firm for about 20 minutes. While they are baking, sauté the spinach in a pan until cooked. Once the macaroni is firm, remove them from the oven and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove them from the muffin cups and place them upside down on a plate on top of the sautéed spinach. Place the olives on top to act as eyes, and there you have it: macaroni swamp creatures.

Anthony Santiago can be reached at aosantia@student.umass.edu.

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