Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers are as simple as carving orange bell peppers and filling with pimento cheese dip for a fun and festive Halloween appetizer!
Yesterday my husband called me from work in the middle of the day.
Him: What are you up to?
Me: Oh, you know, carving orange bell peppers into jack-o'-lanterns.
Him: (long pause) ...forrr a blog post???
And then I had to laugh, imagining myself home alone while the kids were in school, maniacally carving faces into random vegetables just for fun.
At any rate, that's what I was doing yesterday...but while it was fun, yes, it was primarily for this blog post. 😉 Because I've been trying to brainstorm a Halloween recipe for y'all, and when I came across a baked dinner idea for Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers on Pinterest, I knew I had to come up with my own rendition of the revelry!
Jack-o-Lantern Stuffed Pepper Inspiration
Who'd have ever imagined that carved orange bell peppers could be so darn cute?! And while the dinner-inspired Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers that I found online were indeed adorable, they were also kind of wrinkly and sad-looking after baking. You know, like the real-life jack-o'-lanterns on my front porch after 2.5 days in the heat of a Texas "fall."
So I decided to take the carved orange pepper concept and fill my Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers with a cold dip (instead of baking them as a warm dinner) for a fun, festive Halloween appetizer! The dip I chose obviously needed to be thick and sturdy, so as not to ooze through the jack-o'-lantern's eyes and nose and mouth. So I went with pimento cheese...and it was perfectly perfect!
How to Make 'Em
- I started by cutting the stems off of my peppers and scooping out all of the seeds and membranes. It felt vaguely reminiscent of scooping the guts out of a pumpkin before carving...except, well, way quicker and easier.
- Next I drew faces on the peppers with a gel pen. I decided to give each of my peppers a different face for endearing Halloween variety. (My gel pen wiped right off if I messed up, but you might want to test yours in an inconspicuous area first to verify that this is the case with yours, too.) Also be aware that your pen can smear onto the inside of the pepper when you're cutting, so be sure to cut slightly outside of the pen lines.
- Once my faces were drawn, I took a small knife and started carving. And y'all, that was the hardest part!
- As a final step, I carefully stuffed my peppers with pimento cheese and arranged them on a cutting board.
I surrounded my personality-permeated peppers with salted pita crackers and tri-color mini pepper strips for scooping up the pimento cheese. I think celery would have also made a great dipper.
And that was it! Seriously, how FUN are these little orange Jack-o'-Lantern Stuffed Peppers for a Halloween appetizer or snack?!
My kids were smitten with them when they got home from school.
My husband was relieved to confirm that I'm not some crazy undercover vegetable carver.
And I feel certain that these guys will be a HIT if you decide to serve them at a party or get-together this month!
Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment
- Use a small, pointy paring knife to carve your peppers. Just be sure to go slowly and carefully...watch those fingers!
- Homemade pimento cheese would be wonderful in these, of course, but store-bought is just fine if you're trying to save on time. And the pimento cheese should be chilled when you stuff your peppers so that it's not too soft...otherwise, it might immediately start oozing through the face cut-outs.
- You may stuff your peppers with another type of veggie dip, if you like, as long as it's thick enough to stay put.
- If you'd like to clean out and carve your peppers ahead of time, you certainly may do so. Dry them well, place them in a large plastic baggie with a paper towel inside (to absorb extra moisture), and pop in the fridge. Then just before serving, pat the carved peppers dry on the inside and outside and fill them with pimento cheese. Easy-peasy!
More Halloween Fun
Jack-o’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers ~ Halloween Appetizer
- 3 large orange bell peppers
- Approximately 3 cups pimento cheese, or another thick vegetable dip
- Sturdy crackers and raw veggies, such as pepper strips, celery, carrots, etc., for dipping
- Cut the top off of each pepper and scrape/scoop out the seeds and membranes. If a pepper isn't sitting flat, slice a very thin piece off of the bottom of the pepper to level it.
- Use a gel pen to draw a jack-o'-lantern face on each pepper, and use a sharp, pointy paring knife to slowly and carefully carve each face.
- Just before serving, carefully spoon about 1 cup of pimento cheese into each pepper, taking care not to press down on the dip too much (or it may ooze out of the openings). Gently set the top on each pepper and surround with the "jack-o'-lanterns" with dippers.