Festive pumpkin - as naughty or nice as you like

Not sure about the rest of you but I seem to be spending a lot of time leafing through endless food mags, supermarket recipe cards, celebrity chef websites and watching The Food Channel for some festive inspiration for the main event. My family have all decided they don’t want turkey and one member doesn’t want red meat and would prefer a vegetarian option… I can see three Christmas ‘mains’ on the go at this rate! I’m probably going to go for a festive variation of the dish below for my vegetarian main. This is a very versatile recipe that you can tweak depending on what you have sat in your fridge and cupboards and depending on how naughty or virtuous you’re feeling. Rice can be swapped for quinoa for a protein hit, nuts and greens can be added for a healthy main course, cranberries and walnuts for festiveness and some gorgeous gooey goats cheese for a naughtier treat version… enjoy whichever way you please!

Roasted stuffed pumpkin


  • I small/medium size squash/pumpkin
  • 1 cup brown or wild rice washed
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pepper diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • Few sprigs rosemary torn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 chilies chopped (more or less and deseeded according to taste)
  • Thumb of ginger grated


  1. Score and cut out top of pumpkin (try and keep whole to place back on pumpkin… I failed miserably this time round!)
  2. Hollow out pumpkin.
  3. Rub the inside with one clove of garlic and rosemary mixed with a drizzle of the coconut oil and season well.
  4. Place in oven on a medium shelf on high heat to start the softening process.
  5. Heat coconut oil in pan and add onion and garlic.
  6. Cook until softened and add garlic and chilli.
  7. Add rice and stir through.
  8. Add stock.
  9. Allow to simmer for approx. 15 minutes - rice will be beginning to soften and the pan will still hold some separate water.
  10. Stir through peppers.
  11. Take pumpkin out of oven – by now the skin should be beginning to soften and maybe char slightly.
  12. Place pumpkin on a sheet of foil large enough to wrap it and place in a roasting dish.
  13. Spoon in rice mixture and ensure you drizzle the remaining liquid on (I always guesstimate the amount of rice I need and usually make too much… this is fine just cook the remainder in the pan and use for a separate dish)
  14. Cover the pumpkin in foil (put its hat on if you managed to keep it intact!)
  15. Put back in oven at 200˚C and roast for approx. 1 hour - it’s ready when the rice is cooked through and the pumpkin skin is cooked through.
  16. Carefully place on a serving plate and slice into wedges.
  17. Can be served as a vegetarian main course with sides of your choice. Crispy kale works brilliantly or as a side dish to a meat main.
    You can do all sorts with fillings:  add cranberries and cinnamon instead of pepper and ginger for a more festive offering. Use quinoa instead of rice for a high protein dish. Crumble through some goat’s cheese and walnuts for a more decadent dish.

This really is a great time to give your year long favourites a festive tweak thanks to the abundance of cranberries, nuts and spices overtaking our supermarket shelves at present. Try this recipe to give your porridge another dimension: Simmer some fresh cranberries in a couple of tablespoons of water with a drizzle of agave nectar and some vanilla extract and simmer until the cranberries start popping. Use as a topper on oats or cooked quinoa with a scattering of almonds or walnuts.

Until next time, 
Mandy x