Vegan Pumpkin Biriyani

Vegan Pumpkin Biriyani

Pumpkin season always has me feeling the need to utilise every pumpkin I see at the shops. So while everyone is carving out scary faces for Halloween, I am carving out their insides and throwing them into a saucepan and seeing what I can whip up!

This was one of those experiments. I thought I would keep it vegetarian as I don’t seem to enjoy meat with pumpkin… still not entirely sure why, maybe it’s the flavour or texture combination?


While I saw so many recipes stuffing mini pumpkins, I figured using a big one would be perfect for the whole family and a big Biriyani!

The best part of about this recipe is you really have the freedom to add in whatever vegetables you want. As long as you stick to the correct method and sauce recipe, you will still be left with that exact same rich, thick and fragrant biriyani taste.

Traditionally with Biriyani you cook the sauce first and then once your rice is almost cooked you add it on top of the curry mixture and place in the oven. However, for this recipe I found it easier to place the cooked rice at the bottom of the pumpkin, and the sauce on top, before placing in the oven.

When serving it, I actually cut straight through the pumpkin and served it with its crust, as it had softened from the time in the oven it was a perfect accompaniment to the Biriyani.


  • 1 Medium Pumpkin or Squash

  • 2 Large Onions

  • 1 Courgette

  • 1 Aubergine

  • 3 Potatoes

  • 1 Spring Onion

  • 2 Large White Onions

  • 6 TBSP of Tomato Purée

  • 2 TBSP Garam Masala Powder

  • Salt

  • 1 Lemon

  • 4 TBSP Coconut Yoghurt

  • 1 Cup of White Rice

  • Saffron Strands

  • Oil for Frying


  1. Heat your oven to 180°c and place the whole pumpkin inside for about 15 minutes, to soften.

  2. In the mean time cut the onions up into thin half moon slices and sauté in hot oil until they are brown.

  3. Once the pumpkin is softened, cut off the top and scoop out all the pumpkin meat, removing the seeds (I usually save these and roast them with salt for snacks!), and keep the outer shell to one side.

  4. Chop up all your vegetables into cubes and combine with the pumpkin in a large saucepan, along with half the fried onions, purée, yoghurt, garam masala, salt and lemon.

  5. Mix it all well on a medium heat and allow it to simmer till the potatoes are cooked.

  6. In the mean time cook your rice till its almost ready but has a slight bite to it, as it will cook further in the oven.

  7. Take your saffron strands and add them to 100ml of boiling water and leave to steep.

  8. Place your pumpkin shell on a baking tray and drizzle some oil on the inside, covering it all.

  9. Scoop the rice into the pumpkin and then pour over the saffron water.

  10. Take half of the left over onions and evenly place over the rice. Then scoop on top the biriyani mixture.

  11. Place in the oven for around 15mins.

  12. Then serve and enjoy!