Taken from Green Kitchen Travels , a vegetarian cookbook from the blogging power couple of the same name, this recipe was created after a Thanksgiving spent in the USA. The lack of a vegetarian centrepiece at a Thanksgiving dinner inspired David and Luise to create a delicious alternative of their own. Not just for Thanksgiving, this recipe works just as perfectly for an autumn dinner party or Halloween event.
400 g whole grain rice (any colour will work)
1.2 litres water
2 Hokkaido pumpkins (Muscat pumpkin also works well – they just need a longer cooking time)
2 tbsp cold-pressed coconut or olive oil (save 1 tbsp for rubbing the pumpkins)
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 handful mushrooms of choice, coarsely chopped
6 kale leaves (any type will work), thick stalks removed, coarsely chopped
100 g (3 ½ oz cup) shelled pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
5 sprigs of mint, leaves picked and chopped
3 tbsp raisins
½ tsp ground cinnamon
150 g (5 oz) feta cheese, crumbled
1) Rinse and drain the rice. Place in a saucepan together with the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Simmer gently for about 40 minutes until tender.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the pumpkins. Cut a lid out of the top of each one, then scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub the insides with oil and set aside.
3) Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan and fry the onions, mushrooms and kale over a medium-low heat until soft and cooked, but not brown.
4) Remove from the heat, add the pistachios, mint, raisins and cinnamon and stir well. Add the cooked rice and crumbled feta cheese and toss to combine.
5) Spoon the stuffing into the greased pumpkins, put the ‘lids’ back on and bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes or until the skin is browned and bubbly. Check with a knife to see if the pumpkin flesh is soft. Serve hot. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3–5 days.