Tired of Tofurky? Hey- we’re not against Tofurky. We like Tofurky, too. But occasionally, you want a different centerpiece for your vegan table. We’ve got you covered. These stuffed pumpkins look crazy elegant, are super-filling and will impress just about anyone. Another cool feature is that after polishing off one of these, you don’t need much more in terms of sides – it will fill you up! Talk about something to be thankful for! Yum! There’s a good deal of prep work involved in this dish, so be prepared to chop. It’s worth it for the resulting holiday feast and wonderful presentation.
6 small pumpkins, about 6 or 7 inches in diameter
one 14 oz. roll of Lightlife Gimmee Lean Sausage (it’s vegan!)
1/2 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 Tbls. Earth Balance or canola oil
1 cup diced onion
4 cups whole wheat or herb bread, cubed and let dry overnight
1 cup chopped carrots (about 3)
1 cup chopped celery (about 3)
1 cup chopped white button mushrooms
3 cups chopped fennel (about 2 bulbs)
2 1/2 cups Granny Smith apple, cored and diced (2 apples)
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3/4 cup chardonnay (or your favorite dry white wine)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Move oven rack to bottom of oven an preheat to 35o. Your oven should only have one rack in it.
Cut off pumpkin tops and set aside. Scoop out seeds and membranes and rinse out pumpkins. Place on a large baking sheet with edges.
Melt Earth Balance in a large skillet. Over medium heat, saute all Gimmee Lean Sausage with sage, fennel seeds and onions until sausage is crumbled and onions are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl mix all remaining ingredients. Add onions/sausage and combine well with hands. Pack stuffing very tightly into pumpkins and cover with reserved tops.
Bake until shells are tender, about 60-90 minutes. Do not overcook or pumpkins will collapse. When they’re done, the stuffing is hot all the way through, the bottoms are a little soggy and the sides are soft to the touch. It’s essential the sides get soft, or you won’t be able to eat the pumpkin flesh.
Serve hot with your favorite brown or mushroom gravy. Be sure to try the inside of the pumpkin flesh, too – it will have a wonderful sweetness that adds to the dish!
A few notes… you can use this stuffing recipe alone, or to stuff other squash too – not just pumpkins. Alternatively, you can use your favorite stuffing recipe and bake it in the pumpkins.
If you aren’t into Gimmee Lean Sausage (it’s vegan!), you can skip that ingredient and just add one cup more mushrooms. Be sure to saute the onions, though, so they are soft and sweet.
For the gravy, you can make your own from scratch or try a quickie instant. We like Seitenbracher Brown Gravy with this recipe. There are other brands available, like Hain Pure Foods and Simply Organic, too.