This recipe is one of the most umami recipes I’ve ever created. The stuffing of the pumpkin is inspired by the fresh veggies in season here in Albania. You can taste peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, leek, spices like thyme and rosemary, and the sweetness of the pumpkin. I used bulgur because sometimes I’m bored with rice but you can also use rice or quinoa. To make this extra for my Christmas dinner I topped it with fresh pomegranate seeds and roasted pine nuts and also a pomegranate sauce. Here having pomegranate on Christmas and on New Year brings good luck. You can serve this on Christmas day combined with wine or better-mulled wine.
Being vegan in a nonvegan family has been challenging for me especially during the Christmas holidays. My family used to ask what about turkey? Or what are we cooking for you on Christmas day? But since I’ve been vegan for a lot of time now, I’ve created some recipes that my whole family loves on Christmas. Now my father has developed into a more modern cook, and the questions now are: are we going to bake vegan Wellington this year? Which always makes me laugh about how much they’ve changed.
Every winter flavor is combined in this recipe. Leeks, pumpkins, and red peppers are on the season now and I usually try to use as many seasonal vegetables as I can. I also added a lot of Christmas lovely spices.
This stuffed pumpkin is one of the recipes I love to make for my family. You can taste everything that we love on this festive holiday in this dish.
Serves : 4-5
- 2 medium pumpkin (about 800 gr each)
- 2 cups bulgur wheat, washed
- 4 cups of water
- 1 leek, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/3 of red chili, chopped
- 4 medium button mushrooms (I used about 200 gr), diced
- 2 red peppers, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 tbs dried thyme
- 1 tbs dried rosemary
- a handful of parsley
- 1 tsp mustard paste (I used my homemade fermented mustard)
- 1 tbs miso paste
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- handful of cranberries
- zest of a half of a lemon
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
- Cut the top of the pumpkins (about the third top). Remove the seeds. Brush a baking tray with olive oil and put the pumpkins on it with the cut top. Then put the tray in the oven for about 1 hour, until the pumpkins are soft.
- In a frying pan toss the olive oil, leek, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Give it a stir occasionally and fry until the leek has become soft and fragrant. Then add the chopped mushrooms and fry it for about 3-4 minutes giving it a stir.
- Meanwhile, put the water in a water heater to boil. In a bowl put the bulgur wheat and add the boiling water and cover it for about 5 minutes.
- After the mushrooms have become soft, add the thyme, rosemary, parsley, chili, mustard, miso paste, soy sauce, and give everything a stir. Then add the diced red peppers, courgette, cranberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and give it a stir so everything is combined.
- After 2 minutes add the bulgur wheat with the water in the bowl and let it cook with the fragrant veggies and spices for about 5 minutes.
- Remove pumpkins from the oven and remove also the pan from the heat.
- Let it cool for about 10 minutes.
- Carefully stuff the pumpkins with the prepared mix and bake them for another hour.
- Serve warm with pomegranate seeds, roasted pine nuts, and a pomegranate tahini sauce. Enjoy!
- You can sub bulgur wheat with quinoa or brown rice.
- You can add more spices if you like.
- You can sub leek for onion or celery. Celery is a great option.