Roast Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin, or round squash, (approximately 8 inch diameter)
  • 1 cup cooked & cooled rice, any kind of rice is fine although there will be more flavor/texture if you use wild rice
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil, optional
  • 1 medium onion, chopped finely
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 10 mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 large handful spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt & pepper 

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400˚F

  2. Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over a medium heat for a minute or two moving constantly.
  3. Remove from heat, pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Sauté the onions and garlic in one teaspoon of the oil (in the same pan) until just starting to turn golden. If you wish to keep the recipe oil-free use a tablespoon or two of water to sauce instead. 
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute longer then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  6. Carefully cut the top off the pumpkin (about the top third). Set the top aside.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove the stringy innards and discard. Save the seeds to roast - see below. 
  9. Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Omit if you want the recipe to be oil-free. 
  10. Season the inside generously with salt and pepper.
  11. Place all the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  12. Spoon into the pumpkin cavity, pressing down well as you go. You want it packed in very tightly. Keep going until full.
  13. Place the pumpkin top back on.
  14. Wrap completely and tightly in tin foil. At this stage, the pumpkin can be stored in the fridge for a day or two before baking if you want to get it ready ahead of time. 
  15. Place on a 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 then it is ready.
  16. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 15 - 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe Notes

If your pumpkin is significantly different in size then there is a trick for you to work out how much rice you need to fill it. Just cut the top off and remove the stringy innards and seeds. Place a plastic bag inside the cavity and put enough rice in the bag to fill a little under half of the pumpkin. remove the bag, add the rice to a pan and cook as per directions on packet. You may also need to adjust the other ingredients slightly to suit your either smaller or larger pumpkin.

This pumpkin reheats very well. Just wrap your leftovers in tin foil and bake for 20-30 minute at 400.

Roasted pumpkin seeds are delicious. You can save the seeds from your pumpkin and roast them quickly and easily. 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 for about 15 - 20 minutes or until crispy. Delicious!