Savory Baked & Stuffed Pumpkin


I think all of the work/travel/lack of sleep is finally catching up with me because today has been rough. I felt off throughout class and my post-class workout left me nauseated and dizzy. My face is tender to the touch, and chewing hurts. Does anyone know what these symptoms mean? Please don’t say “sinus infection.” It’s too soon in the season for that. WebMD gave me the choice between “fractured eye socket” or “reaction to Botox.” WebMD did not give me the option of checking “no” in response to “have you received a Botox injection?” so that’s pretty presumptuous of them, thank-you-very-much.

For the bulk of the afternoon I considered asking Shaun to pick up soup so I could gum my way through dinner, but after an extensive inner monologue [otherwise known as a conversation with my dog…he listens] I peeled myself off of the couch to cook. After all, I said to myself [Grady], it’s going to be soft and the oven does most of the work.

I'm a good listener.

Last fall, The Local served a squash stuffed with Caromont Farm goat cheese, bread and mushrooms. We keep checking, but it doesn’t seem to be back on the menu yet. I decided to take matters into my own hands and whip up a homemade, vegan version with a pie pumpkin from Trader Joe’s.

I'm a pie pumpkin.

What is a pie pumpkin, you ask? I’ll resist the smart-ass answer. It’s a pumpkin similar in size to a squash with thick walls. When you empty out a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, it’s extremely hollow with walls about an inch thick, but pie pumpkins are meatier because they’re grown to eat rather than cut into the shape of Dora the Explorer Riding a Broomstick.

More Meat, Less Seedz.

That said, I completely overestimated how much stuffing I could stuff this little guy with, so this recipe is simpler than originally planned. Given a bigger pumpkin, diced apple and tomato would have made their way into the mix.

I “carved” the pie pumpkin and stashed the seeds in the fridge [for a granola, perhaps?]. While the oven preheated, the veggies were sauteed and thrown into a mixing bowl with the proteins: white beans and vegan meatballs.

Onion, Garlic, 'Shrooms & Spinach.

A “cream” sauce similar to the base for the butternut squash mac – almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and dijon mustard – was poured over the stuffing before I threw the dude into the oven, where he sat for about two hours. Yep, you’ve got to plan ahead for this one.

STUFFED.

Once the pumpkin is soft enough to stick a toothpick through, it’s finished, and you can slice it just like a pie, and gum it down like I did.

Baked.

Yum.

Franken-creeper.

It's really vegan.

The best part about this recipe is its versatility: real cheese [a good melting kind like gruyere or cheddar] or a true sausage would be perfect. Croutons or fruits like pear or apple would also work well.

The end.

We devoured this. It was to die for. Perfectly cooked, and perfectly soft so minimal chewing was required for me. I’m heading back to the couch with my dog, fiance, tea and Boardwalk Empire. Let’s hope the world rights itself by the morning!

Savory Baked & Stuffed Pumpkin (Vegan, Vegetarian)

Prep Time: 2 hours

Serves: 2-4, depending on the size of the pumpkin and whether it’s a side or main dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 pie pumpkin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 handfuls chopped spinach
  • 1/4 cup white beans
  • 6-8 veggie meatballs, quartered [or tofu, soy sausage, or other meat]
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Carve and clean your pumpkin: self-explanatory. Cut around the top and scoop out the middle. Save the seeds for something fun! Spread some salt, pepper, and maybe a little cinnamon on the walls. Save the lid, too.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, yeast, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, mix the meatballs and beans.

5. In a saute pan, cook the onion and garlic in oil, salt & pepper until tender (about 5-6 minutes). Toss in the mushrooms and cook until they release their liquids. Add the handfuls of spinach and a splash of water until the spinach begins to wilt. Mix this into the medium bowl with the white beans and meat – season with salt and pepper.

6. Stuff the pumpkin. I mean stuff it. Squash it all down there with a spoon, then pour the liquid overtop.

7. Put the cap back on and bake, in a baking dish, for around 2 hours. I checked it at 90 minutes to make sure all was well. Once a knife goes through the flesh smoothly, you’re good to go.

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Categories: Recipes

Author:ryesandshine

Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/

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5 Comments on “Savory Baked & Stuffed Pumpkin”

  1. Tania
    October 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    My face really hurt when I had mono freshman year. Maybe get tested for that?

  2. Brock
    October 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    Wow! That looks amazing. I’m gonna have to try it.

    • October 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

      Definitely do! It’s really not difficult to make, you just have to be hanging around the house long enough to let it bake. The IP reading generally takes me about that long… 😉

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