At Thanksgiving, these filled pumpkins make a nice vegan or vegetarian option for members of the party who don’t enjoy turkey. Served with green beans, mashed potatoes, and whatever other side dishes are part of the feast, the miniature pumpkins provide a focal point. For people who do eat meat, they provide a whimsical side dish with turkey, pork, or chicken.
- 6 miniature pumpkins (about 8 ounces each)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, or ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a baking sheet, roast the miniature pumpkins until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. While the pumpkins are roasting, sauté the chopped onion in the butter or oil until soft and translucent. Stir in the thyme, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
2. When the pumpkins are tender, use a very sharp knife to cut a lid from each one. With a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers, but leave the thick walls of the little pumpkins intact.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the egg and the cooled sautéed onion. Fill each pumpkin with the prepared stuffing. (The pumpkins can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day.) Bake the filled pumpkins until they are heated through, about 20 minutes; serve hot.