These precious little sugar pumpkins are irresistibly cute, and tasty too! Stuffed with apples and dried cranberries, they are a trifecta of autumnal flavors packaged into one and seasoned with a bit of bacon. A cross between a dessert and a savory side dish, they would be a lovely addition to a Halloween themed meal (especially if you used a black marker and drew a little jack-o-lantern face on them!) or a Thanksgiving table.
Notes on ingredients
This dish is also compatible with most real foods healing diets, as long as you are careful in your ingredient sourcing.
Until recently, it was virtually impossible to find dried cranberries that didn’t use some kind of added sugar or processing oils. That’s why I was thrilled to discover this new product, grown and produced not far from my parents’ home in Wisconsin.
The bacon adds a nice bit of salt as well as fat and umami, but if you are cooking for vegans you could leave it out and instead start with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil in the pan. For people on AIP – the most important thing to look for on your bacon label is that it is gluten free and doesn’t include any “spices.” For people following a Whole30 – you want the bacon to be sugar free. And for everyone – you want a bacon that is sourced from pork that has been raised humanely.
One brand that meets all of that criteria is Pederson’s. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, one option is to get it via mail order through the frozen meal delivery company, Paleo On the Go. And since we are on that topic… and since you might be thinking about preparing for Thanksgiving if you are looking at this recipe, I want to let you know that I had a chance to taste test their 2018 Thanksgiving bundle last week and it is fantastic! It includes all the trimmings of a traditional dinner, all of them made to their strict standards to be compliant with the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP). Be sure to preorder early because they have a limited supply.
Now onto the recipe…
Baked Pumpkin with Apples & Cranberries Recipe
- 2 small sugar pumpkins
- 2 bacon slices, chopped
- 2 large apples, peeled and chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Rinse and dry pumpkins and put on baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, stirring, until crispy and fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving fat in skillet, and set aside.
- Add apples to the pan with the bacon fat and cook, stirring, until soft. Stir in cranberries and cinnamon and remove from heat.
- Cut the top off each of the sugar pumpkins. Be careful... the shell may be quite hard. It may be easier to first use the tip of your knife to pierce a hole first and then use that to start your cut.
- Schoop out the seeds, trying to leave the pumpkin flesh on the sides inside the pumpkin.
- Divide apple cranberry filling evenly between the pumpkins and sprinkle with reserved bacon.
- Return to oven for 5 minutes, to allow flavors to meld.
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