These are so beautiful you’re not going to want to eat them. But you’ll be pleased if you do. Packed full of autumnal flavours and colours they work as well as a spectacular centrepiece as they do a filling dinner. As a plus, you don’t need to serve them with anything as it’s a complete meal in one.
For the pumpkins:
4 medium-sized pumpkins (or you could use butternut squash)
Oil and salt
Preheat the oven to 180 deg., slice the top off the pumpkins and scoop out the insides, leaving the flesh on the inside, discard the seeds. Place the hollowed-out pumpkins on a prepared baking sheet alongside the sliced-off lids. Drizzle or spray with olive oil and sprinkle over some salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the outsides are charred and the flesh is beginning to soften. Set aside while you make the filling.
For the Filling:
1 block of firm tofu – medium pressed and crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1-2 sticks celery
1 tsp oregano
½ cup stock
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup giant cous cous (or another grain of your choice, bulgur wheat and quinoa both work well too)
Spinach leaves, washed – a generous handful
Pomegranate seeds – optional, to decorate
Put the giant cous cous in a bowl and cover with boiling water to cook or follow instructions on the packet for your chosen grain.
Also cover the dried cranberries with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 mins to rehydrate them.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the finely chopped onion and cook for 10 mins. Add the diced garlic, celery and mushrooms and cook for 5 mins. When everything has reduced, crumble the tofu in with the oregano, stock, black pepper and cooked grain. Lower the heat and simmer gently to 10 mins until the liquid has been absorbed. Drain and add the cranberries along with the spinach and stir to combine.
Carefully stuff the par-cooked pumpkins with the filling and return to the oven for 20 mins. Remove from the oven and serve with their lids balanced back on top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds for that magic sparkle.