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Stuffed Pumpkin

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This recipe is courtesy of Chef Peg Fagan of Basil Bandwagon Natural Market in Flemington N.J.

I usually make these using the smallest organic pie pumpkins that I can find for a special single serving ( approx 1#), or a bigger pumpkin to share between 2 people (approx 2 #) , or for a fun and yummy centerpiece a 5-7# Pumpkin. That big boy would serve approximately 7-10 people at a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixin’s.

Shopping List

  • Pumpkins
  • Rice (Lundberg Wild Blends are really good)
  • Mushroom Broth (Pacific is good)
  • Earth Balance
  • 1-2 onions
  • celery (1-3 stalks)
  • garlic
  • fresh mushrooms
  • dried mushrooms
  • Thyme
  • Pepitas (pumpkin seeds, can be raw or roasted)
  • tofu if desired


    1. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and inch or more from the stem, (depending on the size of your particular pumpkin). You want a hole large enough to be able to fill the pumpkin, but you want the pumpkin to have pretty good “shoulders”. Cut the strings off the lid. Scrape the seeds out and roast ‘em if you want (for you men, they are very good for prostate health). Set Mr. Pumpkin aside and then: Make your rice.
    2. Again, depending on the size of your pumpkin, you will cook enough rice to fill it and if you want, have a little extra for the non-pumpkin eaters at the table; I use a mix of wild rice, brown rice, and whole grain Japonica rice, although any rice will do (except plain ol’ white). The formula for rice is 2 parts liquid to one part rice. I use mushroom broth (found at natural markets) because I like it mushroomy, but you can use a veggie broth too, homemade or pre-fab. Pacific makes a good one of each.
    3. So, take some diced fresh onion, carrots and celery and saute them in a butter substitute of your choice (Earth Balance is good). Toss in the rice and continue to saute for a few minutes. Meanwhile bring your broth to a boil. Add it to the rice mix, turn it down to a bare simmer, cover it and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes. You want the rice to have a bit of a bite to it, as it will finish cooking in the pumpkin.
    4. In the meantime, reconstitute some dried porcini, shitake and any other wild dried mushroom you can find according to package directions. Save the liquid, but pour it through a fine sieve or it may be crunchy with sand/soil. Set all of it aside. Slice up some fresh white mushrooms, crimini, and any other fresh wild ones you can find and saute briefly in more Earth Balance along with a few minced cloves of garlic.
    5. When the rice is finished, dump it in a bowl. Add the mushrooms and taste it for salt.Grind in some black pepper to taste, and a minced up bunch of fresh thyme. Throw in a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds. Mix it all up. Now get Mr. Pumpkin and fill him up with your Rice Pilaf (for that is what you call what you just made) Take a wooden spoon and use the handle to poke a hole in your stuffing and pour some broth in to the center.
    6. Put the lid on the pumpkin, place him in a shallow baking dish with a 1/4 inch of water in the bottom, cover with foil and bake 40-45 minute, until you can easily but gently stick a skewer through the pumpkin. ( you can also wrap your babies in aluminum foil w/ a bit of water and squeeze them here and there in the oven if space is an issue) Viola! You are finished and in for a rare treat!
    7. I apologize if I seem vague about the amounts, but everything depends on how big your pumpkins are and how many you are making. Follow the directions on your rice packages to determine how much rice you want and then gauge the rest of the ingredients from there. You can not make a mistake here, do not be timid. There is no such thing as too many mushrooms!! If you want a complete protein, I suggest crumbling up some tofu and adding it to the finished Pilaf.

If you have questions, you can email me at

Photo by Flicker user Vanessa Yvonne / CC BY-NC 2.0

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

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