Enjoy the comforting flavors of the season with this Jamaican Pumpkin Rice. This simple and tasty dish is quick to prepare and perfect for any occasion. With the sweet pumpkin and rich coconut milk, this dish brings the warmth of autumn to your table.

delicious pumpkin rice in a pan garnished with cilantro
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Usually, I don’t think of pumpkins and rice together. But this Jamaican pumpkin rice recipe is so easy to make and so flavorful!

The combination of rice with sweet pumpkin chunks, all spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, is so good. But wait, there’s more! Creamy coconut milk infuses the dish with richness, making each bite feel like a warm hug on a chilly autumn evening. This dish is a great way to use any leftover pumpkin from Halloween decorations or Thanksgiving pies.

Pumpkins are rich in vitamins and minerals that support healthy eyes, immune function, heart health, weight management, skin health, and digestion. Source

Some more rice dishes you will love – chickpea rice, turmeric yellow rice, tomato rice, and peas rice.

Watch How to Make Pumpkin Rice

Jamaican Pumpkin Rice

It is a unique rice dish from Jamaica. It combines rice with pumpkin pieces, cooked until they’re tender and flavorful. The pumpkin adds a hint of sweetness, while spices like thyme, garlic, and pepper elevate the flavors to a whole new level!

Pumpkin Rice is more than just a dish; it symbolizes togetherness. It’s a popular dish in Jamaica that brings people together to share good food and good times. It can be enjoyed as a meal by itself or add some meat, fish, or veggies on the side; it’s perfect for dinners with family and friends.

pumpkin rice in a plate with spoon garnished with cilantro

Ingredients

pumpkin rice ingredients

Pumpkin: Fresh pumpkin, cut into small, bite-sized cubes, adds a naturally sweet and vibrant element to the dish.

Onion: I use yellow onions, which are peeled and finely diced. They add a natural sweetness to the dish.

Scallion or green onion: Add a splash of color to your dish with finely chopped scallions.

Green chili pepper: It is optional, but adds flavor and heat to the rice. Use Thai, birdseye, or Serrano peppers.

Garlic: Use freshly minced garlic. If you prefer, you can use store-bought garlic paste.

Spices: You’ll need ground cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and dried thyme.

Coconut milk: Adds a creamy texture and a subtle coconut flavor that pairs beautifully with the pumpkin.

Vegetable broth: It cooks the rice and gives it even more flavor.

Rice: This is the main part of the dish! I used basmati rice, but any long-grain rice would work.

Lemon juice: A little lemon juice adds some tartness to brighten the flavors.

Chopped parsley or cilantro: It makes the dish look pretty and adds a fresh taste.

Variations

Add Peas to Pumpkin Rice

  • Want to try something different with your pumpkin rice? Add peas! Just throw in a cup of frozen peas with the chopped pumpkin while it’s cooking.
  • This makes the rice look prettier and adds a fresh taste and pops of green color.

Butternut Squash or Kabocha Squash in Pumpkin Rice:

  • You can also use butternut squash or kabocha squash instead of pumpkin! Just chop it up small and cook it the same way you would cook pumpkin.
  • Both butternut and kabocha squash taste a bit sweet and rich, just like pumpkin, so they are perfect for this rice dish.

How to Cook?

To cook the pumpkin rice, start by peeling the pumpkin and removing the seeds. Then, cut it into small cubes, about 1/2 inch or less in size.

Next, heat oil in a large thick-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Add the diced onions and sauté them for 3-4 minutes until they become translucent.

sauté onions into the pan

Once the onions are cooked, add the scallions, green chili pepper (if using), and minced garlic. Stir everything together and cook for an additional minute to allow the flavors to blend.

green onion and green chili added into the pan with sauteed onions

Add the rice, diced pumpkin, coconut milk, vegetable broth, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, dried thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

added coconut milk into the pan along with pumpkin and rice

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Let it simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until the rice absorbs all the broth and the grains are cooked through.

pumpkin rice ready to cook using a pan

Once the rice is cooked, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt or pepper as desired. Sprinkle some lemon juice over the rice.

cooked pumpkin rice in a pan garnished with cilantro

Finally, garnish the pumpkin rice with chopped parsley before serving. Enjoy this flavorful and comforting dish alone or as a side dish with your favorite main course.

Instant Pot Method

Follow the same steps as above on saute mode until adding the pumpkin, coconut milk, rice, broth, and spices. Then close the lid and pressure cook for 4 minutes. Once the cooking is done, do a 10 minute NPR, which means let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Sprinkle some lemon juice, garnish the pumpkin rice with chopped parsley and serve!

ready to serve pumpkin rice in a plate garnished with cilantro

What to Serve Pumpkin Rice With?

Vegetable Stir-Fry: To create a vegetarian meal, serve pumpkin rice with a colorful vegetable or tofu stir-fry. Use a variety of vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and snap peas, along with some vegetarian protein for a nutritious and flavorful meal.

Curries: Pumpkin rice pairs exceptionally well with various curries, such as chicken curry, vegetable curry, or lentil curry. The creamy texture of the curries complements the fluffy rice and adds depth to the meal.

Salads: For a lighter option, serve pumpkin rice alongside a fresh green or grain salad. The crisp and refreshing salad contrasts with the warm and comforting pumpkin rice.

How to Store?

  • Cool Down: After cooking pumpkin rice, allow it to cool down before storing. Hot food in a sealed container can condense the rice soggy.
  • Use an Airtight Container: Transfer the cooled pumpkin rice into a container with a tight lid. This keeps air out and helps maintain the rice’s freshness.
  • Refrigerate: As soon as possible, put the sealed container of pumpkin rice in the fridge.
  • Reheat: When ready to enjoy, reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop. Add a sprinkle of water if the rice seems dry.

More Pumpkin Recipes You’ll Love

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Pumpkin Rice

Enjoy the comforting flavors of the season with this Jamaican Pumpkin Rice. This simple and tasty dish is quick to prepare and perfect for any occasion. With the sweet pumpkin and rich coconut milk, this dish brings the warmth of autumn to your table.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound Pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil, or any vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Scallion or Green onion, diced
  • 1 Green Chili Pepper, optional
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Long-grain rice , I used Basmati Rice, washed
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice , optional
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley or Cilantro leaves , chopped

Spices

  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Salt , adjust to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, dried

Instructions 

  • Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut it into small cubes about 1/2 inches or less.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  • Add the scallions, green chili pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook for another minute.
  • Add the rice, pumpkin, coconut milk, broth, and spices. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 12-15 minutes until all the broth is soaked in by the rice and they are cooked.
  • Sprinkle some lemon juice. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro, and enjoy!

Instant Pot Method

  • Follow the same steps as above on saute mode until you add pumpkin, coconut milk, rice, broth, and spices. Then close the lid and pressure cook for 4 minutes. Once the cooking is done, do a 10-minute NPR, which means let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. Sprinkle some lemon juice, garnish the pumpkin rice with chopped parsley, and serve!

Video

Notes

Squash: You can use pumpkin, butternut, or kabocha squash in this recipe. 
Yellow Rice: Add some turmeric to make this yellow pumpkin rice. 

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 737mgPotassium: 460mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 6764IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Jamaican
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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