I've been thinking about stuffing a pumpkin for a while. Specifically, I was looking for a recipe where I could just cram some uncooked wild rice or quinoa in a pumpkin and have a meal after a couple of hours. I didn't find that, but I did find a simple recipe that's extremely customizable that was originally from Dorie Greenspan. It's a perfect vegetarian main dish or side dish for fall or Thanksgiving dinners. It's really easy, too. The short version is: get a pumpkin, remove the guts, stuff it with cheese and bread, and cook it for two hours. But the longer version may be a bit more helpful.
And please excuse my photos. I snapped these as I was cooking and serving, not sure how it would turn out and not up for a photo sesh. But they give you a good idea of sizing and doneness. I placed my pumpkin in a 7 qt Dutch oven.
Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin
adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan via PBS
- 1 medium "pie" or "sugar" pumpkin, about 3 pounds (about the size of a basketball)
- Smoked salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups stale or refrigerated bread cubes (½-inch)
- 8 - 12 ounces cheese, such as Gouda, Havarti, Gruyère, Emmenthal, cheddar, or a combination, cut into ½-inch chunks
- 2–4 chopped garlic cloves (to taste) or 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
- About ¼ cup snipped fresh chives OR
- 1 tablespoon of Wash Park seasoning blend from Savory Spice Shop
- About ⅓ cup heavy cream or milk
Place the oven rack on the lower middle or lower setting and pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Scrub the outside of the pumpkin to clean. Then cut a hole in the top large enough to clean out and stuff the pumpkin, making sure to cut at a 45 degree angle so that the resulting lid will rest on top (like a jack-o-lantern). Scoop out the seeds and strings and remove them from the lid as well. Discard or keep the seeds for roasting later. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the pumpkin (and around the edges) to taste.
Combine the bread, cheese, garlic, and seasoning in a large bowl and toss together to mix. Place the stuffing in the pumpkin and pour the cream or milk on top to moisten.
Place the lid on top and put the pumpkin in a large oven-proof casserole or Dutch oven or on a large baking sheet (contents may bubble over or pumpkin may lose shape). Cook for two hours or until the stuffing is bubbling (check after 90 minutes for doneness). Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes or so to brown the stuffing, if desired. The pumpkin is ready when the skin can be easily pierced with a fork.
To serve, scoop contents and cut portions of the side of the pumpkin.
Notes: I used Gouda and Havarti, which tasted great. A Gruyère or Emmenthal would have made a creamier filling, though (think fondue). For a heartier meal, reduce the salt and seasoning and add veggie sausage. I served mine topped with arugula and with a side of rice pilaf (with golden raisins and walnuts).