½ cup / 60 grams chopped walnut pieces
1 medium pumpkin
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
10 white or cremini mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
1 packed cup cooked & cooled rice
½ cup dried cranberries
1 large handful fresh spinach, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt & pepper, to taste
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 °C)
2) Toast the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for two minutes until they smell really nutty and toasted. keep them moving constantly. Remove from heat, pour into a small bowl and set aside.
3) Sauté the onions and garlic in one teaspoon of the oil until just starting to turn golden. If you wish to keep the recipe oil-free use a tablespoon or two of water instead of the oil and as more as necessary.
4) Add the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute longer then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
5) Carefully cut the top off the pumpkin (about the top third) and set aside.
6) If you can't see the seedy innards then just use a small sharp knife to cut a circle out of the flesh at the top and pull it out like a plug. Remove the stringy innards and seeds.
7) Brush the inside of the pumpkin with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil (omit if you want the recipe to be oil-free) then season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper.
8) Place the cooked rice, dried cranberries, chopped spinach, herbs, cumin and the sauteed onions, garlic and mushrooms into a bowl and mix well together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9) Spoon the rice mixture into the pumpkin cavity, pressing down hard to pack it in tightly and keep going until it's full.
10) Place the pumpkin top back on then wrap completely and tightly in foil.
11) Place on a baking tray and bake for around 1 hr 30 mins or until tender. Check it by pulling back some foil and inserting a knife or a fork into the side. If it is soft and the knife goes in easily it is ready.
12) Remove from the oven and leave for at least 30 minutes before slicing.