If you want to serve an amazing and delicious vegan and gluten-free meal, you will find it hard not to fall in love with these pumpkin bowls. This vegan or vegetarian main is easy to put together and effortlessly impresses. Perfect for your Christmas Eve or Thanksgiving dinner table.
During the festive season, we look for ways to experiment while sticking to traditions as well. If you are a vegan then these pumpkin bowls might become your new tradition for the holiday season. Flavourful thyme lentils stuffed in a gorgeous pumpkin. Each pumpkin half makes a beautiful individual meal or a “pumpkin bowl” as I like to call them. I have decided to make pumpkin bowls a thing! You can serve them with a different filling, whatever comes to your mind. Rice, quinoa or couscous for example will work well too. Remember my popular Mediterranean quinoa stuffed butternut squash recipe? You can use the mix from this recipe for pumpkin bowls as well.
Here is the video for this recipe.
Obviously you need to carefully select your pumpkin for this dish as the pumpkin will be an ingredient and a base for this recipe. You want to select a flatter pumpkin and preferably a white (aka blue) pumpkin. They are normally smaller and more flavourful than the round orange (Halloween) pumpkins. If the pumpkin is very round and tall, then your “bowls” might be too big. When you are selecting it, just consider the diameter of the pumpkin and if each half will fit well in one plate and won’t be too big for one person to eat. Check the pumpkin in my video, I think it’s the perfect size for this recipe! Shop around the smaller shops in your area, you might not find the perfect pumpkin in the supermarket.
Based on your dietary preferences, you will also need either cubed tofu (vegan) or feta (vegetarian) for the lentils mix. From a taste perspective I find that the meal tastes better with feta cheese. If you are not vegan I would recommend using feta for this special dish. Another option is some sort of vegan cheese that resemblance feta and won’t melt too much when added to the mix.
When it comes to choosing your lentils, I think any kind will be fine. The only recommendation I have is to avoid red lentils as they will blend with the orange pumpkin and the dish will not look that pretty. Black lentils work best in my opinion.
I hope you like this Christmas vegan/ vegetarian main! I am sure it will impress everyone at your table.
- 1 flat small pumpkin
- 1 cup lentils (any kind, black looks better)
- 1 1/2 cup broccoli florets (100g)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 cup cubed tofu (V+) or feta (V)
- handful of pomegranate seeds
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil for the pumpkin + 1-2 more for the mix
- (optional) chilli powder
- (optional) handful of rocket salad leaves
- (optional) balsamic glaze
- Preheat oven to 200 ºC / 400 ºF
- Cut the pumpkin in half (as shown in the video), scoop out the seeds and cut the stem off so the bottom of the "bowl" is flat. You might have to flatten the bottom of both halves, but as long as you cut the stem off it should be flat.
- Generously coat the pumpkin halves in salt and extra virgin olive oil, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in the preheated oven. Time may vary depending on the size of your pumpkin. Check if you can easily pierce the centre of the "bowl" with a fork. It needs to be soft so that you can easily take pieces of pumpkin as you are eating the lentils that you will add later.
- While your pumpkin is cooking, prepare the lentils mix. Add a splash of olive oil into a pan on medium-high heat. Add the lentils, salt, pepper and 2 cups of water. Cook for about 15 minutes or until almost all the water has evaporated, but not all of it.
- Add the fresh thyme and broccoli with a bit more salt, put the lid on and steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes. You can also add some chilli powder if you want to spice things up, but that's optional.
- Add the tofu or feta cubes and cook for another 2-5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the pomegranate seeds (you might want to save some to sprinkle on top of the pumpkin bowls).
- Now that your pumpkin is cooked, place each half in a plate. Fill up each pumpkin bowl with the lentils mix.
- (optional) You can sprinkle some fresh rocket leaves and add a splash of balsamic glaze on top of each pumpkin bowl for some extra flavour and to add that "wow" effect.
One pumpkin makes two bowls. Get an extra pumpkin and double the ingredients for the lentils mix if you are cooking for more people. Read the post above for some additional tips on choosing the right pumpkin and lentils.