These vegan stuffed pumpkins make an impressive as well as delicious centrepiece for your festive Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Stuffed with vegetables, quinoa, herbs and cranberries, they burst with autumnal warm spices and flavours. Your guests will be very impressed!
I have just got back from a business trip to Amsterdam (my most favourite city on the planet!) and putting all wheels into motion to get this stuffed pumpkin recipe out into the world in time for Thanksgiving. I know, it’s very last minute, as Thanksgiving is next week! However, if you’re looking for an easy last minute meat free recipe to impress your guests, THIS IS THE ONE!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- First and foremost, the flavours! The combination of sweet cranberries, savoury quinoa & vegetables and fresh herbs make this vegan quinoa stuffing insanely delicious! I couldn’t stop eating the stuffing on its own, it was that good!
- Secondly, they make an impressive centrepiece for your festive table. I truly believe that we eat with our eyes first, so if something looks as good as it tastes, that’s a real bonus in my eyes!
- They’re quite easy to make. The only ‘hard bit’ is scooping out the insides out of the pumpkins. Once you’ve done that, the rest is plain sailing.
- It’s a great way of putting all the post-Halloween pumpkins to a good, delicious use!
- This recipe is highly customisable, so you can adapt it to your personal taste very easy.
- It’s a great recipe to make ahead.
- Whether you’re making this recipe for vegan Thanksgiving, Christmas or Veganuary (vegan January), it will be enjoyed by vegans and meat eaters alike. No compromise on flavours here!
Key ingredients for the vegan stuffing
As I mentioned above, the stuffing is so good, that it can actually be a meal on its own. When I was developing this recipe, I had some stuffing left, which was my leftover lunch the following day. It was utterly delicious! So, if you have any stuffing left, don’t throw it away – save the leftovers for lunch the next day or serve it as a side with the main course.
- Mini pumpkins/winter squash. I love that they make individual size appetizers/starters, so I’d highly recommend using these. You can use one big pumpkin instead if you wish, but it may increase the cooking time, so be mindful of that.
Tip: before roasting the mini pumpkins, make sure to clean them well by scrubbing them well with a clean sponge and warm water.
- Quinoa. For quickness, I used a mixture of red & white already cooked quinoa (you can buy it in the UK supermarkets in pouches).
- Vegetables: onion, garlic, celery and mushrooms.
- Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme & sage. Although you can use dry herbs, fresh herbs work best as they release more aroma and flavour into the stuffing.
- Dried cranberries work fantastically well in this recipe to balance out savoury and sweet. And personally, I always associate cranberries with everything festive. So, I highly recommend not to skip them. Although raisins and dried apricots could work as substitutes, they’ll change the overall taste of this vegan stuffing.
- Vegetable stock cube.
Tips to make your stuffed pumpkins taste the best
- Before you put the pumpkins into the oven, drizzle them with a little olive oil and season generously with salt & pepper. Once roasted, the pumpkin skin will taste like a delicious crackling.
- When roasting pumpkins in the oven, rotate the tray half-way through roasting to ensure even cooking.
- Once you’ve made the stuffing, taste it to check for seasoning.
- Adding feta in the last few minutes of cooking adds another layer of flavour and texture. You can use your favourite type of vegan cheese here. Personally, I love the extra saltiness that vegan feta cheese adds.
- To get the perfect balance between sweet & savoury, use a combination of sweet and savoury ingredients: sweet cranberries and pomegranate in the garnish balance out the savoury stuffing flavours really well.
- Opt for fresh herbs rather than dry herbs. Fresh herbs release delicious aroma whilst cooking and they really elevate the flavours to a new level. A sprinkle of fresh herbs as a garnish adds even more flavour and makes the dish look more appetizing and festive too.
Making in advance?
It’s a great recipe to make in advance. The stuffing can be made 2-3 days before. Once cooked and cooled down, store it an airtight container in the fridge.
I’d advise to roast the pumpkins on the day of serving, however if you can prefer to cook them in advance, you can partially roast them for 15-20 minutes the night before and finish roasting on the day, once they’ve got the stuffing in them.
Looking for more seasonal vegan recipes with pumpkin?
Whether you’re preparing for a party or cooking for your family and friends, these tried and tested recipes are great to add to the autumn menu:
- Healthier soft pumpkin & chocolate chip cookies (vegan)
- Pumpkin, peanut butter and banana protein smoothie
- Cozy pumpkin porridge (vegan, gf)
- Pumpkin spice waffles (gluten free & dairy free)
- My best yet butternut squash pancakes (vegan)
As always, if you recreate these vegan stuffed pumpkins, I’d love to hear your feedback. Drop a comment here on the blog, tag me on Instagram @fit.foodie.nutter #fitfoodienutter, Pinterest or Facebook.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends across the pond! Enjoy all the celebrations and special time with your family and friends.
See you next week.
VEGAN STUFFED PUMPKINS WITH QUINOA
- 6 mini pumpkins/butternut squash
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 5 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 small white onions
- 4 celery stalks finely chopped
- 250 g chestnut mushrooms diced
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 500 g pre-cooked quinoa I used red & white quinoa
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves finely chopped
- 250 ml vegan vegetable stock
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Clean the pumpkins by running them under warm water and scrubbing well with a clean sponge. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Cut out the tops of the pumpkins and scoop out the insides. Arrange the pumpkins on an oven tray (with the tops on the side), drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and soft to the touch.
- In the meantime, prepare the stuffing. Soak the cranberries in boiling hot water for 10-15 minutes, drain and set aside.
- Heat up the remaining olive oil in a large pan. Sautee the onions for 4-6 minutes until just soft and translucent. Add celery, mushrooms and crushed garlic and cook for a further 8-10 minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are starting to crisp up a little. Add the quinoa, rosemary, thyme, sage, soaked (and drained) cranberries, a generous pinch of salt and pepper and pour in vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and cook over medium to low heat for 7-10 minutes until the vegetable stock has been absorbed. Taste the seasoning and adjust, if necessary.
- Spoon the stuffing into the pumpkins and roast in the oven for 10-15 minutes, rotating the roasting tray halfway through cooking to ensure the pumpkins don’t burn.
- Garnish with vegan feta cheese and pomegranate seeds just before serving.