Last year I came upon a recipe for a baked pumpkin stuffed with bread, bacon, and cheese on Pinterest. I immediately made a mental note because I knew that, with a little bit of tweaking (and a lot less bacon), it would be a perfect vegetarian main dish for a holiday dinner. And with Christmas right around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to tackle this whole stuffed pumpkin thing.
I went to the grocery store to find one large pumpkin to stuff, but when I saw these mini pumpkins, I couldn’t resist. Personal stuffed pumpkins! If you can’t find them locally or if, like my husband, you’re not a fan of baked pumpkin in savory dishes, you can easily substitute acorn or sweet dumpling squash instead.
Since the original filling was heavy on bacon and short on veggies, I fixed that by adding sautéed mushrooms and Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach. Whenever I need greens, I always buy a bag from Earthbound Farm, not only because it’s organic, but because I can always rely on their produce to be fresh and delicious. We almost always have a bag or two of Baby Spinach in the fridge for throwing into smoothies, stirring into soups, and quick lunchtime salads.
You can cut the pumpkins into wedges and eat them that way or scoop the insides out. I preferred scraping the pumpkin into the filling so I got the flavor of both in each bite. Pumpkin rind can vary in toughness–as a rule, it’s edible, but I’ve gotten some pumpkins (like these) where the skin was a little bit tougher and I had to discard it. Use your best judgment!
The best thing about making these Baked Pumpkin dishes for the holidays is that they’re easy. Crazy easy, in fact. Prepare the pumpkins and make the veggies for the filling in advance, so before dinner, all you have to do is stir together the filling, pop it into the pumpkins, and let them bake. While they’re baking, you can devote your attention to your side dishes or pour yourself a glass of wine and join your guests.
Baked Pumpkins with Spinach, Mushrooms, and Cheese
Vegetarian stuffed pumpkins filled with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese. Inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 4 servings as a main dish, 8 servings as a side
- 4 sugar pie pumpkins (about 1 pound each)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces sliced white mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (5-ounce) package Earthbound Farm Baby Spinach
- 1 stale French demi-baguette, cubed (mine was about 6.5 ounces)
- 2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Use a sharp knife to remove the tops from each pumpkin. Scoop out the insides and discard them (or save the seeds for roasting!). Rub salt and pepper on the inside of the pumpkins.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced shallots and cook them for about 5 minutes, until they’re softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook about 5 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are browned. Stir in the spinach and continue to cook until it wilts. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl. Add the bread, cheese, nutmeg, and cream and stir until combined. Divide the the filling into the pumpkins, then place the top back onto them. Put the pumpkins on a baking sheet or baking dish that’s been sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the pumpkins for about an hour, then remove the tops and bake for 20-30 minutes more, or until the filling is browned and crispy on top and the pumpkins are easily pierced with a knife. Replace caps and serve.
If you’re not a fan of pumpkin in savory recipes, try kabocha, sweet dumpling, or acorn squash. Although I used Swiss cheese, just about any cheese would work in this. To make these in advance, prepare the pumpkins and sauté the vegetables up to a day ahead of time, then assemble the filling, stuff the pumpkins, and bake before serving.
Disclosure: Earthbound Farm compensated me for the time spent developing and photographing this recipe. Sponsored Recipes are a once-a-month feature on Oh My Veggies-–my sponsors help make this blog possible!