Vegan Apple Nut Stuffed Pumpkins
We had made some new wonderful friends - so I invited them all for a dinner party. I wanted the one vegan guest to feel like they had had a beautiful main course and for the other guests to feel like they had just as much of a treat (even though it was a meatless meal.) These turned out amazing! I use the smallest Sugar/Pie pumpkins that I can find - they are much nicer than the mini pumpkins that only offer a couple of bites. This meal is very easy to make but do allow for extra time. I gave myself 2 hours. (See photo below) Serves 6 .
6 of the smallest Sugar/Pie Pumpkins you can find
2 cups of wild rice cooked according to the package instructions in 4 cups of vegetable stock - do this in advance
1 cup dried cranberries
1.5 cups slivered almonds
Small head of celery finely chopped
1 large onion or 2 medium white onions finely chopped
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and diced
2 tbl Herbes de Provence and 1 tbl of Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 small bunch each of fresh sage and parsley leaves finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the tops off the pumpkins and save them, keeping track of which one goes with each pumpkin.
Scoop out the flesh and the pumpkin seeds and save for another time.
Brush olive oil inside and all over the outside of the pumpkins. Season the inside of each one with salt, pepper and pumpkin pie spice.
Put them in the oven in a large roasting pan with the tops on for 20-25 minutes while you prepare the rice stuffing.
Saute the onion and the celery in olive oil for about 10 mins until they have softened.
When they have changed color add the apples - you don’t want to overcook them just a minute or two to release the juice.
Add the finely diced fresh herbs at the very end so they wilt but don’t brown.
In a cast iron pan carefully roast the slivered almonds just until they have slightly browned but not burned.
Toss the hot veg mixture into the cooked rice with the roasted almonds and dried cranberries, together with the Herbes de Provence. Season it to taste.
Take the pumpkins out of the oven and stuff them firmly with the mixture and return them to the oven with their lids on for another hour.
Keep an eye on them. You want the pumpkins to be tender and edible but not collapse in the oven. Serve warm with a side salad.