Barley stuffed Hokkaido pumpkin for Thanksgiving


  • 1 cup organic hulled barley, soaked overnight
  • 1 litre filtered water
  • 1 organic Hokkaido pumpkin, with seeds removed (reserve for baking)
  • 20g ‘Simply Natural’ Spanish organic cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 organic brown onion, chopped
  • 9 ripe organic tomatoes
  • Flesh of 1 small organic Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup ‘Simply Natural’ organic red lentils, rinsed


  1. Soak barley overnight, in the morning drain & steam.
  2. Steam(For Thermomix 45mins/Varoma/speed 1) over 1 litre water for ~45 mins until soft.
  3. Take a small slice from the top and bottom of the pumpkin to be stuffed.
  4. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds (reserve for roasting) and set aside.
  5. Top, tail and remove skin from the onion and chop finely.
  6. Sauté the onions in olive oil, then add in the tomatoes, pumpkin flesh and lentils.
  7. Simmer for 20 mins and blend at the end to create a sauce.
  8. Add half the lentil mixture to the cooked barley and use to stuff the pumpkin.
  9. Bake in the oven at 180°C for 30 mins.
  10. Serve with the remaining warm sauce poured over each portion.

Hulled barley is widely consumed in America, it is nutrient-dense and fibre rich. Like rolled oats it contains beta-glucan, soluble fibre that is thought to be beneficial in removing excess cholesterol and for balancing blood sugar.

Hulled barley is minimally processed and only the inedible outer hull is removed, retaining the bran and endosperm layer. The nutrients become more bioavailable with soaking in cold water for a few hours or overnight before cooking. Steaming is the preferred method and takes approximately 45 minutes after soaking.

The organic Hokkaido Pumpkin (Cucurbita Maxima) is also known as Red Kuri squash (ウチキクリ), due to its intense red-orange colour. Traditionally available in October, it arrives ready for Halloween. Like other varieties of pumpkin it is packed with fibre and carotenoids as well as minerals and water-soluble B and C vitamins.

The flesh tastes a little like sweet chestnuts and can be used both for desserts in cakes, muffins, pies and savoury in soups and casseroles. It bakes well and once the seeds are removed from the cavity can be stuffed with either sweet or savoury contents as here.

Credits: Ceri, Zenxin master chef

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