Vegan Tofu & Rice Stuffed Pumpkin
Vegan Tofu & Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

Vegan Tofu & Rice Stuffed Pumpkin

I am not sure if readers would know this but for ten years I was a vegetarian. As a vegetarian I had a lot of signature dishes that I absolutely loved! This stuffed pumpkin recipe was one of my favourites. I have made a few alterations over the years but it still remains a dish that makes me feel healthy and nourished. Even though I am a bonafide meat eater I still enjoy my meatless meals.

Pumpkin Stuffed w Rice & Lentils

Pumpkin Stuffed w Rice & Lentils

Recently I have been adding some vegan dishes to my repertoire, my motivation has been to give my stomach a break from dairy. It seems as I get older the more I LOVE cheese, the less my body LOVES me. Please don’t think this will ever stop me demolishing a huge chunk of Gorgonzola, brie, goats cheese or any other dairy that crosses my path. I have just found that its better if dairy days are the exception and not the rule for me.

Stuffed Pumpkin

Stuffed Pumpkin

Anyway, enough of the boring “gut” chit chat. The latest change to this recipe came after a lunch with Mr GG at a local cafe called the Happy Frog. I ordered a plate full with two different salads and a homemade falafel ball with peanut sauce. It was amazing! I felt nutrient and fibre rich, I also found I remained satisfied for ages! This is one of the advantages of a high fibre diet.

Hpppy Frog Rice Salad & Falafel

Hpppy Frog Rice Salad & Falafel

The whole time I was eating the brown rice salad I ordered at Happy Frog I was imagining it stuffed in a cute little pumpkin. Stuffed pumpkins was a vegetarian food fashion in the 70’s & 80’s. It may be a little kitch now, but I still love it! The best part is you can eat all the pumpkin, skin and all when its baked like this.

Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice & Tofu

Pumpkin Stuffed with Rice & Tofu

I realised I hadn’t noticed little miniature pumpkins in Coffs Harbour, so I went on a mission to find some. We have a fantastic business in Coffs called Fresco Fresh Market, they do such an amazing range of fresh, local produce and gourmet deli items. Sure enough I found a crate of Potkins sourced from a local farmer in Bellingen.

Four Potkins w Seeds removed

Four Potkins w Seeds removed

My next stop was the Happy Frog.  The brown rice in the salad had been particular good so I wanted to see if there was a “secret”. The girls showed me an organic, locally grown rice which is kept in the fridge. This rice was the secret to the delicious nutty flavour.  So we my ingredients sourced, and a grand total of $11 spent on the two main ingredients, I went home to put together this labour of love.

Stuffed Pumpkin Plated

Stuffed Pumpkin Plated

Vegan Tofu & Rice Stuffed Pumpkin
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan
Author: Julie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
This is such a healthy dish, it can be served on it’s own or part of a larger meal. If you are cooking the pumpkin for a vegetarian you can use honey or maple syrup, but if you are cooking for a vegan make sure you choose maple syrup.
  • 4 Miniature Pumpkins
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 400 gm brown lentils (canned)
  • 1 lg onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 silverbeet leaves chopped (or Kale)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
  • 250gm cubed hard tofu
  • 2 Tbs honey or maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbs pepita seeds
  1. Cut the tops of the pumpkins and remove the seeds and membranes.
  2. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and bake at 170 degrees until the pumpkin is cooked through. (test with a skewer, the skin should pierce easily.)
  3. Place the rice in a rice cooker or cook as instructed on the packet.
  4. In the meantime, fry the onion, garlic and rosemary in oil until softened.
  5. Add the spinach, lentils, soy sauce, honey and chinese five spice. Stir until just combined and remove from the heat.
  6. In a small saucepan add the remaining oil and honey with the cubed tofu, then sesame seeds. Fry until golden and remove from heat.
  7. Once the rice is cooked gentle combine the rice, onion & lentil base and the tofu in a bowl.
  8. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and stuff the pumpkin shells with the filling. Return the pumpkin to the oven if the rice has cooled or serve immediately if the dish is still hot.
  9. You will find there is quite a lot of the rice filling leftover. I decided against reducing the quantities as I love having leftover rice salad in the fridge, It tastes great served chilled.

I was lucky enough to have one stuffed pumpkin leftover for lunch the next day. Here is a little iPhone happy snap of my delicious leftovers lunch.

Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin

Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin – iPhone Image

I am curious, do you choose to eat a meatless meal periodically?

The other day I watched an episode of Catalyst which looked at our changing diet and the possible illnesses related to having a poor fibre intake.  The illnesses were a lot more varied than what you may suspects! The program studied an African tribe that has kept the same diet throughout history. In this particulat tribe even a 1 year old is eating 200gms fibre per day. In Australia adults struggle to get the recommended 20gms!

Such a huge difference, the scientist compared the type of good and bad bacteria in the tribes gut and found that it was vastly different to the bacteria colonies we maintain.  If your interested in the program the link to part one of Catalyst “Gut Reaction” is here.

Rice & Lentil Salad

Rice & Lentil Salad

It certainly made me take another look at my fibre intake. The result was this tasty Vegan Tofu & Rice Stuffed Pumpkin dish. The recipe makes enough rice and lentil filling to give a nice cold Rice Salad in subsequent days.

Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin Taste

Vegan Stuffed Pumpkin Taste

So there you have my leap from a yummy Happy Frog salad, combined with a favourite stuffed pumpkin dish, to a vegan dish aimed at increasing fibre consumption due to a catalyst program.  WOW! It may be a weird thought process but we got there in the end.

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About Julie


  1. Hi Julie, your stuffed pumpkin is a thing of beauty, love the ingredients used. I enjoy most fruits and vegetables. My husband enjoys mainly in this order, meat, veggies and then fruit. Sometimes I jump off the band wagon when bacon is used, sounds weird, I know.

  2. Oh heck, that looks amazing! I’ve not stuffed a mini pumpkin, what a great (and delicious) idea!

  3. Oh YUM!! And love the thought process involved. I/we really should eat more veg/fibre and the longest we’ve ever been veg together was about 2 months. As much as I wanted to eat meat free – the absense of the taste of meat, etc. was just too difficult for me. Hoping to give it a serious try again sometime. Although, we are now making an effort to eat more veg, and go meat free some days. Anyhow, it’s dishes/recipes like these that really inspire me to eat less/no meat. I just love the look of them, especially the vibrancy of the pumpkins, before and after baked! They look so delicious and healthy, and I’m a big fan of baked pumpkin esp. the skin. Eating healthy is definitely the way to go, esp. with summer just around the corner. Best wishes! 😀

  4. I enjoy meatless meals too. They’re such a delightful alternative to regular meat and veg. 🙂 This dish looks AMAZING. 🙂

  5. If I eat the recipes like this everyday, I think I could be vegetarian ! It’s an amazing recipe! But I couldn’t be vegetarian because I love too much Serrano Jam 😉
    I’ll try do like you, I made the recipe like this often, without meat, and all the family love it ! Have a nice weekend Julie !

  6. This is such a beautiful dish (and perfectly Halloween themed too!). I saw some mini pumpkins at the supermarket this morning and this would have been a great way to use them – alas I didn’t buy them, but may have to return now!

  7. I’ve always been contemplating to change my diet, but found it quite difficult to say no to great food! But yes, I will need meatless days. I would love this dish. I love tofu, I love pumpkin especially when it’s baked. You make healthy taste GREAT!

  8. John doesn’t feel like he’s eaten if he doesn’t have meat. I could be a veggo if I had to but I like a small portion of meat for the protein and flavour. These little pumpkins would make me very satisfied and leave me with a smile.

  9. Julie, I had no idea you were a vegetarian, but if you’re going to share beautiful recipes like these, then please do so more often!

  10. Getting enough Fibre in your diet can be tricky. I aim for 35g per day. I haven’t had stuffed pumpkin for years. Reminds me of my twenties Julie 🙂

  11. What gorgeous lil stuffed pumpkins! And I had no idea that you were a vegetarian for 10 years! :O

  12. Love the idea of a stuffed pumpkin – I do stuffed capsicum all the time, and this is just like one step above that!

  13. Oh, this dish is quite imaginative.
    I’ve stuffed many vegetables, like tomatoes, zucchinis, bell peppers
    but never cross my mind to use pumpkins… I will have to try it for sure…

  14. omg this is super cute! love the idea as well

  15. Such a gorgeous looking lunch! Stuffed veg is always a fave!

  16. I love stuffed pumpkins and yours look divine. Great recipe, pictures are making me hungry!

  17. fabulous post and delish recipe…just what was needed to start a healthy week. Lots of exams and stress in our house at the moment; so very, good and nutritious meals on the menu. I feed the boys meat because I do think they need it – I don’t eat it so often. Regardless a yummy vege dish is always welcome…A huge thank you for the link to the Catalyst program I missed – really relevant in a household with gut disorder sufferers…have a lovely week…

    • Hi Monique, thank you for your lovely comments. The catalyst episode on gut issue was really interesting. It certainly made me take a good look at myself.

  18. i didn’t know you used to be a vegetarian. I remember vegetarians cooking their meals inside pumpkins! They were a very popular winter meal. I think your pumpkin dish is wonderful. I would love this. Although I did think the tofu was feta! I guess it could be either. I have a naturopath who has told me to stay away from dairy but I have such a weakness for cheese platters! xx

  19. Eating a vegetarian meal every once in a while is nice and your stuffed pumpkin sounds great. No missing the meat in this dish.

  20. What a great idea Julie, it looks pretty too. I quite enjoy tofu but the rest of the family isn’t as fond, so I sneak it into dishes now and then without telling them 🙂 I’ll have to make this, it looks so good!

  21. This stuffed pumpkin is such a cute and festive idea, I would definitely love to try it 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. I do go meatless on some days especially if I have a Indian vegetarian curry on mind. Don’t miss the meat then as the flavours are enough to compensate. Like this one. It looks so good. Pinned.

  23. This looks fab Julie and would suit as well as husband (who’s here at the moment) is veggie and I like to eat lots of meatless meals too. Could this be done in a larger pumpkin too, do you think??

  24. this looks delicious! i know what id be making instead of carving halloween pumpkins!

  25. Always looking for new vego options to cook at home. Have made stuffed tomatoes, zucchinis and pepper before but never pumpkin (which happens to be my favourite vegetable!) Yummmo!

  26. Light bulbs! You were a vegan? Wow! In addition to learning about your meatless background, I learned about my penchant for stuffing acorns and pumpkins is old fashioned =) Oh, well. Your recipes would make any vegan hop with joy! =) BTW I admire how disciplined you are. No dairy days – amazing!

  27. Wow Juls this recipe is fantastic! Love the look and flavours going on in there. Such a cool cool way to serve a meal. Your photo is seriously amazing in this post too =)

  28. Omg this is too cute – loving the stuffed pumpkin look! I don’t think it’s kitsch at all – maybe you can pass it off as something hipster for the younger kids? 😉

  29. 10 years without pork belly? Lol. Great recipe, we would eat half vego, half meat every week. Good food is good food.

  30. I love stuffed pumpkin! I just made something similar a few weeks ago. So happy to found another vegetarian Australian food blogger. 10 years vegetarian is such an a achievement! I didn’t know why I waited so long for my vegan journey. I used to love cheese but just like you, they didn’t love me back either. Just recently turned 1 year vegan and it’s been amazing… looking forward to see more vegan friendly recipes from you.

  31. Hello Julie, I only wanted to let you know that we baked couple of these pumpkins, with tofu – salted and fermented tofu product, and brown rice. they were marvelous! thank you. We chose the fermented tofu for its healthy benefit and nutritional values (nutrients come as a value to me … even when a bunch of nutrients vanish in the heat, the taste is still there salted and fermented tofu nutrition data table <– website for baking.)

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