A Very Vegan Halloween with Kathy Hester

Jackfruit Gumbo

While I was thinking about who to ask to participate in my Fabulous Women in Food guest post series, Kathy Hester immediately came to mind for October. Kathy published her Halloween-themed e-book The Ghoulish Gourmet last year, and she’s an expert on making deliciously frightful vegan Halloween dishes.

For the last 10 years, Kathy’s thrown a multi-course vegan gothic Halloween dinner party for her friends, and she’s written The Ghoulish Gourmet so you too can invite all your friends over and have a spooky soiree. The book contains tips on hosting your own party as well as 25 unique vegan Halloween recipes that all ages will love.

The Ghoulish Gourmet is available for Kindle from Amazon or as a pdf that you can read on your computer, iPad or phone. (You can also open the pdf using the free Kindle or iBook software on your mobile device.) If you’re having a Halloween party this year, this book is a must have! Now I invite you to read why Kathy decided to do a book about Halloween and get one of the recipes as well as a chance to win a copy of the book!


Pumpkin Pecan Shake from The Ghoulish Gourmet by Kathy HesterI have been in love with Halloween since I was little. Every year I’d look forward to taping the cardboard ghost and haunted house cut-outs on our windows. In the background I’d have my Halloween album playing the music from the Haunted Mansion in Disney World. It was the best!

While Halloween can have elements of horror, it really goes beyond that into celebrating autumn. There’s something magical about carving pumpkins, adding a few spooky touches to your house, and inviting your friends and family over to celebrate.

I love a good theme party and it’s so easy to throw a fun Halloween dinner. Get a few decorations including some spider webs or if you have the motivation go on Pinterest.com to get some over the top pumpkin carving and decorating ideas.


Chocolate Bat Cookies from The Ghoulish Gourmet by Kathy HesterThis year we’re having a Harry Potter themed dinner party complete with butterbeer and pumpkin juice. I’ve been hosting a multi-course Gothic dinner party for the past 10 years and it’s the highlight of my year.

You don’t need to invest a lot of money in a Halloween dinner set, just go to a thrift store and get some mis-matched fancy plates and glasses. It’s even better if you can get some tarnished silver platters to go with it.

Decorations are nice, but the most important thing is the food. You can make salads spooky by using little ghost cookie cutters to cut salad turnips, make pumpkin-shaped carrots slices, or even ghost cut outs of vegan cheese slices.

Vegan main courses can be a little harder to come up with so I’m sharing my Swamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo. It so easy to make and it gets its spook factor from the black forbidden rice and the green puree.

Happy Halloween!


Swamp Monster Jackfruit Gumbo from The Ghoulish Gourmet by Kathy HesterSwamp Monster Slow Cooker Jackfruit Gumbo

Recipe by Kathy Hester from The Ghoulish Gourmet: A Bewitching Collection of Vegan Halloween Recipes copyright 2016 printed with permission

makes 4 to 6 servings

This chunky stew is full of okra, tomatoes, vegan sausage and stringy jackfruit. One of my testers, Robin Fetter of The Real Vegan Housewife, says the soup had “an awesome foamy green effect on top” when she served it immediately, but that the green became less bright after twenty minutes. She highly recommends puréeing the greens into the soup.

For the main gumbo:

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sliced okra (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes or 2 (14.5 ounce) cans
  • 1 cup minced bell pepper (any color)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (20 ounce) young green jackfruit in brine, rinsed with seeds removed *
  • 2 large vegan sausages (Italian, Chik’n Apple, or Andouille), cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced
  • 2 bouillon cubes (vegetable or vegan chicken flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend (see recipe below)
  • 3 bay leaves

For finishing:

  • 1 cup chopped spinach, kale or other mild green
  • just enough water to puree, about 1/4 cup
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • more Cajun seasoning blend, to taste – optional

For serving:

  • steamed rice (white, brown or forbidden)
  • hot sauce


  1. In the morning: Add all the main gumbo ingredients to your 4 quart slow cooker. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours.
  2. 15 minutes before serving: Add the greens to a blender with a little water and purée until smooth. Then add salt, pepper and more Cajun seasoning if needed.
  3. Remove bay leaves and serve gumbo topped with the green “swamp” purée and a scoop of rice.

* shred the jackfruit with your hands – it will happen easily as you remove the large seeds.

Make Your Own Cajun Seasoning Blend

If you’re looking for a salt-free version or just can’t find it in your area, this little recipe will keep you in spicy goodness for awhile. The best part is you can make it as spicy or mild as you like!


  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano or marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Combine all the ingredients well and store in a lidded container. You can also use a spice grinder to make it look more like store-bought.


Kathy Hester Vegan HalloweenKathy Hester is the blogger behind HealthySlowCooking.com and author of 6 traditionally published cookbooks, including the bestselling book, The Vegan Slow Cooker. She has also ventured into self-publishing with her first ebook, The Ghoulish Gourmet, a vegan Halloween cookbook.

Her newest traditionally published book, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot, comes out January 2017 from Page St. Publishing.


the-ghoulish-gourmet-by-kathy-hesterKathy has a copy of her e-book The Ghoulish Gourmet for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. Contest ends at midnight  on October 18th. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




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