Quick Buttercup Pumpkin Lunchbox

This week was the #NationalVegeterianWeek, basically – my time to shine.
Yet I was so busy studying for the psychology test I was sure I won’t have time to write anything that isn’t related to cognitive abilities or theory of mind.

But, 24 hours after the test and 24 hours before the national week ends, I managed to sit down and type!

As a vegetarian, I’m always overlooked by vegans who see themselves as much more moral or meat lovers that think I’m insane (like my dad, for instance).
Therefore, I wanted to share a recipe for the occasion, taking part in this community celebration in some way.

I decided to cook something special and use a material I don’t usually have in hand – buttercup pumpkins.

I usually skip them because they’re very hard to chop, but I found a method to do that!

In a classic recipe for buttercup pumpkins, they are cut into halves, roasted and filled with some sort of grain (pre-cooked & seasoned).
But, since I was a busy student this week I wanted to find a shorter version for this process.
So why not fill the pumpkin with something that doesn’t need to be cooked?
A salad, for instance.

The result: a light satisfying lunch that doesn’t make you fall asleep between 14:00-16:00 (when everyone in the office suffers from post-lunch tiredness).

Quick Buttercup Lunchbox

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 3 pumpkin halves and half of the salad.


  • -3 butter cup pumpkins
  • -1 spoon olive oil
  • - salt
  • - black pepper
  • - a handful of baby leaves
  • - half a red pepper
  • -2 tomato
  • -1/2 onion
  • -1/4 purple cabbage
  • -2 cucumber
  • -10-15 cashew nuts
  • -2 teaspoons olive oil
  • -2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • -2 teaspoons honey/maple syrup


  1. Heat the oven to 200c
  2. Chop the pumpkins - see notes for a tip to make this step easier.
  3. Roast Pumpkins - lay the halved pumpkins on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, pepper and salt. Cook for 30-40, until soft and a bit brown.
  4. Chop salad - slice the tomato, onion, cucumber and cabbage and mix them with the baby leaves.
  5. Prepare dressing - Mix the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey, adding salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Mix salad - add the dressing and the cashew nuts to the chopped veggies.
  7. Fill the pumpkins
  8. Enjoy!


  • Chopping- I found it easier to chop the buttercup in the following method:

    The hardest part is the one connecting to the branch, by skipping it the whole thing becomes much easier

  • Additional herbs- You can add chopped rosemary, thyme or a dry herb mix to the buttercup before you roast it.
  • No cashew? – Swap them with pecans, pine nuts or walnuts.
  • Packing for the office – If you’re taking this meal to the office like me, I advise to pack the cooked pumpkins and veggies in one “main box” and the dressing in another. It’s easy to heat the pumpkins in the micro, adding the dressing to the main box and shake it with the salad, avoiding over soaked vegetables.
  • A nice filling alternative – It takes 5 extra min but was completely worth the time if you have spinach in the fridge. Chop 1 onion and caramelize it, add 3 garlic cloves and 1 min later – add the spinach. Cook for 5-6 min till the spinach looks ready to be eaten. Cool and add 10-15 cashew nuts.
    Voila – you’re done!

    The result

I hope you enjoy this recipe,
I sure enjoyed writing it from my sofa with a home-made turmeric mask on my face! ( Another recipe I have to share!)
God, I love week ends.

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