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Baked Pumpkin With Root Vegetable Stew

Baked Pumpkin With Root Vegetable Stew
Nicole Spiridakis for NPR /

Serving the stew out of a pumpkin placed in the middle of the table makes a dramatic and beautiful main-dish presentation.

Makes 6 servings

1 medium sugar pumpkin

1 cup barley

2 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 parsnip, chopped,

2 carrots, chopped

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup water or broth

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut out top of pumpkin and scoop out seeds with a metal spoon.

Grease a shallow baking dish with olive oil and arrange the pumpkin and top cut side down. Bake until tender but not mushy, about 40 minutes.

Place the barley and 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover. Cook until the barley is tender and the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parsnip and carrots; reduce heat to low. Add the water and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, salt, pepper and oregano, and stir well to combine. Add the cooked barley and simmer.

To assemble, carefully pour the stew into the pumpkin.

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