Lamb Meatloaf Baked in Mini Pumpkins A Vintage Recipe Remake

Participating in the Burwell General Store Vintage Recipe Swap is one of the highlights of my month. In addition to working with a fantastic community of bloggers, I also get to push my creativity. If you’re not familiar with our swap, I’ll explain. Each month, Christianna chooses a recipe from a vintage recipe book, and we, the bloggers, re-imagine it.

Lamb Meatloaf Baked in Pumpkin With Minted Yogurt Sauce

Simple. Right?

The re-imagining is my favorite part. I have gone from Potato Donuts to Donut Vodka- from Hot Slaw to Bacon and Escarole Custard and from Maple Cake to Savory Maple & Sausage Pies. This month’s vintage recipe is Wild Rice Dressing. It was meant to be stuffed into a turkey.

Three things about the recipe stood out:

  • 1. stuffing
  • 2. turkey
  • 3. curry powder

As I began to brainstorm about this one- I thought turkey, stuffing, thanksgiving, pumpkins… The first thought was to do a turkey sausage and lentil curry in little pumpkins, perhaps with some hand-harvested wild rice.  Fate intervened at my butcher shop, when some ground lamb called my name.

Lamb Meatloaf Baked in Pumpkin With Minted Yogurt Sauce

Right then and there, I thought of one of my favorite dishes, Kaddo Bourani. It is an Afghani specialty of sweet pumpkin, covered in meat sauce, then topped in yogurt sauce.  So, that’s how these little guys came to be. I’ve used potimarron squash (also known as red kuri squash) because the skin is thin and edible. The flesh is dark orange red and tastes rather mapley and of chestnuts which is beautifully offset by the spices in the lamb. Baking the meatloaf right inside the pumpkin imparts an amazing flavor into the flavor of the squash as well.

My husband actually called it delightful. Just to clarify, he’s not generally the kind of guy who uses the word, “delightful. So while this recipe remake traveled a long way from it’s origins, I hope you’ll enjoy it. We certainly have.


  • 1 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 tablespoon fresh ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 6 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½ cups fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (for paleo, sub almond meal)

Lamb Meatloaf Baked in Pumpkin With Minted Yogurt Sauce


  • 8 small potimarron squash-each roughly 4-5 inches across
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar

  • 1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (or almond meal)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil



  • (ever so barely adapted from The Helmand’s Restaurant recipe published in SF Gate)
  • 2 cups of plain full fat organic yogurt (for Paleo, use strained/Greek coconut yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves (very finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • Preheat the oven to 400º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cook onions with one tablespoon of water and olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat- for about 35 minutes, turning from time to time to avoid scorching. You are looking to get light caramelization, but no black or dark brown colors.
  • While onions are cooking, determine the top and bottom of your squash. Cut a very small amount off the bottom, just so it can stand up without wobbling. Be careful not to cut too deeply into the flesh. We want to keep the juice of the meatloaf all nice and sealed in. Next, flip it over, and cut off the top third of your squash.  Using a spoon, remove all of the seeds and the stringy matter from the inside.  Repeat with the rest of the squashes.
  • Rub the inside and cut tops of each squash with a little bit of coconut sugar.
  • Toss breadcrumbs with coconut sugar, sea salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and cilantro until very well-combined. Drizzle in olive oil and toss to coat
  •  In a large bowl, combine sautéed onions with lamb, tomato paste, eggs, cilantro, coriander, tumeric, paprika, black pepper, sea salt, garlic, and breadcrumbs. Mix well, but gently, being careful not to overwork the meat.
  • Gently stuff the meatloaf into the squashes so that it’s overfilled with a nice little mound on top. Finish each one with a generous sprinkling of breadcrumb/almond meal topping.
  • Bake for 30 minutes then check squashes for doneness- you’ll know they’re done when you can insert a knife in the side of one with ease. Final cook time for me was 45 minutes.
  • For Yogurt Sauce & Finishing Touches

  • While meatloaf is baking, make yogurt sauce. Mix yogurt, mint, garlic, and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • When squashes are done, cool for at least 10 minutes before eating, then top with yogurt and some fresh cilantro and enjoy


*Should you wish to skip the pumpkins, you can bake these in 8oz mason jars without the lids. Leave 1 inch of headspace. They will freeze well and travel well too! You’ll only need to bake these for about 25 minutes.


  1. says

    I sincerely do not think I've ever seen a cuter dish. The word 'cute' is not befitting the sophisticated flavors I'm sure this dish offers after reading the ingredient list but it is completely darling Sabrina. The first photo left me slack jawed. Such an inspired change up of the original recipe. Who knew where a simple dressing recipe could go!

    • says

      Thank you so much Toni. I had so much fun with this one- just never know where my little brain will go with these vintage recipes. It's such a treat to have something to spark creativity. I can't wait to browse everyone's tonight!

  2. says

    Seriously, these are the cutest things I've ever seen. I love love LOVE your first picture, with the yogurt sauce cascading over the pumpkins! Gorgeous shot. What a cool interpretation of the original recipe!

  3. says

    Sabrina, you have truly outdone yourself. First off, the photos are GORGEOUS. And the recipe? I don't even know where to start. It sounds so, so, so good. I'm always impressed by your posts, but this one seems particularly special. I've just never seen anything like it!

  4. says

    Oh, I have so many questions for you, but first I have to agree with your husband even without tasting: these look really delightful.
    Where can one obtain these small squashes if one does not have the access to Ferry Plaza Market? Should I send my daughter to Berkeley Bowl to check?
    That Afgani dish sounds really interesting.
    I don't have to tell you that I think your rendition of this month's swap is awesome, right?

  5. says

    If we had a winner each month; I do believe the winner this month would be you. Not only a creative revision to the dish but the most 'delightful' presentation too. The breadcrumb topping alone is worth the recipe…I've never considered tossing them with brown sugar; sounds divine.

    Absolutely stellar swap Sabrina.

  6. says

    gorgeous and I want it right this minute. yum. thanks. i think all I can buy now in the East are winte squashes, but they should work, don't you think?

  7. Rachel says

    Funny that you zeroed in on the curry powder. I saw that in the original recipe and vaguely considered seasoning my dish with it but only as an afterthought.
    I am so happy to see stuffed pumpkins – they are my favorite thing to stuff and a meatloaf baked inside a pumpkin makes meatloaf so sophisticated!

  8. says

    Just divine looking. Kinda made me start scheming as to how I could get an invite to your house for dinner. I really want to hear your hubby say delightful!!!

  9. Tovie says

    This looks really good. I'll have to try it. Although it might have to wait until fall when I can get some cool little squash from the farmers' market.

    And I love kaddo bouranee but I've never had it with meat in the sauce? I'll bet it would be awesome ground lamb. I'll have to go look up a recipe for that too.

  10. says

    What a creative spin on the original recipe! I love that you took the stuffing idea and evolved it from there. And lamb meatloaf in little pumpkins?! What a lovely meal….so great that your husband used the word 'delightful' :)

  11. says

    Your meatloaf stuffed pumpkins are incredible! I have never seen this done before and I love the idea… I have featured this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup. Let me know if you have any objections and thanks for the inspiration

  12. Lora says

    I never had kaddo bourani before and would love to try it. Your mini pumpkins are fantastic. The stuffing is so flavorful and am loving the yogurt sauce. An excellent swap with our dressing recipe this month, Sabrina:)

  13. Jacqueline Raposo says

    Gorgeous! The lamb meatloaf alone is an impressive recipe (printing it, perfect for this time of year up here). Stunning photos, gorgeous swap as always!

  14. Donna says

    Superlative photography/plating/presentation/colour and savour marriages….you would definitely win "MasterChef" here in France…Any chance of a suitable substitution for paleo people or celiacs?…I truly hope so..this looks too divine and perfectly fitting with the season!!…An avid follower and fan.

    • says

      Hi Donna,
      Premiermient, merci bien! Je ne sais que je suis une MasterChef ;)
      I am not an expert on Paleo, but I think you could replace the breadcrumbs with ground nuts (would be quite good) or with paleo bread crumbs (see the bread on Also, for the sugar, just replace with maple sugar if you can get it in France.
      Again, thank you so much.

  15. Alexandra says

    Great recipe, but the correct adjective is "Afghan". An Afghani is a unit of money. An Afghan is either a person from Afghanistan or something related to their culture.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>