Fairy Tale Stuffed Pumpkin

November 8, 2019—0 Comments
Skip to Recipe
Photographed by Ashley Arpel Greenwald

Every year for Thanksgiving I make the much anticipated Hickory Smoked Turkey for my turkey loving family and friends, even though I am plant-based.  I treated myself as an after-thought–I just quickly microwaved vegetables and a large potato, portioned off some salad without the dressing, and had fruit for dessert.  That was my Thanksgiving feast. Not anymore! Now that I have two sisters-in-law who have become plant-based, and all of you to cook for, I decided to add a very special entree, so that our Thanksgiving dinner will be just as special and delicious, and cooked with love, as a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but oh so much healthier!!!   I saw a gorgeous Cinderella pumpkin at the market and decided to create a piece of “art” using the pumpkin as the canvas. It includes 3 “dishes” to make this one large entree, and it takes some time, but all the elements should be cooked ahead and then just assembled for last minute heating the day of the big event. The recipe ends up being really easy, and very impressive!  Added benefit: you can use the Lentils and Rice, Kale and mushroom recipes as side dishes for other occasions!

Fairy Tales do come true for a memorable Thanksgiving feast

Fairy Tale Stuffed Pumpkin

Servings: 12 entrees, 18 sides

Spice Mixture—blend all together in spice grinder: 

  • 4 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 2-1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2-¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon (I used Vietnamese)

Lentils Layer:

  • 1 (12 oz)  large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced into ¼” pieces
  • 2 TB no salt tomato paste
  • 2 cups organic Black Beluga Lentils, rinsed (see video below)
  • Spice mixture (above)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (optional, not necessary if you are on a no-salt diet)

Bell Pepper Layer:

  • 2 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into long thin strips
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced into long strips
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and sliced into very thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (about 1 tsp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (optional–not necessary if you are on a no-salt diet)

Brown Rice, Mushroom & Kale Layer:

  • 1 medium size red onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 lb cremini mushroom, diced to ¼ “  (about 4 cups)
  • ½ cooked brown rice
  • 1 bunch curly green kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Liquid Smoke
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp. Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt to taste (optional–not necessary  if you are on a no-salt diet)

Bake the Pumpkin—-*Can be made the day before

Preheat oven to 350℉;  place shelf on lower 1/3rd of the oven

  1. 1.Using a sharp paring knife, make a “lid” by cutting all around the top of the pumpkin to make a wide “bowl”, leaving about a 2” border.  Remove top and reserve.
  2. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and scrape to remove the stringy parts until the flesh is smooth.  Also scrape off the stringy parts from the lid.
  3. Season the inside of the pumpkin with garlic and cinnamon.
  4. Place the pumpkin with the pumpkin lid, and put on a very large sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in the oven.  
  5. Let bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the pumpkin is lightly browned and tender throughout.  You can tell by pressing the skin with your finger and if it gives a little, it is ready. Don’t overcook or the whole pumpkin will collapse and fall apart.  It needs to have structure to hold all of the ingredients.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

*If you’re making this in advance, refrigerate.  The day of, remove from the refrigerator for at least two hours to come to room temperature.


Make the Lentils:  (Can be made 2 days in advance)

  1. Dry sautè the onion:  Set a large saucepan with 2-3” sides, over medium high heat for 1-½ minutes.  Add diced onion and stir quickly so that the onion doesn’t stick to the pan. Now, lower the heat to medium low and place lid on the pan for 1 minute.  Lift the lid and stir and cover again for another minute or two, or until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and 1-½ TB of spice mixture.  Stir to combine and cook for another minute or until the mixture becomes fragrant.
  3. Add the carrot and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until barely tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the tomato paste and lentils and stir for another minute.
  4. Add 4 cups cold water, raise the heat to high, and stir in remaining spice mixture.  Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils are just tender, about 30-45 minutes.  (There should be just a tiny bit of liquid left in the pan.) 
  5. If using salt, add about a tsp., or to taste.
  6. Remove mixture to a bowl, and cool to room temperature.

*If you’re making this in advance, refrigerate.  Bring out 2 hours before making the final dish to bring to room temperature.

Make the Bell Pepper mixture: (can be made 1 day in advance)

Place a large sautè pan over medium heat for 1-½ minutes.  Add the sliced onions and bell peppers and stir for 1 minute.  Lower heat to medium low and place lid on pan. Let cook for 1 minute.  Stir mixture, keeping it from sticking to the pan. If it’s sticking, add just a little water, scraping up brown bits from the pan.  Cover again and let cook another minute or two. Add in minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper and stir until fragrant. Remove from pan.  Can be refrigerated a day in advance.


Make the Rice Mixture: (can be made 1 day in advance)

  1. Dry sautè the onions:  Place a large saute pan over medium high heat for 1-½ minutes. Add diced onion and stir quickly so that the onion doesn’t stick to the pan.  Now, lower the heat to medium low and place lid on the pan for 1 minute. Lift the lid and stir and cover again for another minute or two, or until translucent.
  2. Add minced garlic, stir to combine until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add diced mushroom and increase heat to medium.  Stir until mushrooms exude their juices and start to break down, about 2 minutes.
  4. Season mixture with balsamic vinegar, liquid smoke, freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, if using,  and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Add kale and rice, stir and cook for another couple of minutes until the kale has wilted.
  6. If using salt, add in 1 tsp., stir adding more if needed.
  7. Remove and reserve.  Refrigerate overnight if making in advance.  Bring to room temperature before cooking in the pumpkin.

Make the Fairy Tale Pumpkin piece of art!

Preheat oven to 350℉

You will be making delicious concentric circles with the layers!

  1.  Place pumpkin on a large, flat parchment covered sheet-pan.
  2. The Lentil mixture goes in first. Place and pack a 1-½”  layer of lentils up against the inside perimeter of the pumpkin, making the outside circle.
  3. Next, make the red and yellow bell pepper mixture circle inside the lentil circle.
  4. Lastly fill in the middle with the Rice, Mushroom and Kale mixture. 
  5. Place filled pumpkin, uncovered, in preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the center layers are hot.  Test by dipping a paring knife in the mixture, and if the knife is hot to the touch, then the mixture is too! Cook longer if the knife is barely warm to touch, about 10 minutes more.  The lentils will look dry and will crisp up to a yummy texture.
  6. Let rest for before carving.
  7. With two wide spatulas, scoop under both sides of the pumpkin, lifting off of the parchment paper and placing on a large flat platter.

To Serve:  

Surround pumpkin with curly Kale for a beautiful presentation.  Slice into 2”-wide “pie” slices. Use a cake server so your guests can easily scoop and happily place their fairy-tale pie on their plates.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Garden of Eydie!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi, I’m Eydie!

Welcome to Garden of Eydie where my passion runs deep for helping others.  Here you’ll find inspiration for super healthy, vibrant recipes created to help prevent and/or reverse disease.  We are all about elevating each recipe’s nutritional content, and making it elegant to eat!  You’ll see this theme of elevate and elegance running through all of our information from cooking and entertaining tips to advice on how to curate, for yourself, a joyful, successful and blissful life.





Get Eydie’s recipes, recommendations, and more sent straight to your inbox!

Thank you for signing up!