Jack O’Lantern Bowls with Chicken, Bell Pepper & Sage

Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Bowls

Colorful, delicous jack-o’lantern bowls surefire way to impress on Halloween

Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Bowls
Serving this show-stopping dish will no doubt have your friends talking for years to come. The chicken and vegetables are delicious to eat on their own, or you could even serve a very thick chili in the pumpkins. When you’re shopping for the pumpkins, aim for a uniform size for consistent cooking times. The key to easily carving the Jack O’lanterns is using a small serrated edge tool that comes in any standard pumpkin carving kit, which are widely available this time of year. One of these satisfying bowls, which includes eating half of the actual pumpkin flesh, provides 4 grams fiber and 32 grams protein, with fewer than 350 calories per serving.

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Jack O’Lantern Bowls with Chicken, Bell Pepper & Sage

For the Jack O’Lanterns:
4 small sugar pie pumpkins (about 4-5 inches tall) with stems intact
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning, divided
1 (8-ounce) container crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow small onion, diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

To make the Jack O’ lanterns: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut out the stem end of the pumpkin, holding the blade at an inward angle to keep the lid from falling through, creating an opening large enough to eat out of with a fork, about 3-4 inches wide. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. You can save the seeds for cooking later, if you wish. Using a washable marker, draw on the pumpkin’s face that you wish to carve*, and then carve it using a pumpkin cutting tool or small serrated edge knife. Place the pumpkins on a sheet pan, ideally lined with parchment paper or a silpat for easy release, placing the lids directly on the sheet pan. Brush the insides and outside with oil and sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Cover thepumpkins and lids loosely with aluminum foil to help them retain moisture. Bake until the inside of the pumpkins are fork tender, about 30 minutes.

To make the filling: Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add 2 teaspoons oil. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown on one side, about 5 minutes, sprinkling with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir and brown the side of the chicken pieces, sprinkling in 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Transfer to a plate.

Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until water releases from the mushrooms, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook until heated through. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, and pepper. Divide the filling amongst the cooked pumpkins, then sprinkle with cheese, leaving a bit around the front rim to create the appearance of hair. Bake uncovered until the cheese is completely melted and the bottom of the pumpkins are sizzling, about 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired, and cover pumpkins with the lids.

Kitchen notes:
**Draw the face a bit higher than you normally would, so that the juices of the filling don’t seep out of the mouth.
* You can prepare the pumpkin bowls and filling the day before serving. Fill the pumpkins right before baking.

Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Makes 4 servings, 1 Jack o’lantern each

Nutrition Facts (filling from one pumpkin, plus half of the pumpkin flesh): 348 calories, 14 g total fat (4 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 92 mg cholesterol, 20 g total carbohydrate (4.5 g fiber), 38 g protein, 22% DV iron, 17% DV calcium, 214% DV Vitamin A, 68% DV Vitamin C.

You might also enjoy:

Butternut Squash Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes & Pepitas Recipe
Pear, Apple and Grape Salad with Thyme and Walnuts
Oven Pumpkin Fries with Cumin, Feta Cheese & Pepitas

 

Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Bowls

Jack O’Lantern Bowls with Chicken, Bell Pepper & Sage

Stuffed Jack O'Lantern Bowls

By Michelle Dudash, Chef and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Published: October 20, 2015

  • Yield: 4 pumpkins (4 Servings)
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 0 min

Serving this chicken and vegetable stuffed pumpkin is a show-stopper, and will no doubt have your friends talking for years to come.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. To make the Jack O’ lanterns: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut out the stem end of the pumpkin, holding the blade at an inward angle to keep the lid from falling through, creating an opening large enough to eat out of with a fork, about 3-4 inches wide. Scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. You can save the seeds for cooking later, if you wish. Using a washable marker, draw on the pumpkin’s face that you wish to carve*, and then carve it using a pumpkin cutting tool or small serrated edge knife. Place the pumpkins on a sheet pan, ideally lined with parchment paper or a silpat for easy release, placing the lids directly on the sheet pan. Brush the insides and outside with oil and sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper. Cover the pumpkins and lids loosely with aluminum foil to help them retain moisture. Bake until the inside of the pumpkins are fork tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. To make the filling: Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add 2 teaspoons oil. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown on one side, about 5 minutes, sprinkling with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Stir and brown the side of the chicken pieces, sprinkling in 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook until water releases from the mushrooms, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the peppers, onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and cook until heated through. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, and pepper. Divide the filling amongst the cooked pumpkins, then sprinkle with cheese, leaving a bit around the front rim to create the appearance of hair. Bake uncovered until the cheese is completely melted and the bottom of the pumpkins are sizzling, about 20 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seeds, if desired, and cover pumpkins with the lids.

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