One of the best things about Autumn is the pumpkins, and the possibilities they hold… Halloween carvings and months of gourd soup variations aside, pumpkin season means mini pumpkins and stuffing them with all kinds of delights.
This stuffed mini pumpkin recipe combines salmon marinated in white vinegar and a dash of cinnamon, and baked inside a mini pumpkin with sweet potato, squash, onions, pumpkin seeds, and caramelized walnuts. These pumpkins make amazing solo meals or decadent accompaniments, or a magical opener for a dinner party or even a Thanksgiving appetizer. They can be made ahead, preserve well in the refrigerator and reheat beautifully.
Pumpkin Health Benefits
High in vitamin A (vitamin form of beta carotene/retinol), vitamin A stimulates skin cell/collagen production, reduces acne, supports eye health, boosts the immune system, and bone health. Just 100 grams of pumpkin covers 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.
High in vitamin C: supports skin health, collagen synthesis, and the immune system.
High in antioxidants that protect the body from damage from free radicals (pollution, sun for example) and oxidative stress (disease and stress).
High in fibre that helps flush the body of bad cholesterol, thereby reducing artery clogging plaque, and ultimately supporting overall heart health.
supports healthy weight
skin loving food
can help lower the likelihood of cancerous cell formation
supports heart health
Serves 4 to 6
4 to 6 mini pumpkins or any small squash
2 filets of salmon
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sweet potato
1 small to medium onion (1/2 a large)
1/2 cup diced squash
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon honey
A few pinches of salt (about 1 teaspoon in total)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Prepare the mini jacks: cut out the top and remove the insides of the pumpkins (you can reserve the seeds, wash them, toss with olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and a drizzle of honey and then bake at 350ºF/180ºC for about 10 to 15 minutes until they start popping and become crispy).
Dice salmon into small cubes and place them inside a small bowl and toss with the white balsamic vinegar, cinnamon and a few pinches of salt to marinate.
Peel and cut the sweet potato and squash into similar sized small cubes as the salmon.
Put a medium sized sauté pan on the stove on high. Add the olive oil. Once sizzling, add the onions, sweet potatoes and squash. Sauté until tender.
In a separate bowl, mix together the marinated salmon (with the vinegar liquid), the squash/onion/sweet potato sauté and the pumpkin seeds.
Divide the mixture amongst the mini jacks.
To prepare the caramelized walnuts: Put a small sauté pan on high and add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan. Lower the temperature to medium, add the walnuts and turn often for about 6 minutes until toasted. Add the honey and continue mixing until the liquid caramelizes onto the nuts.
Top each stuffed little jack pumpkin with some caramelized walnuts. Add the tops back on and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Check to see if they’re done by testing the temperature inside the pumpkins (they should be hot!) and if the salmon has turned from orange to slightly pink/white.