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Pocket of Joy: Roasted Pumpkin Bowls

It's edible gourd season! Did you know that some of those cute little pumpkins that people stack in decorative heaps at this time of year are also delicious and stealthily nutritious vegetables? This fall, my family and friends have devoured over 25 of these tricky treats, which volunteered out of last year's decorative gourd compost! These are mini tiger stripe pumpkins, which have a mild and nutty flavor, pale greenish insides without that distinctive "pumpkin guts" smell, and a wealth of petite seeds delicate enough to roast without shelling and snack on like popcorn in front of a spooky Halloween movie.

Pumpkin flesh and seeds are super snacks packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and they're so yummy and festive that my family gobbles them up like any comfort food. Mini tiger stripes are the perfect size to stuff with stew, breakfast sausage and eggs (pictured above), or a wholesome treat like apple pie filling (pictured below).

 
 
You can buy tiger stripe pumpkins cheaply at most supermarkets at this time of year, and they are so easy to grow that my veggie garden produced 30-something gourds from one surprise volunteer vine! A few had been nibbled on by our wildlife neighbors, so we tossed them back into the compost pile, where perhaps they will seed next year's crop without any effort on my part. 
 
 
These little roasted pumpkin bowls are the perfect fall feast dish--fun, cute, adorable, delicious, packed with good nutrition, and budget-friendly. They look great plated on a festive table, but they are also convenient to eat outside, at a picnic or around a bonfire. They're a lot like soup in a bread bowl but sturdier and healthier. 
 
Try them for a fun family dinner, a Halloween party, a Samhain ritual, a Day of the Dead altar, or a pandemic-safe outdoor gathering. 

There are endless possibilities for what you can roast inside of a pumpkin bowl, but my basic recipe is as follows:

Roasted Pumpkin Bowls Basic Recipe

Ingredients

4 - 6 bowl-sized, edible gourds such as mini tiger stripe pumpkins

4 - 6 servings of a hearty filling such as stew, breakfast scramble, or chunky pie filling


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Carefully cut the tops off the pumpkins to form "lids." Take care when handling gourd varieties with spiny stems.
  3. Scrape out the stringy insides and seeds with a round spoon.
  4. If desired, place the seeds in a bowl with enough salt water to cover them and leave them in the refrigerator to soak overnight for roasting the next day.
  5. Roast the pumpkin "bowls" and "lids," cut sides down, on a baking sheet for 40 minutes.
  6. Remove the roasted pumpkins from the oven, set aside the lids, turn the bowls right side up, and stuff them generously with filling. 
  7. Replace in the oven and roast for 15 - 20 more minutes or until all raw ingredients are fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to test meat fillings before serving.
  8. Place the lids on top of the heaped bowls and serve.

I hope you enjoy these as much as my family did! 

Hey, festive friends, if you like fall stuff, hygge vibes, dark fairy tale aesthetics, hearty treats, and exciting surprises, you may like... 

Leirah and the Wild Man: A Tale of Obsession and Survival on the Edges of the Byzantine World, available on October 23, 2021 through your favorite local bookseller.

Supply chains are getting spooky. Order by November 5 for delivery in time for winter holiday gifts!

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