Orange and black Halloween food is definitely on-theme, but it doesn’t have to come courtesy of scary food dyes.
Even if you opt for a more sophisticated Halloween scheme, the classic orange and black color palette is iconic, and undeniably festive. So if you’re staying in for Halloween dinner, why not scare up an orange and black meal? These are all natural ingredients too, no tricks (or food coloring) required.
Any of these dishes would be a hit at a Halloween party, or as pre-trick-or-treating fuel for the family—but since neither of those activities are all that safe during the pandemic, make it a multi-course feast for only your nearest and dearest. It’s so festive it will make everyone forget they’re not out having the usual fun.
A couple of these treats are in costume, as is only appropriate; you can don your own disguises for dinner too. And of course, we couldn’t forget dessert on this candy-heavy holiday, so don’t worry about missing out on the sugar. (But see how to make Halloween candy desserts if you just can’t skip the fun-size Snickers bars.)
Sweet, deep-orange roasted carrots benefit from the tang—and inky color—of balsamic glaze, which you can buy ready-made, or make yourself by simmering balsamic vinegar until reduced and thickened. Get the Roasted Carrots with Balsamic Glaze recipe.
Balsamic Glaze, $12.75 on Amazon
A balsamic reduction for drizzling on roasted vegetables, meat, cheese, and fruit.
Smoked paprika lends depth to this earthy-sweet pumpkin hummus, and black sesame seeds add a nutty crunch as well as a seasonal color contrast. Get the Smoky Pumpkin Black Sesame Seed Hummus recipe.
Black Sesame Seeds, $12.99 on Amazon
Add crunch, nutty flavor, and visual pop to all sorts of dishes from sushi to sundaes.
Mussels have naturally orange flesh, and their blue-black shells make perfect serving vessels. Topping them with a sweet paprika aioli lends both richness and kick, thanks to a little garlic and Dijon along for the ride. Get our Broiled Mussels with Sweet Paprika Aioli recipe.
Top a tangle of black squid ink pasta with cooked-down cherry tomatoes, garlic, and shrimp—and consider tossing the shrimp in a little achiote paste to give them more of an orange hue (and even more delicious flavor). Get the Squid Ink Linguine with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes recipe.
Achiote Paste, $7.25 on Amazon
This blend of garlic, spices, and red-orange annatto seed imparts vivid flavor and color.
Black rice (also known as forbidden rice) is a great addition to goth pantries and regular larders alike; paired with cubes of butternut squash, it makes for a healthy, hearty, and eye-catching salad that tastes great by itself or accompanied by the protein of your choice. Get the Warm Black Rice Salad with Butternut Squash recipe.
Organic Medium-Grain Black Rice, $3.49 from Thrive Market
Antioxidant-rich and organic.
Black rice is also great for stuffing peppers—orange for the occasion, and carved into mini jack-o’-lanterns if you like (how could you resist?). Skip the chicken for a vegetarian main course. Get the Black Rice Chicken Fajita Stuffed Jack-o-Lantern Peppers recipe.
Orange sweet potatoes and black beans are always great together, but especially so on Halloween. This enchilada bake is easy to whip up too, since the tortillas, filling, sauce, and cheese are simply layered like a lasagna. (You can try it with butternut squash too.) Get the Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchilada Bake recipe.
Strategically sliced black olives make it easy to decorate your pizza (or any other main course) for the holiday. Sprinkle some shredded cheddar underneath them for extra flavor and more of a true orange contrast. Get the Mini Spider Pizzas recipe.
Pumpkins epitomize Halloween, so they’re a natural choice for dessert, and a dark chocolate crust is a nice change from plain pastry that also happens to look fantastic with the orange filling. Get the Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart recipe.
These paleo churros don’t require frying, just a waffle maker—and a rich, dark pool of melted chocolate thinned with coconut cream and maple syrup for dipping. Make it even darker if you prefer a little more bitter with your sweet. Get the Paleo Pumpkin Churros with Dark Chocolate Sauce recipe.
This pumpkin-infused snacking cake is warmly spiced and super tender, and pairs beautifully with the thick layer of dark chocolate cream cheese frosting swirled on top. The best part? You can make the whole thing ahead and freeze it for later. Get the Pumpkin Snacking Cake recipe.
If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard fire pit (and the weather cooperates), consider taking dessert outside. It’s as simple as stirring up your favorite chocolate cake batter (and boxed cake mix is fine), then baking it in orange rinds—a neat little trick that looks like a mini pumpkin and adds a hint of citrus flavor to the cake. Feel free to stir in some chopped candy and/or top it off with homemade frosting too…or even carve a jack-o’-lantern face once it’s finished. Get our Chocolate Cakes Baked in an Orange recipe.
Header image courtesy of Ekaterina Fedotova / 500Px Plus / Getty Images