Halloween is often celebrated for its inextricable connection with sweets — from the candies we collected as children to the pumpkin-flavored baked goods that fill the grocery store aisles, Halloween-themed food and sugar are never far apart. If you want something savory but still want to partake in the festive food season, this spooky vegan curry is for you!

Katherine McCabe / Daily Nexus


  • 1 cup black wild rice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger or galangal 
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 block tofu 
  • Veggies of choice
  • Salt to taste


  1. Cook rice per package instructions.
  2. In a large pan, heat up coconut oil and add garlic, ginger or galangal, shallot and red bell pepper. Cook until browned and then add chili powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes. 
  3. Deglaze pan with rice vinegar.
  4. Once rice vinegar has cooked off, add tomato paste. You might need to add a little bit of water so that the tomato paste dissolves and isn’t clumpy. 
  5. Add coconut milk, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf and salt to taste. 
  6. Simmer and add veggies of choice. Vegetables should be either precooked or cut thinly and evenly enough that they will all cook at the same time. 
  7. Cut the block of tofu into ¼ inch thick wedges. Using a small knife or a cookie cutter, cut the tofu into festive Halloween shape — I made bats, pumpkins and ghosts!
  8. Add tofu to sauce and simmer until it has soaked up some of the flavor, 5 to 10 minutes. If the sauce is starting to become too thick, you can add water or extra coconut milk.
  9. Make a bed of black rice and top with veggies and curry sauce. Add tofu last so that it can be artfully arranged and the spooky shapes are visible! 

In addition to having such fun-shaped protein, this dish abides to the Halloween theme with its purple, black and orange color scheme. It is a great way to get an on-theme, healthy meal in this spooky season without resorting to pumpkin or sweets. It also allows for ample creativity with the tofu cutlet shapes and versatile vegetable inclusion.

A version of this article was featured on p. 14 of the October 28, 2021 print edition of the Daily Nexus.