Ceremonial Stuffed Pumpkin

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 tsp fine sea salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 1 or 2 small (3 lb) pumpkins or other winter squash, such as Sugar Pie pumpkins or Kabocha squash
  • coconut oil or ghee for rubbing pumpkin
  • 4 firmly packed cups shredded kale
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6-8 small dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion or 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
This recipe was inspired by Sarah Britton’s “Ceremonial Stuffed Pumpkin”, from her book Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients. We liked it with just a touch more spice, salt, figs, and lemon than she originally called for, but it is essentially her recipe, in all of its autumnal glory. The pumpkin is cooked well through, but the texture is different than we are used to; here the flesh is tender, but still firm, reminding us that there is more than one way to enjoy the fruits of fall. This is showy enough for a conversation piece, but easy enough to make on a weeknight. Hearty vegetarian fare that fills the belly and the heart, and lovely to look at, besides. Nourished, naturally.


Rinse the bulgur well and place it in the pot with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt.
cook bulgerBring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the grains are tender but a little al dente, 25-35 minutes. Immediately stir in the minced garlic, olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon juice, while the bulgur is still hot. Cover to retain heat.
add garlic
While the bulgur is cooking, prepare and roast the pumpkin. Preheat the oven to 400 °F.

Wash the outside of the pumpkin throughly, as you will be eating the skin as well as the flesh. Slice around the stem, including a good amount of the flesh; this will be your ‘lid’.
Scoop out the seeds, and rub the inside and outside with a little coconut oil.
wash pumpkinSprinkle a pinch of salt in the interior of the pumpkin, as well.
salt pumpkin
Place the pumpkin, with its lid fitted back in place, on a baking sheet in the oven. Roast the pumpkin for 30-40 minutes; it is cooked when a knife tip can be easily inserted into the flesh.
roast pumpkin
While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare the kale and the rest of the stuffing. In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, another squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Using clean hands, massage the kale well, until the leaves are dark green and tender, about 2 minutes.
massage kale
In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds until fragrant, 3-5 minutes.
toasted pumpkin seeds
Combine the bulgur, chickpeas, kale, chopped figs, onion, pumpkin seeds, pepper flakes, and feta. Toss to coat, and season with more salt, black or red pepper, or lemon juice, if desired.
toss to combine
To serve, stuff as much of the filling as possible into the roasted pumpkin. Place the lid on the pumpkin, or let the filling spill out onto the platter and serve the lid on the side.

stuff pumpkinCut the pumpkin into wedges, and serve with the filling on top.

This filling recipe makes enough for 2 small stuffed pumpkins, or 1 pumpkin with plenty left over for use in other recipes. It makes a nice cold salad all by itself, too, the day after.

Over to You

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