Throwing a vegan dinner party in the autumn or winter months? Bake a pumpkin with a gorgeous stuffing of rice, fennel, apple, pomegranate seeds and pecans
- 1 medium-sized pumpkin or round squash (about 1kg)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 100g wild rice
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 1 Bramley apple
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 30g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 large pack parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp tahini
- pomegranate seeds, to serve
1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut the top off the pumpkin or squash and use a metal spoon to scoop out the seeds. Get rid of any pithy bits but keep the seeds for another time (see our pumpkin seed recipe ideas). Put the pumpkin on a baking tray, rub with 2 tbsp of the oil inside and out, and season well. Roast in the centre of the oven for 45 mins or until tender, with the ‘lid’ on the side.
2. Meanwhile, rinse the wild rice well and cook following pack instructions, then spread out on a baking tray to cool. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and apple, then squeeze over ½ the lemon juice to stop them discolouring.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Fry the fennel seeds and chilli flakes, then, once the seeds begin to pop, stir in ½ the garlic and the fennel. Cook for 5 mins until softened, then mix through the apple, pecans and lemon zest. Remove from the heat. Add the mixture to the the cooked rice, then stir in the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.
4. Pack the mixture into the cooked pumpkin and return to the oven for 10-15 mins until everything is piping hot. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining lemon juice with the tahini, the rest of the garlic and enough water to make a dressing. Serve the pumpkin in the middle of the table, topped with pomegranate seeds and the dressing.