A Beautiful Stuffed Pumpkin
2 (1 1/2-2 pounds) small pumpkins (one for your centerpiece "bowl" and one for cooking)
olive oil, as needed
2 tablespoons vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
cinnamon, to taste
allspice, to taste
nutmeg, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces Israeli couscous, or pastena (baby pasta)
1/2 cup apple cider
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 ounces tempeh
1 granny smith apple, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Cut the top off the nicer looking pumpkin. Scoop all of the seeds and stringy stuff out of the inside. Next, pour some olive oil in your hands and rub the entire pumpkin inside and out with it. Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes with the "lid" on.
2. While the pumpkin is baking, take your second pumpkin and clean out, peel, and cut it up into 2-3" pieces. Set a medium saucepan up with water to boil, and put the pumpkin pieces in. Cook until the pumpkin is tender. When it is finished, strain in a colander, and return to the pan; mash the pumpkin with a fork and mix with margarine, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Next, cook the Israeli couscous according to the package directions. Mix it into the pumpkin mash, and set aside. In a medium baking dish, whisk together the garlic, olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and apple cider. At this time, I also add additional cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the tempeh and let sit a few minutes (or longer) to soak up the flavors.
4. Take pumpkin out of oven, once done. Mix in the remaining ingredients to the baking dish (mushrooms, apple, and carrots) and broil them in the oven for 12 minutes, stirring once.
5. Finally, combine the broiled tempeh mix into the pumpkin/couscous mix. Scoop the pumpkin mash mix into the baked pumpkin. It's not going to all fit, so serve what you can directly out of the pumpkin (with "lid" on or off) and leave the rest to stay warm in the pan.
Wallah! It is read to serve as both a delicious meal and a beautiful centerpiece! Sweet, wholesome, and so good! This is a dish that will be sure to wow your dinner guests, as it is delicious and so cool looking. I personally enjoy it with steamed collard greens (or kale) and a glass of Shiraz. Enjoy!