Halloween is a great opportunity to introduce young people to seasonal vegetables in fun and exciting ways.

Our school chefs enjoy being able to create menus that turn classic autumn ingredients such as pumpkin and sweet potatoes into interesting stars of the show.

We talked to Darren Barnes, Chef Manager, about why he loves Halloween and asked him to share some of his favourite Spooktacular recipes.

“Halloween is always a firm favourite for students and colleagues alike. Our trick is making sure all our treats are deliciously fun, but also healthy,” said Darren.

“Spicy chicken with roasted autumnal vegetables and our pumpkin and pork meatballs are easy to make, filled with nutritious ingredients and will be a hit with everyone this Halloween!

“A plate filled with chicken, carrots, parsnips and swede may not sound like fun but with a few key ingredients like Sriracha and fresh herbs, every ghoul will enjoy them.”

Key Ingredients

Chicken is considered a lean meat and is an excellent source of protein which plays an important role in muscle growth and maintenance.  It’s also a great source of many vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, selenium and iron.

Pumpkins are a winter squash and although they are technically a fruit, as they contain seeds, they have nutritional benefits more like vegetables than fruits. They are rich in Vitamin A and C and a good source of Vitamin E.

Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, rich in antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fibre. As well as the typical orange, you can also find red, yellow, white and purple carrots.

Swede has a wide range of health benefits due to its excellent source of vitamins and nutrients. A 100g portion of roasted or boiled swede contains 18.8mg of vitamin C and 216mg of potassium!

Celery is 95% water and is well known for being low in calories. . Celery contains many vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium, folate and vitamin K. Celery is also a good source of fibre.


Easy Pumpkin and Pork Meatballs, Serves 4


  • 500g minced pork
  • 200g pumpkin puree
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 80g white onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the sauce

  • 500ml of passata sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano


  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Put all the ingredients in a bowl and combine the mixture together using your hands or, if you prefer, a wooden spoon. Once combined roll into 20 equal balls, place the balls on a non-stick tray and place it in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and pour the passata and the oregano over the top.
  • Lower the heat of the oven to 150C.
  • Put the tray back into the oven for 10 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and warmed through.
  • Serve with pasta or rice.

Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Cheese Pie, Serves 4


  • 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 200g pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 20ml of milk
  • 1 tablespoons of butter
  • 100g of grated mature Cheddar cheese
  • 5 slices of tomato for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Boil the diced pumpkin and potatoes together.
  • Once they are soft, which should take 15 to 20 minutes, drain and mash together with the butter and milk and slowly add 2/3 of the cheese and season to taste.
  • When everything has combined together, spoon the mixture into a baking dish, and cover with the remaining 1/3 of cheese, add the tomato slices on the top of the potato mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 20 minutes in the centre of the oven until the cheese has totally melted and is starting to turn a nice golden brown.

Firecracker Chicken, Serves 4


For the chicken:

  • 8 boneless skin-on chicken thighs
  • Freshly ground black pepper, and salt

For the sauce:

  • 120g hot sauce, Sriracha would be a good choice
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


To make the sauce:

  • Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Bring them to a boil whilst stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

To make the chicken:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and then when it’s hot, add the chicken skin-side down, working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook the chicken until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes should do the trick.
  • Using tongs, flip the chicken over. Pour about half of the sauce evenly over the chicken. Place the frying pan in the oven or, if your frying pan is not suitable for the oven, transfer to an oven safe dish and roast for five minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and baste the sauce from the bottom of the pan over the chicken. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and return to the oven for a few minutes more.
  • Serve the chicken with the remaining sauce on the side.

Autumn Roasted Vegetables, Serves 4


  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large parsnips
  • ½ a medium swede
  • 3 celery sticks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 30ml rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Peel and clean all the vegetables then chop into a chunky dice.
  • Chop the garlic and herbs together to a fine dice.
  • Mix the herbs, vegetables and oil together in a mixing bowl, once coated with the oil season to taste and place in a non-stick oven tray and roast on 180C for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Hasselback Potatoes, Serves 4


  • 500g of baby or new potatoes
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 20ml rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Slice each potato 2/3rds of the way through and repeat this along the whole length of the potato, then place on a non-stick baking tray, sliced side up.
  • Chop the rosemary and garlic together to a fine dice.
  • Brush each potato with the rapeseed oil, then sprinkle over the rosemary and garlic and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  • Bake at 180C for 35 to 40 minutes.