Please tell me you won’t wait until Thanksgiving to try this Vegetarian Thanksgiving Pilaf with Pumpkin and Quinoa! It is too good to wait, and now that fresh pie pumpkins are in season, I highly recommend that you make it for dinner or serve it as a side dish.
Seriously, don’t wait. It’s made with dried cranberries, leek and orange zest and it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free so all the people will love it!
When I saw the first fresh pie pumpkin at the farmers’ market late in the summer I literally squealed with delight. I realize that as a food blogger, I am possibly disproportionately excited when it comes to pumpkin (because pumpkin recipes are not only delicious, but pumpkin recipes are always favorites with readers too) but I didn’t allow that to hold me back in my unbridled farmers’ market noise making. Judge me if you want, I happen to be an enthusiastic person.
With that first pumpkin of the season, I knew what I wanted. I didn’t want to mash the pumpkin the way that I explained here in my post about how to make home-made pumpkin puree. Instead, I wanted to capitalize on it being not-pureed and use it cut into pieces, just like butternut quash.
I ended up coming up with this Vegetarian Thanksgiving Pilaf recipe, with quinoa, dried cranberries, leeks and cubes of tender fresh pumpkin in it. I admit, it did take me longer than I wanted to perfect this recipe. Because I wanted it to be made entirely on the stovetop. I wanted it to be EASY and made with ONE POT. Because the oven is usually in use for turkey and stuffing and who wants more dishes? Not this girl!
It being a one-pot stove top recipe, means that this recipe is also great for a vegetarian weeknight meal too, or a side dish for all of pumpkin season.
Here are the cooks notes:
How to make Vegetarian Thanksgiving Pilaf with Pumpkin and Quinoa
- Cook the garlic for a sec in the sauté pan in some oil to allow the flavors to bloom before adding in the leek and seasoning.
- I should mention, if you’ve never cut and cleaned a leek before, here is the easiest way to clean a leek.
- I shouls also mention that here are the step by step instructions how to peel, seed and cut a cooking pumpkin.
- Once the leek and garlic are softened, add in the quinoa, broth and cubed pumpkin and bring everything up to a simmer. I also add in some nutmeg here. It adds a very nice spicy fall note that pairs well with the pumpkin.
- After it’s done cooking and the quinoa has absorbed the liquid simply stir in the orange zest, cranberries and toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds.) I also add in a pop of color in the form of freshly chopped parsley.
Other Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas
Broccoli and Cauliflower Casserole (with make-ahead options)
Please let me know if you try this recipe! Please come back and give it a star rating and review!
This Vegetarian Thanksgiving Pilaf with Pumpkin and Quinoa is a simple stove-top, one-pot recipe that is too good to save just for Thanksgiving! Try it for a gluten-free vegan weeknight meal while fresh pumpkin is in season.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small leek, finely sliced and cleaned (white and pale green parts only)
- 1 teaspoon herbs du provence or dry thyme
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 ¼ cup quinoa, rinsed if necessary
- 1 pound peeled seeded pie pumpkin, cut into bite-sized cubes (about ½ small)
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 orange, zested (plus juice if desired)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup toasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat oil in a large straight sided sauté pan (choose one that has a well-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until fragrant but not browning. Add leek, herbs, salt and pepper and continue cooking, stirring often, until the leeks are softened and starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Add broth, quina, pumpkin and nutmeg. Increase heat to high, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low or low (so that the mixture simmers.) Cook, covered, until the quinoa absorbs the broth and the germs are starting to burst, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and gently stir in cranberries, zest, pepitas and parsley. If pilaf is dry, add orange juice if desired. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot or warm
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 187
- Fat: 10
- Carbohydrates: 22
- Fiber: 4
- Protein: 4