Quin-whaaat?! I know, I know — this recipe seems way off from our usual stuff, but we wanted to try something new. Something a little bit out there. And that’s how we found ourselves peeling, deseeding and cubing a pumpkin at 9:38 on a Thursday night, all to come up with a quinoa, sausage and pumpkin bake (served in the gourd, naturally) that could double as an entree at a Halloween party.
After years of carving pumpkins, and buying canned pumpkin puree for just about every recipe, we wondered: How much work is it, really, to carve and roast a pumpkin from scratch? It’s actually, honestly, not so bad! It’s more work than heating up a frozen dinner, sure, but it’s not like you’re hand-piping homemade macarons. The first thing is knowing the right pumpkin to buy. Your run-of-the-mill Jack O’ Lantern won’t really cut it here. (Or rather, it will be nearly impossible to cut.) A sugar or pie pumpkin is much more manageable, and has better flesh for roasting. Plus, they tend to be just the right size to lop off the top, scoop out the seeds and use as a bowl for a party dip — or, in this case, entree — like we did.
We cut the pumpkin about a third of the way down, then peeled the skin off of the top half (where the stem is), and chopped it into 1-inch cubes. From there, they’re pretty easy to season and roast, then mix with other ingredients and bake, creating a cheesy, hearty casserole that will fill you up on even the chilliest fall nights.
The only pie pumpkins available at our grocery store were pre-painted, which made us feel like sociopaths, sawing off the top of the poor Jack O’ Lantern’s noggin to turn it into a bowl. These ridiculous photos — and the crazy good sausage-quinoa filling — made it all worth it, though.
Now all that’s left is to get cooking!
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 pie pumpkins, about 3-4 pounds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 tube Jimmy Dean sage sausage
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1 ear corn on the cob
- 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 c shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook quinoa according to the package's instructions. Set aside.
- Cut the top third of both pumpkins off. Scoop seeds out of the base, and use a vegetable peeler to peel the top half of each pumpkin (the part with a stem). Cube the peeled pumpkin halves into 1-inch pieces, toss in olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until fork tender.
- In a large saute pan, cook the sausage, breaking it up into bite-size pieces. Once it's no longer pink, add the onions and saute until translucent.
- Add roasted pumpkin, corn, tomatoes, quinoa, remaining cinnamon, salt, pepper and chili powder, stirring until combined and warmed through.
- Spoon into each pumpkin "bowl," top with a sprinkling of cheese and serve.