Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin with Shiitake Mushroom Gravy

This delicious centerpiece makes for a beautiful vegetarian meal!

Serves: 6Prep: 20 minutesCook: 1 hour 40 minutesTotal: 2 hoursDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 1 (3 lb.) pie pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup cooked barley or farro
  • 1⁄2 cup celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage and marjoram
  • 2 cups shiitake or button mushrooms, washed and sliced (about 5 oz.)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 4 ounces Tempeh, crumbled
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced, or variety of root vegetables, including parsnips, rutabaga, turnips or beets
  • 1⁄4 cup dried apples, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine or coconut oil
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons Port, Sherry or Marsala wine


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut off the top of the pumpkin, set aside and scoop out the seeds. An ice cream scoop is helpful to get the interior of the pumpkin clean. Measure the capacity of the pumpkin cavity by filling it with water and then pouring that water into a liquid measuring cup. The average capacity of a three pound pumpkin is 2-2½ cups. If you are using a larger pumpkin, you can adjust the filling recipe accordingly. Rub the pumpkin inside and out with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season the interior liberally with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin on a baking sheet lined with a large piece of aluminum foil.
  • Mix the tempeh crumbles with the fennel, paprika, sage, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread onto a small baking sheet and roast the tempeh ‘sausage’ until crispy, about 15 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan and sauté half of the shallot, and the onion, celery, and root vegetables until caramelized and tender. Stir in the cooked grain, dried fruits, herbs and 1 cup of the vegetable broth and simmer to heat through. Pour the mixture into the cavity of the pumpkin, place the top of the pumpkin back on, wrap the in aluminum foil around the pumpkin and roast on the baking sheet for 1-1½ hours until pumpkin is golden and tender. Allow pumpkin to rest so that the liquid is absorbed while you prepare the gravy.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the vegan margarine and add the remaining shallot and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are softened. Mix remaining cup of vegetable broth with the cornstarch. Deglaze the mushrooms with the port wine and stir to release anything stuck to the pan, and then add the vegetable broth. Simmer the gravy until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper and serve with slices of the stuffed pumpkin. Refrigerate leftovers.