The Great Stuffed Pumpkin

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The Great Stuffed Pumpkin ~

This stuffed pumpkin recipe is a dramatic side dish or vegetarian main course ~ I guarantee  it will command center stage on your table.  Perfect for Friendsgiving!

*This post is in partnership with Swanson® ~ thank you for supporting me and the brands I work with, I promise to bring you only the very best!

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin is a spectacular vegan side or main dish for the holiday season ~

I love recipes that glorify vegetables, they so rarely get to bask in the spotlight.   Just imagine pulling this steaming whole roasted pumpkin out of your oven, bringing it to the table, and slicing it open to reveal a treasure trove of grains, nuts, fruits and veggies tumbling forth.  It’s dramatic, it’s delicious, and it rivals any turkey or rack of lamb, if you ask me.

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin ~ a whole roasted pumpkin filled with a multi-grain pilaf, dried fruits, nuts, and veggies, or a spectacular side dish or vegan main course! ~

I was inspired by one of my favorite cookbook authors, Anna Thomas, who has a version of this in her latest book Vegan Vegetarian Omnivore.  The premise of the book is that with a little bit of forethought you can feed everyone at your table well, despite widely varying dietary needs.  I think it’s such a great concept because it’s something we all struggle with.  At our Thanksgiving table I have a brother-in-law who can’t eat red meat, a sister who doesn’t eat pork, a nephew with a nut allergy, another who is vegan, a daughter who is gluten intolerant, and a close friend who eats nothing but veggies and cheese.  Holiday meals can be challenging!

TIP: The key to creating a vegetarian dish that tempts even the carnivores at the table?  Flavor!  I cooked the grains and rices for this stuffing in Swanson® Vegetable Broth instead of water, and that infuses the whole dish with a depth of flavor from the ground up.

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin is a dramatic side dish or a vegan main course ~

I used a mix of hearty grains and rice in this recipe, including barley, farro, wheat berries, quinoa, and wild rice.  It’s essentially a multi-grain pilaf, enriched with veggies, nuts, and dried fruits.  The grains have a wonderful texture and ‘chew factor’, but flavor isn’t their strong suit.  That’s where Swanson broth comes in.  When you cook grains and rices in broth, they literally absorb its flavor as they simmer and swell up.  That foundation of savory flavor makes a big difference when you’re cooking without animal protein.

TIP: For a variation try filling a pumpkin with regular stuffing.  If you eat meat, I love the idea of using my Pumpkin Cornbread with Country Sausage and Sage Stuffing.  Kinda makes the turkey obsolete!

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin using Swanson Vegetable Broth ~

This stuffed pumpkin recipe can be broken down into several stages.   I assemble my stuffing the day before, and let it come to room temperature the next day while I  par-bake my pumpkin.

Grains for stuffing The Great Stuffed Pumpkin ~ theviewfromgreatisland.comMaking The Great Stuffed Pumpkin ~

After I stuff the pumpkin I moisten everything with more Swanson Vegetable Broth right before I pop it in the oven, that infuses even MORE flavor and allows everything to steam beautifully.

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin ~

An hour and a half later, bring it to the table, lift off the top, watch the steam rise, and carve it into big fat wedges.

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin is a healthy and exciting vegan side dish! ~

TIP: Keep in mind that if you want to serve this table-side, you’ll need a pretty large round dish or platter to hold the stuffed pumpkin, and the wedges as they fall away, so plan ahead.


The Great Stuffed Pumpkin
Rate this recipe
4 ratings

Yield: serves 10-12

The Great Stuffed Pumpkin


  • 1 large pumpkin, about 7-8 pounds
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced celery, plus inner leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 6 cups cooked grains, I used barley, farro, wheat berries, and quinoa, (cook in Swanson Vegetable Broth for extra flavor)
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1 cup cooked lentils, I used red and green
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced, and cooked until just tender
  • 1 cup toasted nuts, I used walnuts, almonds, pistachios and pecans
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit, I used cranberries, raisins, and apricots
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Swanson Vegetable Broth
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Pepitas


  1. Set oven to 375F
  2. Pierce the top of the pumpkin with the tip of a sharp knife several times and put it on a baking sheet with a lip. Bake the pumpkin for 45 minutes, or until it just starts to give when you press on the side.
  3. Remove the pumpkin and let it cool slightly.
  4. Cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin, just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Make it at least 6 inches across, or big enough so you can scoop out the interior of the pumpkin and stuff it.
  5. Scoop all the seeds and stringy bits out of the pumpkin.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onion, garlic, and celery for about 15 minutes until the onion has softened.
  7. Combine the cooked grains, rice, and lentils with the sauteed vegetables in a very large bowl (or divide the mixtures between 2 large bowls if you need to.)
  8. Mix in the sage, sweet potato, nuts, and dried fruit. Make sure everything gets thoroughly combined. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Fill the interior of the par-cooked pumpkin with the stuffing. Replace the top and place on the baking sheet with a lip. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Bake the pumpkin for approximately 1 1/2 hours, or until everything is steaming hot and the pumpkin is tender. Add more water to the baking sheet as needed.
  10. Remove the pumpkin carefully to a platter. Remove the top and slice into wedges. Serve the wedges with the stuffing spooned over the top. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and pepitas.


  • If you’re not quite up for stuffing a huge pumpkin, try this idea with a smaller winter squash like kabocha.  Look for a large round specimen, and stuff it in the same manner.  You can cut the recipe down as needed.


don’t forget to pin the great stuffed pumpkin!

This stuffed pumpkin recipe is a dramatic side dish or vegetarian main course ~ I guarantee  it will command center stage on your table.  Perfect for Friendsgiving! #vegetarian #vegan #thanksgiving #stuffed #recipe #healthy #pumpkin #sidedish

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Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    Jill Coward
    December 15, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Sue, this is beautiful! I want to make this for a Christmas ladies’ luncheon for about 20 women. Of course, there are no pumpkins available now. Although presentation would be preferential, I’m curious how this might work in a crockpot since I’ll be taking it to share at a friend’s home who is hosting.

    Would I need more stock? Or other thoughts & suggestions? I look forward to your reply.

    • Reply
      December 15, 2018 at 8:28 pm

      I think what you’d have to do is to make it first, then transport it in the crock pot, and keep on warm to serve. I don’t think you could actually make the stuffing in the crock pot.

      • Reply
        Jill Coward
        December 16, 2018 at 6:41 am

        Thank you, Sue. Wondering if I would need extra stock thinking it might be drier since it’s not cooked inside a pumpkin?

  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    What a delicious alternative dish for vegetarian and everybody else. It looks so pretty!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    What a great treat for a vegetarian or anybody else. It looks so beautiful !

  • Reply
    November 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Question marks? No! No! *which they are still talking about??*

    • Reply
      November 10, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      Exclamation points times 2.

    • Reply
      November 11, 2018 at 6:34 am

      I can’t figure out why those question marks show up on comments :)

  • Reply
    November 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Sue! THIS was a show stopper—beautiful and so very delicious! It was a hit with everyone. And yes, it will be part of our holiday tradition from now on-along with your amazing cranberry pie (which they still talk about)??

    • Reply
      November 11, 2018 at 6:35 am

      That sounds like quite a feast with the pie and the stuffed pumpkin! I saved a big beautiful ‘cinderella’ pumpkin to make this again this year, can’t wait.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2018 at 4:18 am

    What a neat idea! I’m going to try it! Thanks for the post!

    • Reply
      October 2, 2018 at 7:39 am

      It’s a fun one, Belinda. I’m on the hunt for the right pumpkin myself these days…

  • Reply
    35 Stunning Vegan Pumpkin Recipes You Need To Try This Fall - Vegan Heaven
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  • Reply
    November 25, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Just made this for my husbands birthday dinner I used a small pumpkin and didn’t have most of the grains listed but just used lentils and brown rice also didn’t have raisins. It still came out beautiful fragrant and delicious!! My two year old gobbled up the leftover filling with a spoon.

    • Reply
      November 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      That’s great to know, and it sounds like you’re starting your daughter off right!

  • Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Looks gorgeous. Here’s my problem – I’m invited to friends’ for the meal. I’m wondering how this dish would taste at room temp. (oven space already spoken for) I’m thinking that in my case, it would be better in a dish with roasted butternut squash standing in for the pumpkin. What do you think?

    • Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      I don’t think this would be at its best at room temp, Bonnie, so I agree with you that butternut or acorn squash might be a better idea. Acorns have more the shape of the pumpkin, in miniature, so that would be my vote.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Sue, unable to find any pumpkins at the store. Went to several. So disappointed. Do you think a covered casserole would work?

    • Reply
      November 5, 2017 at 6:55 am

      That’s so frustrating, I know you have to find those pumpkins early and then store until Thanksgiving. How about individual stuffed pumpkins? Or acorn squash?

  • Reply
    Courtney Rowland
    November 20, 2016 at 9:30 am

    This is perfect for Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    Jules @ WolfItDown
    November 19, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This is a work of art! And it looks as though it can be accompaniment alongside any dish imaginable with those flavours and textures :D WANT! x

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