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Black Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

by Sophie Gordon from The Whole Vegetable

A creative idea for a vegan roast featuring pumpkin stuffed with black rice and flavoured with soy, tahini, chilli and lemon.

From the book

Sophie Gordon

Introduction

At weekend meals with family over, this one has always gone down a treat. I tried it in a few different ways before settling on this recipe. Black rice is great for jazzing up a dish and adding a sweet and earthy aroma. Once prepped, you can simply wait for it to cook in the oven. The flavours and juices from the pumpkin seep into the mix, making it feel very luxurious and of course, tasty.

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Ingredients

1 medium pumpkin/squash (butternut squash, delicata are great for this recipe)
1-2 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper
750ml–1 ltr vegetable stock
300–400g black rice, rinsed thoroughly
1 leek, sliced in half lengthways, washed thoroughly, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
A small knob of ginger, approx. 4cm, finely chopped or grated
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp dried oregano
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
A large handful of kale, finely chopped, stems included
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp tahini
½ lemon, juice and zest
Approx. 35g hazelnuts, or any other nut of choice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
olive oil

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Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C fan. Cut your pumpkin/ squash lengthways so that you have two relatively equal halves. Place the halves on a baking tray, flesh side down, so that the skin is upwards. Lightly brush the skins with some coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven and roast for around 30–40 minutes. The time will vary depending on your oven and also on your chosen pumpkin/squash. You’ll want the top to start darkening – be careful that it doesn’t start to collapse in too much.

While your pumpkin/squash is roasting, prepare the rice. Put the stock and rice into a large pot, adding a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer the rice until cooked, about 30–40 minutes. You can add a dash more water if need be. Once cooked, drain any excess water and put to one side.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and sauté the leeks until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano and chilli flakes, and continue to sauté for another few minutes. Add the chopped kale, soy sauce or tamari, tahini, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stirring frequently, cook until the kale has cooked through and wilted. You may need to add a dash of water to help the kale on its way.

Your pumpkin/squash should now be ready. Once you have removed it from the oven, scoop the seeds and about a quarter of the flesh from the inside. Add this to the pan of kale and stir, seasoning with extra salt and pepper. If you don’t want to use the seeds in the mix, feel free to omit them

Add the kale mix to the drained rice, once again stirring to combine. If the mixture is a little dry you can add the rest of the coconut oil, seasoning again if necessary.

Add your rice mixture to the pumpkin halves, patting it down lightly as you go, packing it in as much as you can. You may have extra rice left, depending on the pumpkin/ squash. Serve it with the pumpkin or pop it into a container. Sprinkle three-quarters of your hazelnuts and nutritional yeast over the two halves and pop back into the oven, inside up this time, to cook through and toast the top slightly.

To serve, slice the pumpkin as you wish. Serve with any extra leftover rice mixture, the rest of the crushed hazelnuts and a small drizzle of olive oil.

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From the book: The Whole Vegetable

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