Stuffed Jack-o’-Lanterns

by Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit) on October 22, 2012

I remember getting absolutely frantic the day of Halloween. Scratch that… I was frantic the days leading up to EVERY holiday.

Besides making my costumes, I would consistently devise a Halloween treat plan that would help our crew (usually my best friend, my sister and her best friend) tackle each street with precision. No house was left unvisited. I knew which homes were lucrative and which were better left alone. Which ones most consistently tried to scare children, and the tame ones that wouldn’t jolt us too much.

Regardless of weather, timing, or how old we got, Mom would always make sure that my sister and I left for trick-or-treating on a full stomach of something healthy. I guess her thought was that if she filled us up with a nice warm stew, we’d be less likely to gorge ourselves as we went from house to house.

Moms, they’re always thinking!

We’d enjoy a hot bowl of soup (it’s usually really cold in Alberta on Halloween), sloppy joes, shepherds pie, that sort of thing.

I was always resistant to eat, a bit to excited about the evening ahead I’m sure. But had I been presented with an opportunity to carve a bell pepper and stuff it full of spaghetti, I think I would have been a bit more thrilled about the whole Halloween dinner experience.

Heck, even as a 26 year old I enjoyed carving these faces and stuffing them with pasta.

Who doesn’t like carving jack-o’-lanterns, common now.

You can fill these peppers with just about anything. Pasta and red sauce, add some meat in there if you like, maybe some cheese… heck you could stuff them with meat and bake them like Jenna did here. I liked the whole spaghetti idea because it looks like guts. Kinda goes with the whole Halloween thing.

Whatever you decide, eating a jack-o-lantern face is so ridiculous awesome regardless your age.

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Stuffed Jack-o’-Lanterns
Author: 
Allergens: Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Yeast-free, Corn-free, Grain-free (option), Nut-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Pasta-stuffed peppers cut into jack-o-lanterns. Made with raw zucchini or brown rice spaghetti and smothered in a 5 minute simple raw red sauce.
Ingredients
Noodles:
  • 4 medium zucchinis, cut into noodle shape
  • or 8 oz. gluten-free brown rice spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
Jack-o-Lanterns:
Raw red sauce:
  • 1 large hot house tomato
  • ½ cup (85 grams) sun dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • ½ red pepper
  • ¼ red onion
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, soaked for a couple of hours
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce – I used Braggs All Purpose Seasoning
  • 1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 pitted medjool date
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Begin preparing pasta. Once cooked, set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, carve faces in your peppers. To do this, cut a round section on the top of the pepper. Discard the seeds and scrape away the insides. Being very careful, begin to carve the jack-o’-lantern face. When complete, set aside.
  3. To prepare pasta sauce – add all ingredients to the bowl of your food processor. Process for 1 minute, or until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl, add pasta and stir to coat.
  5. Divide pasta amongst prepared peppers and pull strands of pasta through the mouths or eyes of the jack-o-lanterns.
  6. Serve.

Round up all of your ingredients. The sauce will take just seconds to prepare, so get your noodles ready while you carve the bell peppers.

I highly advise getting a pumpkin carver for the job. I’m pretty sure using a knife could lead to a catastrophe. Bell peppers are very fragile. They’re soft so they carve much easier than a pumpkin. Either way, this would be a fun activity for the kids!

Once the jack-o-lanterns are complete, get to preparing your sauce. Place everything in the bowl of your food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.

You can choose to use a couple of different noodles. I made my jack-o-lantern with zucchini noddles for a grain-free alternative and Kevin chose brown rice pasta. Kelp noodles would have been really good, too.

To make the zucchini noodles, I used the spiralizer that I purchased from Amazon over 4 years ago. It does the trick!

Once the noodles are done, mix with the sauce, and stuff in the peppers.

Pull a couple of strands of pasta through to make it look cool and you’re done!

Simple, healthy and spooky!

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica { EricaDHouse.com }

I was SO bummed out this year about not carving pumpkins so I think I will have to do this as a substitute! I absolutely love this idea – they are adorable and I’m betting really, really delicious!

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Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

These are so fun! I love this idea–thanks for sharing!

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Janae @ Bring-Joy

So fun, Leanne! My kids will love doing this. And even better, because the peppers are raw. My kids love raw peppers but won’t eat them cooked, funny, huh?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Kevin is the same way, he hates cooked bell peppers!

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Sarah L.

Absolutely adorable! I’m going to make these this weekend just for fun. Also, I made your sweet potato curry last night and totally devoured it – it’s sooo delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Mmm I’m so happy that you liked it, Sarah! I’ve made it every single day since I posted the recipe. The lemon juice make it, doesn’t it?

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Andrea

Haha ohh man these are awesome. Love the faces you cut out with the spaghetti coming through.. “are my insides showing?” Priceless :) This is such a good idea.. might have to make these for dinner this week! I so wish that I had a mandoline slicer, spiralizer, or something to make zucchini “spaghetti” noodles. I could of course use a veggie peeler to make ribbons, but it’s just not the same! I’m totally a visual person :) Any ideas on how to make thin noodles like that without any of those kitchen gadgets?

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Hey Andrea, you could make ribbons with the veggie peeler and then slice them with a knife… I’ve done that a couple of times and it worked out okay!

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Irina @ Chocolatea Time

Oh WOW these are amazing!!! I am impressed :) These just made their way onto my weekend dinner menu

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Irina! Wow you’re so prepared already thinking about what you’re making for the weekend… great work!

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Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Hahaha these are sooo adorable! I love this Leanne! Thanks for linking up to my zucchini noodle recipe, too!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks Beth! We had a really fun time eating them, too :)

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Cheyenne Holman

too cute! weird though, ive been planning on doing something similar for a halloweenthemed potluck this week,but ill be using a bean mix. great minds think alike! haha

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Yum, peppers were made for bean mixes! I bet it’s going to turn out fabulously.

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Alissa N

I love this!!! So festive and hilarious!! Look delish too!!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Thanks, Alissa! Holiday cooking is the best. We have an excuse to play with our food!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat

What an amazing idea!! These are so cute. I don’t think I liked peppers when I was little but I don’t think my parents would have had any problems getting me to eat them in jack-o-lantern form. Like you, my mum would always put a proper dinner in our bellies before we headed out to comb the neighbourhood for candy. In Edmonton, every single one of my costumes was strategically built to fit over a snowsuit!

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

Ha, snowsuit in Halloween? No… never! :( I was always so upset when I had to wear my snowsuit underneath my costume. I felt like the Michelin man every darn year!

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Cara's Healthy Cravings

My nephews would love these! A good way to get them involved in the cooking…with a lot of supervision :)

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

It got my 30 year old boyfriend intrigued so I’m sure it’d do wonders for your nephews, supervision and all!

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Danielle@fresh4five

These are Super Cute! I Love it.

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Nicole

Oh my goodness! Way to start from rice and quinoa and put pasta in a bell pepper, you’re amazing! I just bought a spiralizer specifically for ye ol’ zucchini, so I’m so tackling this recipe.

Thank you for sharing!!

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Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

Heheh! They are so cute!!!! :D

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Carol @ Lucky Zucca

This is such a cute, fun idea!!!

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Richa

those are some mean looking peppers!:)

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Brianne

My 5 year old son and I have a “date night” on Friday…. Guess what we’re making for dinner? These crazy peppers!!! What a great idea! Thanks Leanne :)

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Leanne Vogel (Healthful Pursuit)

What a fun activity! Have fun :)

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Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate

I love it when nutritious foods can be fun! This is such a cute idea and a great way to get kids (and adults!) to eat their veggies.

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Cara

What an adorable idea!

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Sarah (Kids Heart Real Food)

Leanne – you are hilarious! These are great – what a fun idea for kids.

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