Shaping Traditions: Stuffed Pumpkin As The New Thanksgiving Table Holiday Table Centerpiece

If you’re vegan, I don’t need to tell you that vegans absolutely deserve a showstopping centerpiece for their main course on Thanksgiving, and these stuffed pumpkins fit the bill perfectly.

Now we too can make a fuss around the centerpiece of the table, discuss cooking techniques, stuffings and their our secret method, and finally stop feeling like we’re missing out on something. Filled with delicious goodness, will have everybody asking for seconds!

The first time you pull a roasted pumpkin from your oven is transformative. Its fragrance drifting through the house will bring neighbors sniffing to your door. The whole squash looks handsome and autumnal on your table. And then you actually taste it. You take off the cap and scoop a spoonful of tender pumpkin and salty, creamy stuffing, and your eyes widen. You make a mental note to feed this to everyone you know.

It’s that kind of dish. Worthy of a Thanksgiving feast, or the most festive Holiday dinner. And it happens to be vegan.

A Wonderful Main Dish for Thanksgiving & Holiday Table: Roasted Pumpkin With Stuffing

So this year why not step things up and try this impressive dish. Something that is large, heavy and almost can’t fit into the oven. Something that involves carving and stuffing. Something that makes everybody say oooohh and aaaahh, when carried to the table. A salad rarely evokes that kind of reactions. But a large pumpkin does. Especially when it is brimming with delicious goodness.

Pumpkins are so versatile, the things you can do with them are endless! If you’ve never cooked one before, you’re in for a real treat.  Plenty of chefs have their own spin on stuffed pumpkin. The essential truth is that if you take a good pumpkin, hollow it out and fill it with some combination of herbs, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts, seeds, bread, and any other delicious, savory thing you like, and then bake it in the oven, you will end up with something over-the-top wonderful to serve to your friends.

There is no need to be intimidated by the size of this vegetable – if you’ve ever made a jack-o’-lantern, you have the skills to prepare this dish and make it into a stunning centerpiece that it deserves to be.

Pumpkins vary greatly in size and thickness of flesh, so cooking times and the amount of stuffing that fits in the cavity will be approximate. The recipe and cooking method are forgiving and adaptable. heck the pumpkin flesh with a knife from time to time and stir around the stuffing with a spoon. When the filling is bubbling and the pumpkin flesh is tender when pierced, it is ready.

 

Wild Rice & Vegetable Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredients
•    1 lb. wild rice blend
•    2 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed
•    ¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
•    6 cups sliced button mushrooms (1 ½ lb.)
•    1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
•    1 cup diced celery
•    9 cloves garlic, minced, divided (3 Tbs.)
•    3 Tbs. chopped fresh sage, divided
•    4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme, divided
•    2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
•    1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans, or 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
•    1 cup chopped toasted pecans
•    1 6- to 8-lb. cooking pumpkin

Preparation
1. Prepare wild rice blend according to package directions. Transfer to bowl.
2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in bottom of skillet. Add spinach, and cook 4 minutes, or until wilted. Drain, and cool, then squeeze dry, chop, and add to rice in bowl.
3. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, 4 tsp. garlic, 1 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme; cook for 10 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated. Stir in corn and kidney beans, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir mushroom mixture into rice mixture. Fold in pecans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cut top from pumpkin, and scoop out seeds and pulp.
5. Combine remaining 1/4 cup oil, remaining 5 tsp. garlic, 2 Tbs. sage, and 2 tsp. thyme in bowl. Brush oil mixture over inside of pumpkin. Fill pumpkin with rice mixture, cover with top, and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until pumpkin is tender when side is pierced with knife tip. Uncover, and bake 10 to 20 minutes more.

Enjoy!
Serves 12

21.-Wild-Rice-Stuffed-Pumpkin
Note:  The stuffing for this entrée can be made two days ahead.
(via Vegetarian Times)

 

5 More Stunning Stuffed Pumpkin Recipes

I’ve also found a few other recipes that are worth checking out.  Some of them include some animal ingredients, but are easy enough to omit or replace with vegan substitutes. Here they are!

pumkin-stuffed-thanksgiving08

 

Jaime Oliver’s Stuffed Pumpkin

Holiday Stuffed Pumpkin with Millet and Kale

Quinoa Filled Hokkaido

Baby Pumpkins Stuffed with Coconut Vegetables

Easy Stuffed Pumpkin

Pumpkins Stuffed With Quinoa, Butternut and Cranberries

Pumpkin Stuffed with Vegetable Stew

 

Let’s start shaping new traditions TODAY,

With great love, passion, and compassion,

Joanna

 

 

 

PS. Join me on this upcoming challenge – ‘Re-Imagine the World as Vegan’ Challenge for Vegan Warriors, Revolutionaries, Bloggers, Writers and everybody else who wants to start making a bigger difference for the animals – both human and non-human ;-). Sign up here: