I’ve been wanting to make these jack o’ lantern pepper “pumpkins” for a long time, so I was very happy when October arrived. :)
One of the best parts was when my two-year-old looked into the fridge drawer, saw the orange peppers, and exclaimed, “Pumpkins!”
And that was before they had faces.
Don’t they just look amazing? And I didn’t even do a spectacular job of carving them.
I mean, they’re not magazine cover worthy or anything, but my kids thought they were pretty awesome.
But no – in case you’re wondering – we didn’t actually eat the peppers.
The pieces carved from the faces were added to the spaghetti, but the peppers themselves were rinsed after dinner and used the next day in an omelet. A breakfast for dinner kind of thing.
If you’re in a hurry, or planning to do this on Halloween evening itself and don’t think you’ll have time to make it, you could prep it by cutting all of the veggies ahead of time and storing them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Or you could just use jarred sauce.
But I put together this recipe because I wanted to have a bit of spice in my meal, seeing as how I was going to be serving it in peppers and all.
And it is easy. Look at the photo: just a handful of ingredients.
The hardest part was carving the “jack o’ lanterns,” and, really, the peppers are MUCH easier to cut than actual pumpkins, so I have no complaints about the process.
You’ll notice that I call for 6 to 8 peppers in the recipe, but I only used 3.
The peppers were pricey when I bought them, and I simply refused to buy more than enough for me and my two daughters. But the recipe makes quite a bit of spaghetti and you can fill quite a few more than 3 peppers. The final amount, however, is up to you and depends on your needs and desires.
Another important note: before you buy the peppers, it’s helpful to check and see if they can stand on their own. You can always balance them on top of the spaghetti when serving them, but it’s nice if they can stand up all on their own without falling over.
As I said, the meal itself is pretty easy to make, and I would certainly suggest not just reserving it for a once-a-year treat.
If you want to celebrate autumn and not Halloween specifically, you could serve the spaghetti in the peppers without carving them. Or serve it in small hallowed out pumpkins instead.
For the spaghetti, after you cook the veggies, you just stir in the tomato sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes to get all that yummy flavor dispersed.
Then toss in the noodles – oh, I’m sorry: worms.
My kids loved the fact that we were eating worms for dinner.
It’s why I used linguine instead of spaghetti. We eat spaghetti noodles all the time, and they would certainly work for this recipe, but the linguine gave us a slightly different texture.
But scrumptious worms. Seriously: this is good stuff.
Come on … don’t those jack o’ lanterns filled with worms just look devilishly delicious??
I just can’t get over how adorable these are!
If you agree, please leave me a comment telling me all about it. And don’t forget to Pin your favorite pics to remind yourself that you totally have to try this recipe. :)
Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns
6 to 8 orange sweet peppers
4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
28 to 32 ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound linguine
To make the jack o’ lanterns: cut the tops off of the orange sweet peppers. Scoop out the insides and discard. Using a small, sharp knife, carefully cut out faces in desired patterns. Reserve the pieces.
To make the spicy spaghetti: add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and warm over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until nearly translucent, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add garlic, jalapeno, and diced pieces of reserved pepper from the jack o’ lanterns to the onions, adding a little olive oil if the pan appears dry. Continue to cook over medium for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until peppers are softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomato sauce to the onions and peppers. Combine well and gently simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
Meanwhile, cook the linguine according to the package directions. Drain pasta and add it to the tomato sauce. Toss to combine.
To serve: scoop the linguine and sauce onto a large platter. Place the jack o’ lantern peppers on the spaghetti. Fill the peppers with spaghetti and top with the pepper stems.
[Note: after the meal, the peppers can be rinsed and reused in another dish, such as an omelet.]
And click here to print the free PDF version of the recipe: Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns