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Roasted Pumpkin With Rice

Oct/29/2023 / by Chef Priyanka

A vegan dish for Halloween

Pumpkn on wooden table stuffed with rice, along with wooden spoon
Photo via Shutterstock

Ingredients For The Pumpkin and Rice

Whole edible pumpkin – medium sized, with all the guts, seeds, and strings removed

1 cup basmati rice – rinsed at least 5 times until water is clear and soaked in water for at least an hour

2 cups water

1 medium white onion – diced small

1 clove garlic – thinly sliced, plus 1 clove just peeled and halved

3 Indian green chilies – split in half lengthwise

1/2 cup (about) unsalted pistachios – roughly chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 tsp fresh orange zest

1 tsp black peppercorns

4 cloves

1 cup baby spinach – all stacked together and thinly julienned

1 hefty pinch of saffron threads

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of fresh mint


ground black pepper

1 tbsp vegan butter

some vegetable oil

Ingredients For Crispy Onions

1 large white onion – thinly sliced

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Fresh mint – julienned

Fresh coriander leaves – roughly chopped

Steps To Prepare The Pumpkin And Rice

(You can make this the day before!). In a large heavy bottom pan, place over medium flame and add butter. Once butter is melted, add in vegetable oil. Add onions, garlic, and sliced green chili. Sauté about 2 minutes until slightly translucent. Add in pistachios, cranberries, and orange zest. Continue sautéing and allowing to become fragrant. Add in salt and pepper.

Once the mixture is soft, drain the basmati rice to remove all the water that it’s been soaking in and add the rice to the mixture. Sauté in, add in the whole black peppercorns, cloves. Continue cooking.

Right before you add the water, add in the julienned spinach. Mix the spinach in, then add the two cups of water, saffron threads, bay leaf, and sprig of mint. Time to cook the rice.

Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to low and cook with a cover on until the rice is fluffed up and cooked through. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the pumpkin and rub it with the halved garlic clove that you had reserved on the side. Rub it thoroughly and sprinkle the pumpkin flesh with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the cooked rice until completely full. Cover the pumpkin with the stem lid.

Cover the bottom of the pumpkin with foil – wrap is tight. Then place in a deep oven-proof baking pan. Fill the pan about a 1/4 of the way up with hot water. Place in the oven and bake about 1-2 hours, until the pumpkin is fork tender.

Steps To Prepare The Crispy Onions

Heat vegetable oil for frying on the stove on high flame. While the pumpkin is cooking and the vegetable oil is heating, make the crispy onions and prepare the garnishes.

Soak the sliced onions in the coconut milk for about 10 minutes. While soaking, prepare flour – in a shallow bowl, sift together all-purpose flour with the salt, black pepper, and garlic powder until mixed together well. Once the onions have soaked, remove, and shake off access coconut milk and dredge into the flour mixture. Shake off excess and place into the hot oil carefully.

Fry for about 2-4 mins until lightly golden and onions are cooked through. Remove and place on a paper towel and foil lined plate to drain access oil. Allow to cool. Repeat until all onions are cooked.

How To Serve

Before serving, fluff up the rice in the pumpkin, top with a generous amount of crispy onions, chopped mint and coriander.

To eat, use a sharp chef’s knife and cut into wedges. Each person should be served a wedge of roasted pumpkin with rice.

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