The BEST Dinner in a Pumpkin Recipe

This is the perfect fall meal — a pumpkin stuffed with rice, sausage, mushrooms, and more! Dinner in a pumpkin is a meal unlike anything else!

Dinner in a pumpkin

Dinner in a Pumpkin

Did you all have a nice Halloween? We sure did! We went to the grocery store (like we do every day…) and then hit up the mall for some trick-or-treating. I know, kind of lame, but since Jack is still so young, I thought it would be easier just to go to the mall. Next year though — we’re going door-to-door. We tried to go to the local recreation center that was having this huge party, but we missed the memo that if you weren’t members, you had to pay…so we nixed that idea. Then we finished off the evening with Monsters University . Seriously, go buy or rent it right now. It is SO cute and funny. I think I’m going to watch it again today.

And, can you guess what we were?

Daniel Tiger Costume


Apparently, no one seems to watch Daniel Tiger except for us. Everyone thought Jack was Tigger, or a mixture of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (why would we do that?) Oh well. We were the best Daniel Tiger family out there!

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Anyways. Now that Halloween is past, you probably were thinking all the pumpkin recipes would be done and over with. Wrong-o! I’m just getting started. I think pumpkin can (and should) be used throughout the entire year. And today, I’m going to share with you a recipe I’ve been trying to perfect for a while now, and after last night, I think I have.

Dinner in a pumpkin - made with sausage, quinoa, balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, and more! The perfect fall dinner.

Dinner in a pumpkin. I had never heard of this until my freshman year of college, and at our roommate Halloween dinner, we had it. And I was totally won over by it ever since. I’ve started making it every Halloween, and I think it’s fair to say, it’s a tradition we will carry on forever.

Sadly, most of the recipes I found online were missing certain elements or had strange things added in. None of us could get enough of it – it was SO good!

We used two smallish pumpkins, but this recipe could easily fit into a medium-large sized pumpkin if you only want to go through the process of cleaning out one. I don’t know what it it is about this recipe, but it’s so yummy.

I originally used quinoa in this recipe, but I’ve also used rice with great success. It’s really up to your preference!

This post was originally published in 2013 and republished in September of 2018 with updated ingredients and instructions. 

Dinner in a pumpkin - made with sausage, quinoa, balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, and more! The perfect fall dinner.

So if you aren’t tired of pumpkin dishes yet, be sure to try this one. Or just file it away for next year. It’s something I look forward to every year!

Equipment for this Recipe

To make this recipe, you will need:

  • Stove top
  • Oven
  • Baking Sheet
  • Skillet

So basically, very standard equipment is needed for this recipe.

Ingredients for this Recipe:

In the recipe below, you will find a full list of the ingredients for this recipe. Here are a few notes on some of them:

  • Pumpkin – you will obviously need a pumpkin for this recipe! I generally recommend using a medium-sized pumpkin, though we’ve used this recipe in two small pumpkins as well. If you want to double (or triple it), just get a bigger pumpkin!
  • I like to use the Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage with this recipe. I think maple or Italian would taste great, as well.
  • The recipe says to use soy sauce. However, the first time I did this recipe, I didn’t have any, so I just used balsamic vinegar, which seemed to worked yummy as well. Just a variation on the recipe.
  • Most dinner in a pumpkin recipes call for rice, which I usually do. However, I originally made this recipe using quinoa, which is a delicious option as well. Just make sure the rice (brown or white) or quinoa is cooked before hand. We love our rice cooker for making quick and easy rice!

FAQ and Notes

  • You need to clean out your pumpkin BEFORE you put the ingredients in it
  • When serving the meal, make sure you scrap some of the pumpkin from the sides in with the meal
  • All of the ingredients are pretty much pre-cooked. The process of putting them in the pumpkin is to just enhance flavor and cook the pumpkin, which you scrape into the meal as you serve it. YUM.
  • Do you have to precook the rice? Yes. 
  • Can I make this without sausage? Absolutely. You could use chicken, beef, or make it vegetarian and omit any meat altogether!
  • My pumpkin collapsed! What happened? This can happen when cooking this recipe as the sides get softer. It typically happens when it has been overcooked. If your oven tends to cook faster than normal, 


Dinner in a Pumpkin Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Dinner in a pumpkin is a delectable and amazing recipe that your whole family will enjoy! It's filled with wholesome ingredients that are enhanced in flavor by being baked in a pumpkin.


  • Two Smallish Pumpkins, or 1 medium-large
  • 1 pound Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice or quinoa
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 can cream of mushroom
  • 1 can water chesnuts
  • 1 4 oz can mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp b. sugar + 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)


  1. Wash the outside of the pumpkins. Cut the top of the pumpkin off, making sure to cut at an angle. Clean out the inside of the pumpkin and set aside.
  2. Cook quinoa. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a large skillet, brown the sausage in balsamic vinegar. Add garlic, onion, Italian Seasoning, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon, and saute.
  5. Add tomato sauce, cream of mushroom, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and quinoa. Bring to a boil, then let simmer about five minutes.
  6. Scoop mixture into the pumpkin, and replace the pumpkin top. Bake on a cookie sheet for 1-2 hours. Pumpkin is done when it starts to feel soft.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 200


Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Pumpkin (perfect fall meal!) -- dinner in a pumpkin

Dinner in a Pumpkin / Dinner in a Pumpkin Recipe / Halloween Recipe / Pumpkin Dinner Recipes


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