Roasted Pumpkin, Basmati Rice & Candied Pecans 

Last week I was given 5 boxes packed with an huge variety of produce from Melissa’s Produce and four days later another big box arrived from Talley Farms. Now that I am a “micro-influencer” on Instagram, I am offered products in exchange for my content. I only collaborate with brands that I use and love. I would never promote products I don’t believe in or trust.

Collaborations with farms are my favorite because produce is something that I use and need all the time. You should have seen my face when my husband and I opened the boxes. It was more exciting than opening birthday gifts. There was so much to work with. Endless possibilities. Frankly, I was slightly overwhelmed by the selection I had. My brain started to cook. As usual, I decided to stick with simple. Partly to give the pumpkins and squashes the spotlight. It’s their time of the year after all. And partly because cooking with lower back pain is a bitch from packing and unpacking, t w i c e, thirty boxes. Don’t ask, I’ll tell you about it when there are less holidays around the corner. For now, let’s say, it was a big mistake. I’ve been around for 48 years, I have made many mistakes, beating myself up doesn’t undo it. So I forgive myself – it’s easier to forgive yourself if you pretend that you are your best friend or daughter.

Changing the subject: Thanksgiving. I grew up in Israel so I am not a Thanksgiving expert. I don’t know how comfortable you are about inviting non-traditional dishes to your Thanksgiving meal. If you are comfortable with it, I propose to you this dish as a side dish. It takes about 30 minutes in total, requires few ingredients and would definitely be something you would want to write home about. Traditional food or not, I highly recommend to eat like a big bird but not stuff yourself like a dead turkey. How much you eat is more important than what you eat. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!

Roasted Pumpkin, Basmati Rice & Candied Pecans

Simple and quick side dish for Thanksgiving or everyday.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Healthy, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Shelly


  • 1 small pumpkin or 1/4 large pumpkin or butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion
  • Avocado oil or olive oil
  • Smoked paprika
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 cups basmati
  • ½ cup raw pecans
  • Avocado oil
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Sumac for garnish


  • Soak the rice in cold water.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scoop out the seeds of the pumpkin (roast them with the pumpkin, if you like to eat them). Carefully peel the pumpkin with a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler. Then cut it into 1-inch thick slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet.
  • Peel and slice the onion thick.
  • Drizzle the avocado oil, sprinkle the smoked paprika and salt, and rub the vegetables with them. Roast for 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. If your oven is on the hot side, check after 10 minutes to make sure that the vegetables don’t burn.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the rice:
  • Drain and rinse the rice under cold water for 1 minute. Put the rice in a medium saucepan. Add 2 + ½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring into a boil. Boil for 1 minute then lower the hit to the lowest. Cover with a lid wrapped in a clean kitchen towel. Cook for 12 minutes. DON’T open the pan while the rice is cooking. If you do, the steam will escape and your rice won’t be cooked properly. After 12 minutes remove from the heat but don’t open yet! Keep it covered for 5 more minutes.
  • To make the candied pecans: line a baking tray with baking paper. Put the pecans on and drizzle a little bit of honey and a few drops of avocado oil over them. Season with salt and cinnamon and toast at 280°F for 5-10 minutes. (You can toast them after the pumpkin is done and the oven is turned off but is still hot).
  • To assemble:
  • Fluff the rice with a fork. Depending on how many people eat – about ½ – ¾ cup per person – put it on a serving dish. Arrange the roasted pumpkin, onion over and the pecans. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of sumac and serve.

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