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Dinner in a Pumpkin

One time when I was a kid on Halloween, my mom made a dinner in a pumpkin. It made quite the impression on me. The typical recipe involves ground beef, white rice, cream of mushroom soup, and water chestnuts. It didn’t really matter to us what was inside, it was just cool that it was baked in a pumpkin, and that the pumpkin was the serving dish. For children (and everyone, actually!) presentation is everything.

Now I realize what a labor of love meals like that are. You have to carve the pumpkin, and before that you have to, like, plan ahead. Buy an extra pumpkin, start cooking dinner an hour earlier, etc.  For faster recipes, you’ll definitely enjoy my e-book of 20-minute meals. There is a reason this recipe is not in there. 😉

Although it requires a long baking time (60-80 minutes), it is fairly simple to put together. Chop vegetables, blend up the creamy sauce, stir all together with cooked rice and plop it into the hollowed-out pumpkin to bake.

Be sure to scoop out some of the cooked pumpkin as you serve it. My photos don’t do this justice. A little more pumpkin than pictured is delicious (think butternut squash flavor). It makes the perfect Halloween meal, or a good use of the pumpkin that decorated your porch all of October.  A sugar pie pumpkin has the best flavor for eating, but you can use any pumpkin.


Not into pumpkin recipes? For a different cozy fall meal, try this Lentil Barley Minestrone Soup, this delicious Chili Mac, or this Panera-like Autumn Squash Soup.

5 from 2 votes
Dinner in a Pumpkin
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
1 hr

Wild rice, mushrooms, and other savory ingredients are covered in a creamy sauce and baked in a pumpkin for a festive fall dinner.

Course: Main Course
Keyword: dinner in a pumpkin, halloween dinner, wfpb
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1 medium sized pumpkin (any kind will work, I prefer a sugar pie pumpkin for flavor)
Filling ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice or wild rice blend
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce (or alternative like tamari or liquid aminos)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Sauce ingredients
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon base (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (or a pinch of marjoram, sage and thyme)
  1. 1. Cook rice if you haven't already. I used 1.5 cups of brown rice and 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked in 6 cups of water for about 45 minutes.

  2. 2. Line a baking sheet with foil. Carve the pumpkin by cutting a lid, and scooping out seeds and pumpkin guts. Salt and pepper the inside of the pumpkin. Set onto the baking sheet.

  3. 3. Make sauce by combining all igredients into a high powered blender or bullet. If you don't have a good blender, soak cashews or sunflower seeds in hot water for at least 15 minutes first. It should be a smooth sauce. Taste and add salt to taste, if desired.

  4. 4. Preheat oven to 375. Chop all the vegetables finely. Saute onions, carrots, and celery together until fragrant and sweating. Add mushrooms, soy sauce, parsley, thyme and dried cranberries. Stir in cooked rice and sauce.

  5. 5. Put the rice mixture into the hallowed-out pumpkin. If it doesn't all fit, you can put the rest in a baking dish and cook separately. Put the lid of the pumpkin back on, and bake for 60 minutes. Pierce with a fork, and if it's not soft, bake another 15-20 minutes until soft. The size of the pumpkin determines how long it takes to bake.

  6. 6. Serve by scooping out the mixture and scraping the side of the pumpkin to eat some pumpkin with it--the best part!

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  1. I made this last fall for a dinner with guests. They were impressed with the pumpkin as a serving dish. The filling is delicious and healthy! I made it just as written, except I added a red bell pepper, because I add those to everything!

  2. We make this meal every year and have been for a number of years! This is delicious and has such fun presentation. We prefer this recipe WAYYY over the more traditional recipe. Ten out of ten in every way. So yummy!

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