These stuffed roast pumpkins with nuts and rice are garnished with parsley, coriander and mint. It gives the vegetarians a main course worthy of a place at the dinner’s table.

When selecting the perfect pumpkin, choose one with no soft spots. It should also be uniform in color, with no signs of mold or unusual dis-coloration. Also, pick a pumpkin that has its “handle,” or stem intact. Pumpkin is seriously good for you! This wonder food is nutrient dense, high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – much of it concentrated on the skin itself and flesh close to it.

Large Jap pumpkin – cut half lengthwise
2 cups Basmati rice, cooked in absorption method
1 red onion/ 2 spring onion, sliced or diced fine
3 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
400 g cooked chickpeas (or a tinned can of chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Handful of mint, parsley, dill and coriander, chopped fine
3 tablespoons olive oil
Almond flakes
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200 fan force

Brush the pumpkin thoroughly with olive oil and make sure to brush the skin also, place on a tray with grease proof paper and roast for about an hour in the oven, or until its caramelised and crisp on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. Turn off the oven and leave the pumpkin to stay warm.

Place olive oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat, and cook the spring onion or onion till caramelised. Add the celery and cook for about 3-4 minutes, add the spices and mix till fragrant. Add the chickpeas (or any other legumes you like) stirring well through the onion celery mix, cooking it for about 5 mins till flavours assimilate well and the mix is slightly tinted red (smoked paprika). Season with salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, fluff the rice (or you can mix it in the same pan if it’s enough large) and mix in the chickpea spice mixture, making sure to mix well allowing the colour of the rice to get tinted. Add the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper (if needed) and mix well.

To serve, slide the pumpkin boat into a large platter, top the upper part with the rice mix in a shape of a mound. (some of the rice mix will drop to the side and its fine). Sprinkle the roasted almond flakes and garnish with chopped herbs.

  • Can be served with tahini sauce or yoghurt herb sauce
  • Pomegranate seeds can also be a garnish

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