Celebrate the colorful autumn season by this beautiful centrepiece stuffed pumpkin for dinner or an appetizer. The combination of flavors, and the additional of spices and herbs will make this stuffed gourds a hit and make everyone adoring the sight!
What an amazing recipe to eat nutritious gourds. It’s so healthy, easy and it looks so gourmet and presentable! What’s amazing is that the recipe is so versatile and can be used in salads or eaten on its own. I feel like these are so filling that you can share one between two people.
What is quinoa?
Quinoa is such a lovely grain that can be boiled, steamed and baked. It can also takes on any flavor that you use with it.
Please refer to this recipe if you want to learn how to make it properly. It has fewer calories than rice. It is a complete protein and contains all the essential amino acids. It also is a great source of magnesium. Here’s a few health benefits if you want to read up on it.
How to prepare these pumpkin pots
- Start off with your beautifully picked pumpkin.
- Preheat the oven to 400F, cut the gourd across the top carefully and discard the insides. You want the tops to be thin so you’re not cutting too much of the gourd but thick enough that it can cover the tops of your bottoms and look lie a “lid”. The seeds may be tiny and not taste the same as the big seeds but you can also try it out.
- Before you begin, just like prepping a muffin tray, brush your insides of your gourd with a bit of olive oil infused with salt and spices like garlic powder or onion powder.
- Bake the gourds separately as you prepare the quinoa. I would do 20-25 minutes until it’s super soft and tender with a fork. It’s not yummy to eat a baked gourd that is undercooked!
- Some packages insist on not having to rinse the quinoa before cooking. I typically like to soak the it for an hour or two just so it can be easier to cook and be more digestible.
- Boil your water and add the spices when boiling and add quinoa. Let it cook until fluffy. When it’s almost done cooking, add in the vegan cheeze. It will make everything stick and delicious like “real” cheese can.
- Once cooled, add in your other ingredients and check for flavor like salt, lemon and other spices.
- Spoon it into the gourds and add your fun garnishes!
Let’s talk stuffing these pumpkins!
The stuffing for this dish is delicious, packed with flavor, and lots of texture!
The base for it is boiled quinoa and then I mix in all the vegetables, spices, and toppings to elevate it into a yummy mixture. It compliments the baked gourd so well!
The stuffing comprises of:
- Boiled quinoa
- Vegetable broth and cubes for lots of flavor
- Greens – mixed greens, spinach, and parsley for a lovely pop of colour and freshness
- Toppings – dried cranberries, seeds, chickpeas, and vegan cheeze
- Lemon juice
Substitutions/add ons to your stuffing
Mushrooms – I find that mushrooms go so well with savoury dishes like this one. You can slice them thinly and add them to your quinoa or pan fry them and add them like croutons. You can also dice them thinly and add them to your quinoa while boiling.
Shallots/purple onions: Shallots are such a tame and mild version of an onion. I think this would pair perfect with your stuffed gourds. I also love purple onions which had a sweet savoury taste. You could caramelize your onions and sprinkle them on top of your recipe or dice them and add them into the pot while your quinoa is boiling.
Greens: I think kale and spinach would also be a perfect addition. I would add it in while cooking. It’ll add a nice color and also add some yummy nutrients.
Red peppers: adds a pop of color and an extra little crunch if you place it later in the boil or a softer texture if you add it to the beginning.
Parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano are all good herbs to sprinkle on top. I would do parsley and cilantro fresh and chop them up and the basil and oregano dried.
I chose pumpkin seeds but you can also go with pine nuts or slivered almonds. For dried fruits I think I only like cranberries but you can put fresh diced apples or pears. I wouldn’t boil these, however, and I would put these fresh and cut up after its cooked and cooled.
I wouldn’t skip out on the vegan cheeze as it adds more flavor to the recipe. If you really don’t have it then consider adding nutritional yeast or more salt/spices.
If you don’t find any mini pumpkins, you could use acorn squash or any other gourds that are suitable for eating.
If you don’t like quinoa you could use farro, barley, orzo or rice. Anything that makes you want to dig into that pot faster!
You can substitute shredded or diced tofu into this recipe too. It would be such a filling and delicious way to get your protein! I would marinate and either grill or air fry the tofu and add it in after its fully cooked.
How to store this recipe
If you just have the quinoa then just place it in a seal tight container for up to 4 days. Quinoa is best eaten fresh as after a few days it can get stale and start to smell/taste bad. If you have a couple of stuffed pumpkins they should be consumed within 2 days. Leftovers should be sealed in an airtight container and reheated in an oven or a toaster oven until warmed through.
Other Fall Recipes to try
Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin Pots
- 1 small pot
- 3 pumpkins small
- 4 tsp olive oil divided
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt divided
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chickpeas
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup vegan cheese shredded
- 1 cup mixed greens
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp parsley fresh and minced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly cracked
- 1 cup spinach fresh, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400F, cut the pumpkin across the top carefully (or if it’s not cutting, slip into the oven for 10 minutes to soften and then cut). Discard the insides and keep seeds for roasting, if desired.
- Brush the divided oil & salt, onion powder and garlic powder on top and insides of cut pumpkins. Slip into the oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until softened.
- In a medium pot, bring broth and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer.
- add your vegetable cube and rest of the salt. Cover for 12-14 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- When finished, stir in the rest of your ingredients, incl olive oil, salt and cheeze. Place the pot back on low heat for 4-5 minutes covered, stirring frequently so bottom doesn’t stick. Alternatively just spoon everything in and you don't need to put it on further heat! Spoon it into the squash and enjoy!
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