Meatless Monday – Tips & Treats

It’s that time of year again where ghoulish treats and spooky tricks are the order of the day. This Meatless Monday offers some tips and treats for the vegetarian/vegan at Hallowe’en.

Some Tips for Hallowe’en treats
How do you know if those unsuspecting candies in trick or treat bags and at Hallowe’en themed parties have been tainted with animal product? There are three tell-tale signs to look for:

Main ingredient
Clearly candy is made with copious amounts of sugar and while the package may not specifically state bone char sugar, the label does not confirm the process used to whiten the sugar. Brown rice syrup and cane sugar are alternative ingredients in boiled sweets that don’t contain bone char (as far as we know…)

Added ingredient
Any gummied or jellied treat is likely to contain gelatin. Other treats that also have this cow or pig derived protein product are candy corn, junior mints and Rice Krispie cereal treats.

Animal derived food dyes often account for the exuberance of Hallowe’en candy.
-carmine, cochineal, natural red 4 (from beetles)
-confectioners’ glaze, shellac (from lac beetles)

Most health food stores will carry Hallowe’en treats that are made with natural dyes, alternative sweeteners and gelling agents. Shop around and read the labels. If in doubt, leave it out.

Some tricks for Hallowe’en treats
And for those who will be hosting a healthy Hallowe’en party (um…what’s the point?), here are some food ideas to help serve up a scary feast:

  • Cauliflower brain – serve with a ‘grey matter’ sauce.
  • Savoury or sweet blood sauce (tomato or pomegranate based, respectively)
  • ‘Finger food’ –  marzipan shaped to look like fingers
  • Edible eyeballs! Who can resist? Boiled egg, olive and pepper for ovo-vegetarians and lychee fruit and berries for vegans
  • Witches’ brew – a cauldron of anything: steaming pumpkin soup, fruit-based beverage, alcohol-based beverage
  • Hallowe’en themed ice-cube trays filled with water (plain or soda), juice or ginger ale. The carbonated ice cubes can be thrown into the cauldron for special (fizzing) effect.
  • Orange bell peppers carved like pumpkins and filled with a mix of vegetables and couscous. See original post.
  • And check out the Vegetarian Times online for more inspiration and recipes.

And if you really want to freak out your guests, screen legally obtained documentaries on factory animal slaughter, decorate your party pad with photos of an abattoir in action and string up stuffed animals around the room to recreate that meat locker feel. Now that’s horrifying!

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