*Recipe by Katherine from the Small Steps Team
This makes a great vegetarian main meal or side dish, and is so simple but very tasty. You can easily prep the pumpkin ahead of time, ready to stuff for a quick meal.
If you use a small pumpkin for this (less than 1 kg), this would serve 2 adults as a main course, or more as a side dish. To serve more, either use a bigger pumpkin and then cut it into smaller portions to serve, or use 2 small pumpkins.
- 1 small butternut pumpkin (800g-1kg)
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- olive oil
- ½ onion (red or brown), finely diced
- 1 large clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups cooked brown long grain rice (cooked in vegetable broth if possible)
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
- 2 handfuls (approx. 75g) baby spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup currants, sultanas or raisins
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt & pepper
- Crumbled feta (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
- Halve pumpkin lengthways, brush with olive oil and place, cut side up, on a baking tray in the oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until tender. (If you don’t have pre-cooked rice ready, cook your rice now).
- Add pine nuts to a tray and place in the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking time (watch them so they don’t burn).
- Meanwhile, heat a dash of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add cumin and cook until fragrant.
- Add cooked rice and chickpeas and toss in oil to make sure they are coated in spice and onion mixture.
- Add spinach and stir through until wilted.
- Stir through pine nuts, currants and lemon juice. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice if desired.
- Scoop out some of the flesh from your cooked pumpkin (leave at least 1cm of flesh all around). Keep the cooked pumpkin – it’s great to use in other dishes (see Notes).
- Spoon the rice mixture into the pumpkin.
- Top with crumbled feta and serve with a green salad.
- The stuffing mixture for the pumpkin is also great added to whole capsicums or zucchinis.
- Any leftover stuffing mixture makes a great lunch option on its own – a good one to take to work.
- For a dairy free option, try topping your stuffed pumpkin with a dressing made of 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp tahini, 1-2 tsp honey and 1 tbsp water, shaken together in a jar.
- You can use the cooked pumpkin you scooped out in loads of other recipes – add it to veggie burgers or hummus, add it to thicken soups and stews, or to a pancake or muffin mix with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to make pumpkin spiced goodies; mix it with grated veggies, chickpeas, flour, spices and egg to make fritters – the list is endless. If you’re not sure you can use it straight away, pop it in the freezer for later – just don’t waste it!