Tender, sweet, baked stuffed pumpkin with a delicious mixture of rice, vegetables, nuts & cranberries. A beautiful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving or Halloween gathering!
This festive Roast Stuffed Pumpkin centerpiece is filled to bursting with a delicious mixture of rice, vegetables, nuts and cranberries and as well as being great for Thanksgiving, it makes a fantastic Halloween dinner centre-piece.
In this post:
How To Make Stuffed Pumpkin
It's not as difficult as it looks to make this stuffed pumpkin. Here's how it's done:
- Cut the top of the pumpkin and remove the stringy, seedy innards then brush the inside of the pumpkin with some oil and season generously.
- Saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms.
- Mix all of the filling ingredients up in a bowl then stuff them tightly inside the pumpkin.
- Put the lid of the pumpkin on, wrap it all in foil then bake.
- Use a squash instead of a pumpkin. Rounder-shaped ones are easier to cut and fill though so bear that in mind when buying it
- Use cooked quinoa or any other cooked grain in place of the rice
- Add any chopped nuts or dried fruit you like to the filling
- Change up the herbs and spices. Use whatever you like. The beauty of this filling is you can taste as you go to get it just right.
- Add some extra chopped veggies to the filling.
What To Serve With Stuffed Pumpkin
This stuffed pumpkin is really versatile and can work as a side or an entree. It's perfect served as a centerpiece for Thanksgiving dinner alongside your usual sweet potato casserole and green bean casserole, and it makes a fun meal at Halloween. Here are some of my recipes that it works really well with:
Making In Advance
This stuffed pumpkin is great for making ahead and perfect if you are invited to a gathering or potluck. You can prepare it, wrap it up in foil, and take it along with you to bake and serve.
When working with cooked rice though, it's important to be aware of food safety. Cooked rice should always be cooled very quickly and refrigerated as soon as possible or you could be at risk of food poisoning. As per the NHS, Food Safety Canada and the CDC, rice should only ever be reheated once. For detailed information see Risk of Bacillus cereus in Relation to Rice and Derivatives.
The shallower the container the quicker it will cool. Do not let it sit out on the counter for a long time. Cover the container with a lid and store in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
This means that when making this baked stuffed pumpkin in advance, you need to be sure the rice is cooked, cooled, and refrigerated very quickly and when you mix the filling up don't leave it out at room temperature for long. Stuff it into the pumpkin, wrap the pumpkin in foil and refrigerate immediately. The pumpkin will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days like this.
Cooked rice should only be reheated once, so once you've made the pumpkin, don't roast it until you want to eat it. This means that if you are going to a potluck or dinner party, you need to take the uncooked pumpkin with you, keep it chilled on the way, and roast it while you are there. Or roast it at home right before and transport it while hot, not reheating it again when you get there.
How To Roast The Pumpkin Seeds
Want to use up the pumpkin seeds from your baked stuffed pumpkin? Roasted pumpkin seeds are super delicious and easy to make.
Save the seeds from your pumpkin and roast them quickly and easily. Simply rinse them with water until they look pretty clean. Don't worry about a few stringy bits. Let them dry completely. Toss in a teaspoon or two of oil, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and spread on a baking tray. Roast in the oven on 400°F (200°C) for about 15 - 20 minutes or until crispy. Yum!
Hungry For More?
Roast Stuffed PumpkinAuthor:
- ½ cup (60 grams) chopped walnut pieces
- 1 medium pumpkin , or round squash, ( approximately 8 inch diameter - If your pumpkin is very different in size then please see the recipe notes)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil , optional (or any other kind of oil you like)
- 1 medium onion , chopped finely
- 3 large cloves garlic , chopped finely
- 10 white or cremini mushrooms , chopped into small pieces
- 1 packed cup (200 grams) cooked & cooled rice , any kind of rice is fine although there will be more flavour/texture if you use wild rice
- ½ cup (60 grams) dried cranberries
- 1 large handful fresh spinach , chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano , or use dried mixed herbs instead of the oregano and thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt & pepper , to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 °C)
- Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for two minutes until they smell really nutty and toasted. keep them moving constantly. Remove from heat, pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in one teaspoon of the oil until just starting to turn golden. If you wish to keep the recipe oil-free use a tablespoon or two of water instead of the oil and as more as necessary.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute longer then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Carefully cut the top off the pumpkin (about the top third) and set aside.
- If you can't see the seedy innards then just use a small sharp knife to cut a circle out of the flesh at the top and pull it out like a plug. Remove the stringy innards and seeds.
- Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil (omit if you want the recipe to be oil-free) then season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper.
- Place the cooked rice, dried cranberries, chopped spinach, toasted walnuts, herbs, cumin and the sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms into a bowl and mix well together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spoon the rice mixture into the pumpkin cavity, pressing down hard to pack it in tightly and keep going until it's full.
- Place the pumpkin top back on then wrap completely and tightly in foil.
- Place on a baking tray and bake for around 1 hr 30 mins or until tender. Check it by pulling back some foil and inserting a knife or a fork into the side. If it is soft and the knife goes in easily it is ready.
- Remove from the oven and leave for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
This recipe was originally published on October 6th 2015. I've since updated and rewritten the post but the very well-loved recipe remains the same. I hope you enjoy it. Thank you for following A Virtual Vegan!