Stuffed Pumpkins for Halloween!

Stuffed Pumpkins
Stuffed Pumpkins

 

Did you know that pumpkins are actually a variety of winter squash?  You can do many more things with them other than just bake pies and carve jack-o-lanterns.  So this week I decided to try something festive and bake stuffed pumpkins.  

 

You can do this with mini-pumpkins or any kind of small squash.  The ones I used were actually orange kabocha squash, or Japanese pumpkins.  They are very sweet and tase like a combination of a pumpkin and a sweet potato.  They have beautiful ones at the farmers’ markets right now.  

 

I stuffed the pumpkins with some Italian sausage, tomatoes, basil, red vidalia onion and some poblano peppers I had roasted earlier this week, and I used some crumbs from the bottom of a box of Mary’s Gone Crackers to act like bread crumbs.  It was a hearty meal and smelled so good toasting in the oven on a brisk fall day!

 

Stuffed Pumpkins With Italian Sausage

 

2 small kabocha squash or mini-pumpkins

1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage

1/4 cup crumbs from crushed Mary’s Gone Crackers (or your other favorite gluten-free cracker)

1 egg

1 small diced tomato

handful fresh basil leaves (or your other favorite herbs)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 small roasted pepper, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt

cracked black pepper

 

Cut the tops off the squash, remove the seeds and scrape out the insides.  Poke a few holes in the inside with a fork.  Crush the cracker crumbs and beat the egg.  Add all the other ingredients and mix well in a big bowl.  You may need to use your hands to work it together.  Fill the pumpkins with the stuffing mixture and place them in a baking dish.  You may have extra stuffing, in which case just spoon it into the baking dish alongside the pumpkins.  Put the tops of the pumpkins in the dish also, if you have saved them.

 

 

Heat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the pumpkins uncovered for about an hour.  Test it with a fork for softness to see if it is done.  The smaller the pumpkin, the faster it will bake.  Thicker squash will take slightly longer.  The stuffing will be nicely browned and deliciously crispy on top.  You can place the tops back on the pumpkins for serving if you like.  It pairs well with some braised swiss chard.

 

 

Don’t forget to set your clocks back tonight, and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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