What are stuffed pumpkins?
This mini stuffed pumpkin looks just like something out of a cookery magazine! I love stuffing various vegetables, peppers, mushrooms, aubergine! but it had never occurred to me to stuff a pumpkin before I started actively planning Halloween recipes. What a great idea! Its quite a wild recipe for me, no pun intended…I wanted to really experiment with different flavours and textures. I sometimes find myself so stuck in my ways, with many recipe I love featuring the same base ingredients so I really looked outside the box for this one. This recipe features a small sweet pumpkin filled with wild rice. Flavoured with apple and pomegranate for a sweet and sour kick and the depth that red onion and fennel create levels this recipe out beautifully.
Do you have a diet restriction?
This recipe is suitable for the following diet restrictions:
- Gluten Free
- Nut Free
- Dairy Free
- Low GI
- 1 syn
All slimming world related info is gathered from various internet sources. Syn values may be incorrect or outdated. If you see one is wrong, please let me know so I can update the information!
What type of pumpkin should I use?
This stuffed pumpkin recipe is made using a kabocha pumpkin. This is a small type of squash is roughly 6-7 inches across. They typically come off the squash plant green and ripen to orange over time depending on their storage conditions. More light equals more orange! If you cant find this specific squash other types such as the sweet dumpling squash or acorn squash (although you may have to use these upside down due to their shape) however these are better used whilst still green.
You could also use sugar pumpkins which are slightly larger and as their name implies much sweeter than most varieties. These are the types of pumpkin that are typically used for desserts but personally I like a mix of sweet and savoury and if I could have purchased this type of pumpkin I likely would have used it for this recipe. The largest of the pumpkins, Jack O’ Lanterns should not be used for this stuffed pumpkin recipe as they are grown specifically for shape and colour not for taste or texture and will not be anywhere near as nice as smaller varieties. Be sure to let me know what type of pumpkin you use and how it goes! This stuffed pumpkin recipe makes 1 stuffed pumpkin which would serve 1 on its own or two with a side so please adjust ingredient quantities accordingly.
Step 1: Prepare the pumpkin
Cut the top off of your pumpkin in the same way you would if you were carving one. Scoop out the insides and make sure you save the seeds for my Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe which you can use to top the pumpkin later. Put the pumpkin to one side and go check out the seed recipe! Preheat an oven to 180c.
Step 2: Prepare the rice
Next we can prepare our rice, I find it easier to make this first and then place it to one side whilst the rest of the ingredients are cooking, I’m not much of a multi tasker! You will need 25g of dry wild rice per pumpkin that you are stuffing. Add this to a small saucepan with 50ml of water IF you have a well fitting lid, if you don’t have a well fitting lid you may need to add up to 100ml of water however i find it easier to add any extra hot water during cooking if its needed. Cook, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft and fluffy and the water has evaporated. Leave to the side until needed.
Step 3: Cook the rest of the ingredients together
Time to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Finely chop a 1/3 of a small white onion, a garlic clove and 1/3 of an apple. Peel and chop the apple into small pieces around 1cm cubed. I used a granny smith apple as I don’t think you can beat the sweet flavour of a green granny smith apple. Add the onion to a hot frying pan or wok and cook until soft this should take around 5 minutes. Add the apple, 1 tbsp of fresh pomegranate seeds, 2 tsp fennel seeds, the juice from half a lemon and 1 tsp worth of lemon zest with 1/8 tsp salt. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the apple is soft, stir continuously to ensure the fennel seeds don’t burn, if they do it really ruins the flavour of the dish.
Step 4: Stuff and bake the pumpkin
Turn off the heat and add the rice and 1 tbsp worth of finely chopped fresh parsley to the pan. Stir really well. Now you can transfer your rice mixture to the pumpkin, stuff well and place the pumpkin lid back on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes to cook the pumpkin. When cooked the pumpkin skin should look slightly darker and have taken on a slightly glazed sticky appearance as the sugars in the pumpkin start to leach out. Once you have your pumpkin filled, top with the pumpkin seeds you prepared earlier (de shelled of course) and any remaining pomegranate seeds you have. Serve with seasonal vegetables.
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