Skull & Pumpkin Halloween Soup makes the perfect spooky dinner. Loaded with protein, Italian seasonings, potato and mushroom skulls, and pumpkin carrots, this dish is filling, flavorful and fun.
This scary soup is perfect for serving at a Halloween party. Don’t forget a spooky dessert.
Skull & Pumpkin Soup Ingredients
To make this scary soup recipe, you will need the following ingredients (see the recipe card below for exact amounts):
- Ground beef: I used lean ground beef in this recipe. You can use whatever type of ground beef you want, but too much fat in this soup will give it a greasy mouth feel
- Italian sausage: You can substitute breakfast sausage or even regular ground pork. If using ground pork you may need to increase the amount of herbs, spices and/or salt used in the recipe.
- Mini gold potatoes: Gold potatoes work well in soup because they have a firm, buttery texture and they maintain their shape when cooked in liquid. Baby red potatoes would also work.
- White mushrooms: Baby bella mushrooms can also be used in this recipe but white mushrooms seemed to hold together better in this soup.
- Beef broth: Vegetable broth and chicken broth make good substitutes for beef broth. You can also use bone broth or stock. However, water is not recommended.
- Tomato sauce
- Yellow onion: Yellow or brown onions are milder and slightly sweet when compared to other varieties. A white onion or a large shallot can be substituted for a yellow onion.
- Garlic powder: Substitute 4 cloves of minced garlic instead of garlic powder.
- Black pepper
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Fennel seed
- Dried sage
- Bay leaves
- Olive oil: Avocado oil or another neutral flavored cooking oil can be used to sauté the onions in place of olive oil.
How to Make Skeleton Soup
- Begin by preparing the pumpkin carrots. Peel the carrots. Make two parallel cuts lengthwise along the carrot, framing what is going to be the stem of the pumpkin. The cuts should extend about 1/8-inch into the carrot. Make two additional cuts, lengthwise, at a 45-degree angle intersecting at the base of each of the initial cuts. These two cuts should also be about 1/8-inch deep. Once these cuts are drawn the length of the carrot you should be able to remove two long pieces from each side of the ‘stem’. The carrot should now look like a pumpkin when sliced into rounds. Repeat for all the carrots and then slice into ¼-inch rounds. Set aside.
- Make the potato skulls. Halve the mini yellow potatoes. Place the halved potatoes flat-side down on a cutting board. With the stainless-steel straw, puncture two ‘eyes’ in each of the halved potatoes. Remove the piece of potato after each puncture to prevent the straw from getting clogged (to make this easier I used a metal skewer and kept it loaded in the straw and just tapped on the end to remove the piece of potato from the straw). Then with a knife, carefully slice a mouth into the flesh of each potato just below the eyes. These cuts do not need to be deep, just draw one horizontal slit with the knife and then several vertical slits along the first line to make a ‘skeleton mouth’. Repeat for all the potatoes and set aside.
- Make the mushroom skulls. As you did with the potatoes, halve the mushrooms and then lay them flat side down on a cutting board. Use the stainless-steel straw to puncture holes in the mushrooms to create eyes. Repeat until all the mushrooms have eyes and set aside. The mushrooms will require more of a delicate touch to prevent them from breaking apart.
- Heat a large stock pot or Dutch oven on the stove over medium heat with 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add in diced onion and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the sausage and beef to the stock pot. Break the meat apart with a wooden spatula and allow it to brown. It only needs to be about 2/3 of the way cooked before proceeding to the next step, but it should be fully broken apart with no large chunks.
- Add the broth, tomato sauce, salt, herbs, and spices to the pot and stir.
- Add the vegetables to the pot and top with the bay leaves.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the meat is fully cooked.
- Remove the bay leaves and stir. Serve hot.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage.
This recipe is not particularly heavy in carbs, however, to make it appropriate for a low-carb diet you can simply just omit the potatoes or replace them with cauliflower florets.
Most of the fat in this recipe comes from the meat once it cooks down. To make the recipe leaner, simply use leaner cuts of ground beef and/or sausage.
This spooky soup is loaded with B vitamins and minerals, high in protein, and contains a balance of macronutrients making it a satiating and nutritious meal.
- Consider the sodium content of other ingredients used in this recipe when salting the soup. Both the sausage and tomato sauce used can change how salty the soup is pretty significantly. Salt conservatively and adjust to taste if this is a concern.
- If you don’t have a stainless-steel straw a regular straw would be strong enough to puncture the eyes in the mushrooms but not the potatoes. You could alternatively carve the eyes in the potatoes with a knife but do so carefully. This is not a job for little ones.
- A straight stainless-steel straw with no bend works best because it is easiest to clear out. Loading a metal skewer in the straw and tapping the end to plunge out the pieces of veggies that get stuck is very effective.
- The pumpkin carrots can also be made individually by first slicing the peeled carrots into rounds and then making the 4 cuts needed to create the ‘stem’. You would slice two small parallel cuts in the top of the round about 1/8-inch long. Then using a 45-degree cut, make two triangles on either side of the ‘stem’ and remove them.