• Yield: Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a side

  • Time: 20 minutes prep, 1 hour 25 minutes cooking

Sweet roasted pumpkin, filled with nutty, fragrant rice and sharp barberries. Serve it as a main course with a green salad.


  • 1/3 cup unsalted pistachio nuts

  • 1 small pumpkin or other hard-rind squash (about 2 1/4 lb)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced

  • 6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 4 green cardamom pods, bruised

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

  • a pinch of saffron

  • 1 red chili (less if serving to little ones), seeded to taste, finely diced

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons dried barberries

  • 2 tablespoons raisins

  • 1/4 cup long-grain rice

  • 3/4 cup vegan vegetable broth

  • 1 teaspoon shredded dried orange peel

  • 1 teaspoon of rosewater

  • 1 tablespoon dried edible rose petals

  • pomegranate molasses, for drizzling (optional)

  • salad, to serve

Leon Fast Vegan by Rebecca Seal, Chantal Symons & John Vincent


1. Toast the pistachios in a hot, dry saucepan for 2–3 minutes, turning frequently, until toasty and fragrant. Set aside.

2. Slice the top off the pumpkin or squash, reserving the lid, and scoop out the seeds using a large spoon. If the cavity inside is shallow, you will need to scoop out some of the flesh (chop it and store for later).

3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

4. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes, until slightly caramelized. If you have scooped out some pumpkin flesh, add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic, coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and chili and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the barberries and raisins, then the rice and toasted pistachios. Stir to coat and toast the rice for 2–3 minutes. Add the broth, orange peel, and rosewater and bring to a boil. Cook for 6 minutes, then immediately remove from the heat.

5. Spoon the rice mixture into the pumpkin, add the pumpkin lid, then wrap the stuffed pumpkin in a strip of wet parchment paper and then aluminum foil to make a package. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the pumpkin is cooked and a sharp knife inserted into the flesh meets no resistance.

6. Serve cut into wedges, with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, if you want, and some salad.

Recipe excerpted from Leon Fast Vegan by Rebecca Seal, Chantal Symons & John Vincent. Copyright 2019 Hachette Book Group.