As a vegetarian on Thanksgiving, I have had to skip over the traditional sausage-stuffed turkey one too many times. So, this year, I decided to test out a vegetarian and vegan friendly stuffing to wow my family for the holidays. And what else could be better to stuff than a fall pumpkin? I recently made this recipe for my roommates. It is healthy and even though it has a fair amount of ingredients, it is relatively easy to make. I picked up some sugar pumpkins at Trader Joe’s, cut off the tops, scooped out the insides, and started cooking. Once I had the pumpkins filled and roasting in the oven, the traditional smell of a Thanksgiving dinner infused our entire house. At first I was worried that the smell would set my roommates’ expectations for the final dish too high, but as I scooped out the delectable stuffing mixture with some pumpkin onto our plates I soon realized that I had nothing to fear. My meat-loving roommates declared the meal to be absolutely delicious. Each sweet and savory bite delivered its own unique flavor. I would highly recommend adding this dish to your traditional Thanksgiving meal. It even comes in its own festive serving dish!
Sweet & Savory Stuffed Pumpkin
Preparation time: 40 minutes
1 4-pound pumpkin or 2 smaller sugar pumpkins
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup water
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
10oz button mushrooms, chopped
1/2 bunch kale leaves, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
4 slices hearty whole-grain bread, cut into pieces
1 cup cooked wild rice (or other grain, such as quinoa)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/8 cup chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon dried herb de Provence
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
*Feel free to substitute other dried fruits, such as dried cherries or prunes, for the raisins, cranberries, and apricots.
1. Preheat oven to 350o.
2. Cut tops off of pumpkins (as if you were carving a pumpkin) and save the tops. Scoop out the seeds and loose pumpkin fiber.
3. Sprinkle cinnamon on the inside of the pumpkins then place the pumpkins and lids cut-side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes at 350o.
4. In a large sauce pan, sauté onions in water or oil over medium heat until soft. Add rest of ingredients and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender.
5. Fill pre-cooked pumpkins with stuffing mixture. Place lids on pumpkins and bake for an additional 45 minutes at 350o.
6. Serve using a large spoon, scraping out pumpkin sides along with stuffing.
(inspired by recipe from www.DrFuhrman.com)