Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin

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I often feel a sting of jealousy at dinners during the holiday season. At first, I thought it was because as vegetarians we often only get to eat the side dishes. But even when we brought our own main course to the table, I found myself staring enviously at the Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas pig. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I want to eat them. It’s just all the fuss around the centerpiece of the table that makes me feel like I’m missing out on something. The initiated talks about cooking techniques, stuffings and their grandmother’s secret method. I also want to join that club.

So this year we stepped things up and decided to try a more impressive dish. Something that is large, heavy and almost can’t fit into the oven. Something that involves carving and stuffing. Something that makes everybody say oooohh and aaaahh, when carried to the table. A salad rarely evokes that kind of reactions. But a pumpkin does. Especially when it is stuffed with wine oozing millet, mushrooms, almonds, goat cheese and cranberries. Folks, this is a showstopper and we hope that you will let it shine on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table this year.

We created this stop-motion video to get you in the right pumpkin party mode!

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Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin
6–8 servings

We used a 13 lb/6 kg Muscat squash for this, but any eatable pumpkins would work. You can also use smaller pumpkins, like Hokkaido, just remember to adjust the baking time.

1 large pumpkin or 2 smaller pumpkins
1 small knob of coconut oil, ghee or olive oil

Cut a hole on top of the pumpkin, shaping a ‘lid’. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Rub the inside with oil. Now it is ready to be stuffed.

Stuffing
1 1/2 cup / 300 g uncooked millet or white quinoa
1 large knob of coconut oil, ghee or olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
9 oz / 250 g brown mushrooms, quartered
2 large stems kale, stems removed and finely chopped
3 tbsp white wine or water
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt and pepper
1 cup / 3,5 oz/ 100 g cranberries (fresh, frozen or dried)
1 handful raw almonds, coarsely chopped (use pumpkin seeds for a nut free alternative)
2 stems flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, save a little for serving
5 1/2 oz / 150 g goat’s or sheep’s feta cheese (optional), save a little for serving

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
Place millet in a sieve and pour over hot water. Rinse and drain. Place in a saucepan and cover with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat immediately and let gently simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet. Sauté onions, mushrooms and kale for a couple of minutes until soft. Add wine, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for about 5 more minutes. When the liquid is almost evaporated, add cranberries, almonds, parsley and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the flavors. Turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cooked millet. Now add the crumbled feat cheese and toss to combine. Fill the pumpkin with the millet stuffing. Place the pumpkin ‘lid’ on top and bake in the oven for about an hour (maybe less or more, adjust to the size of the pumpkin), this depends on the oven and on the size and type of the pumpkin. Check the pumpkin flesh with a knife from time to time and stir around the stuffing with a spoon. The pumpkin is ready when skin is browned and bubbly and the flesh is soft. Garnish with parsley and feta.

This recipe can be prepared ahead and reheated before serving.

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102 Comments

  • Nicki
    I don't often comment on blogs but I really have to say that I've made a variation on this recipe a few times now for the holidays and it really is the perfect substitute for the traditional turkey. It has that same sense of grandeur and still tastes wonderful. As a relatively new vegetarian, I find that I really don't miss the turkey at all! So, thank you for this fantastic recipe! It really has made the holidays so much easier to cope with :)
  • Amazing video and photos. Will give a try to this recipe tonight.
  • I'm planning to make this main event dish, as so many of your commenters did, on a trial run later this week, in preparation for the big day coming up. So looking forward to it, and grateful for all the comments folks made on ways they adapted to whatever they had on hand, as well as the questions asked and answered. LOVED the video! Fantastically creative. Sharing this on my social media today as my pick for Recipe of the Day. Thanks for a terrific recipe!
  • Karime Stoner
    This looks amazing!!! I'm so making it this Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing! ?
  • Laura
    I made these exactly as per directions. I used 2 sugar pie pumpkins. I admittedly forced myself to eat quite a bit before I gave up and tossed the majority in the trash. I felt it was missing some important flavors, perhaps more sweet. And the onion, oh the onion...I like onion in dishes that I cook, but when the entire dish is primarily onion, I just cannot stomach it. I felt like I was eating...onion and more onion with every bite. And I used medium onions. I made the stuffing exactly as described, so it wasn't as if I made a smaller quantity and thus the onion wound up overpowering it. I had leftover stuffing once I stuffed the 2 pumpkins. But the onion was just overpowering for this dish. I also highly recommend to those who do want to make this meal...the sugar pumpkins turned out stringy and dry. Use a different type of winter squash. Some may really like this dish. My son and I just did not. Disappointed with this dish, since I had wanted to try it for so long now!
  • Kate
    Super delicious! We had a little baby pumpkin so I only made 1/3 of the stuffing mixture. It still took an hour to bake though. I substituted currants for cranberries and hazelnuts for almonds as that was all I had! It would be an amazing spectacle with a giant pumpkin I'm sure, but as a little one it was a lovely weeknight dinner.
  • Laura
    Are there any other winter squashes I can use instead of pumpkin? It's Spring and pumpkins are not in season, but I really want to make this for my 2 yr old.
    • I'm perusing the comments before baking this the first time and noticed your request. Quite often, we can still get kabocha squash (pumpkin shaped, slightly flatter, and usually greenish/yellowish with stripes) or small butternut squashes in the spring, which taste quite a bit like pumpkin. I wouldn't hesitate to stuff one of them with this recipe.
  • Julia
    Do you think this stuffing would work in some sweet potatoes, too? Just like bake in whole a littlebit then spoon out a little of the flesh, mix with the filling, stuff and bake a bit more?:)
  • Steve Boise
    What does the coma mean in 1,5 cups?
  • What an Amazing and creative idea!! Doubles as a beautiful centerpiece too!! I can't wait to try this recipe this Thanksgiving! I have a feeling it will become a new dinner tradition!! Love, love, love this. Thank You!!
  • I love pumpkins, so I am going to try this one out! Looks so delicious! Thanks!
  • carmen
    it is february and i have been staring at the beautiful pics of this creation since november. i couldn't stand it anymore and made this dish for my folks tonight. i do like a little more spice, so i added red pepper flakes, fresh marjoram and thyme, red bell pepper and substituted sunflower seeds for the almonds. it was spectacular! thank you so much. and i didn't have my phone with me for a picture--but i cut it in half to begin the eating process and it looked like a masterpiece with all the jewels (cranberries) pushing themselves out from the canvas. truly unbelievably yummy AND beautiful! :))
  • Carm
    This recipe sounds delicious, and looks so rustic and beautiful. I don't see a time to have this in the oven anywhere. The video says a long while. Any estimates on time in oven? Love your blog! :)
  • Catherine
    I made this for a post-Christmas get together with friends. It was greeted with gasps around the table and was absolutely delicious! Thank you for a great recipe.

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