Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 Oct

Savory Roasted Pumpkin with Beef Short Ribs

When bright orange, eye-catching displays of oddly shaped pumpkins take over the entrance of markets, don’t walk on by thinking that pumpkin only belongs in two places: baked into a pie or set on the porch with a candle stuck inside. Pumpkin is a seasonal pleasure to be indulged in, not only because it has a delicious mild, sweet flavor but also because it’s loaded with antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E and potassium.

Pumpkins can be stored at room temperature for weeks and sometimes months, so they can do double-duty as a decoration until it’s time for a veggie slaughter. For eating, choose smaller pumpkins (4 pounds or less) since they have better flavor and texture. Just because pumpkins have a sweet flavor, don’t think they have to be served sweet – a sprinkle of sea salt, garlic, fresh herbs, cumin, paprika and other spices all turn pumpkin into a savory vegetable. A coating of butter, olive oil or animal fat will coax the texture into being creamy, rather than stringy, and a side of beef or pork turns pumpkin into the perfect autumn meal.

To cook a pumpkin, first wash the outside then slice the top off to remove the stem, as you would for a jack-o-lantern. This makes it easier to cut the pumpkin in half. Once the pumpkin is halved, scrape out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Roasting a pumpkin will bring out the most flavor and takes around an hour or so, depending on the size. Generously coat the pumpkin flesh in some sort of fat, season the pumpkin as you wish and then cook uncovered until soft and a bit browned.

In this recipe for Roasted Pumpkin with Beef Short Ribs the pumpkin takes less time to cook than the meat, so they’re roasted separately. Cooked pumpkin soaks up sauce and flavor quickly, so once you combine it with the meat, the two taste as if they’ve been together all along.


  • 1/4 cup or more of animal fat, olive oil or butter
  • 2 – 3 pounds beef short ribs, with or without the bone
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
  • 1 cup red wine
  • One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes or 2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped with their juice
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • One 3 – 4 pound pumpkin
  • 1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning


Preheat the oven to 375° F.

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of fat/oil/butter over high heat. Season the short ribs lightly with salt and pepper and cook about 10 minutes, turning so the meat browns on all sides.

Remove the short ribs and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the red wine, tomatoes and beef stock and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so the browned bits stuck on the bottom mix in. Return the short ribs to the pot and bring the liquid a boil.

Slice the top off the pumpkin to remove the stem then cut the pumpkin in half. Scrape out the seeds and pulp. You can cook the pumpkin as two halves, or cut it into smaller pieces. Drizzle generously with olive oil, butter or animal fat and season with salt and pepper. Place the pumpkin in a rimmed baking pan.

Cover with meat with aluminum foil or a lid and place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Keep the pumpkin uncovered and cook for at least 45 minutes and up to and hour and half, checking periodically. Take the pumpkin out when it is soft and a little browned around the edges.

Before serving the meat, garnish with chopped parsley and spoon over the top of the pumpkin.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Yum.

    Miriam wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  2. Wow,that looks so delicious!! Now I need to get my hands on some fresh pumpkin.

    Eirik wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  3. That looks great!

    I think on Halloween I’ll send my little girl out with a candle in a hollowed-out loaf of bread and keep the pumpkin for this :)

    Stevemidd wrote on October 22nd, 2011
    • Haha :)

      Alyssa wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  4. Perfect for a cold fall day, looks awesome!

    Doug wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  5. I’ve got the perfect pumpkin perched on my patio!

    Diane wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  6. Is canned pumpkin acceptably primal?

    Abel James wrote on October 22nd, 2011
    • I use canned pumpkin all the time. Just make sure it’s purely pumpkin with nothing else added and don’t accidentally grab pumpkin pie filling off the shelf!

      Marjorie wrote on October 22nd, 2011
      • Thanks for the tip, I’m usually weary of canned goods.

        Luke Cage wrote on October 26th, 2011
  7. I love anything pumpkin and I have some beef short ribs in the freezer! Here’s Sunday night dinner!

    Marjorie wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  8. I am totally making this Sunday night!

    David wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  9. Nom Nom….

    Canned Pumpkin could be eaten like mashed potatoes and would taste super yummy with the short ribs!

    Joanne - The Real Food Mama wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  10. If you have Butternut squash on hand you can substitue that for the pumpkin. I just made up some roasted Butternut squash soup to have with some pork chops tonight.
    I love making homemade pumpkin pie from scratch. Use the above method for cooking the pumpkin and then puree it and you have your pie filling. Add other ingrediants and WHAM!!! Good eats.

    Casey wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  11. This looks so good! We are getting more short ribs soon (our grass-fed cow quarter that we ordered should be coming in!) and I’m excited to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!

    Kathleen wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  12. Yum!

    Erik wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  13. Looks really good. I am going to try this one. I am looking for slow carb recipes. i hope you could share some more.

    Helene Lauren wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  14. The best pumpkin variety for eating is called Winter Luxury – look for it in farmers markets or Whole Foods. Don’t waste time cutting the thing before roasting. Coat it in fat whole, roast in the oven for said hour at 375-400, then you can cut it with a table knife! The flesh will fall away from the rind – no peeling – and the seeds should fall away from the flesh. You’re left with two perfect halves of clean pumpkin. Struggling to cut or trim the darn things before cooking is wasted effort, imvho.

    LostMeHere wrote on October 22nd, 2011
    • but if you gut it before you can roast the seeds and those are good for snacking;:-) or sprinkling on top if you are making a custard

      bbuddha wrote on October 22nd, 2011
      • You can still roast the seeds after you have cooked it whole. If anything, it’s also easier as the seeds fall away clean from the strings, unlike a raw pumpkin.

        LostMeHere wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  15. Oh wow…that looks so good. I cannot wait for our 1/4 beef to come in so I can make some short ribs!!

    Tara wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  16. Beautiful photos! I’ve been ignoring the pumpkins at my local stand but you’ve inspired me to go get a few and roast them tomorrow. Perfect fall meal.

    Kathleen wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  17. Going back home to Michigan on October 26… Pumpkin is AWESOME in Michigan at this time… I absolutely must make this!

    Primal Toad wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  18. Cooking up right now!

    I found a Kabocha, a sort of Japanese pumpkin, at the local market. Baking as I type this.

    Meat’s in the slow cooker just cause I’m lazy and will always follow the Mark Bittman-ish path of minimum effort for maximum flavor!

    Snowcreature wrote on October 22nd, 2011
    • BTW turned out great.

      <10 min prep time = a couple days of food!

      Snowcreature wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  19. Yup, definitely making this! Pumpkin is so delicious 😛 I’ve made pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, a pumpkin “shepherd’s pie” and pumpkin curry. Yumm!

    Laura wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  20. I have found that normal pumpkins such as the one in your picture are usually the most tasteless. I usually go for kabocha when I am preparing unroasted pumpkins, and butternut for roasting.

    Dai Dai wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  21. I’m confused on how to prepare this dish. It says, “Cover with meat with aluminum foil or a lid and place in the oven”. Does that mean to put the meat on top of the halves of pumpkin and cover it all with foil before putting in the oven? The pictures don’t look like they’ve been covered with the meat mixture.

    I want to cook this dish, but I need some clarification so I don’t ruin a lot of food.

    Thanks in advance for help on this.

    W.J. Purifoy wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  22. @W.J. – I think the meat and pumpkin cook separately. The recipe seems to be instructing us to move the meat from the stovetop to inside the oven. If you remove the ‘with’ from the sentence, you should be set!

    Janice A wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  23. I’d avoid boiling the liquid with the ribs in it…boil to reduce, then put ribs back in to braise…Funny, just made short ribs the other night.

    Graham wrote on October 22nd, 2011
  24. you really know how to show your readers how to make paleo eating look delicious. A popular misconception of paleo eating is that the food is bland, how wrong these people are. Being a fat burner is so much better than being a sugar burner, just want to say thanks for providing the info for me to make a 80% shift over to paleo. I do enjoy carbs at times but have methods for damage limitation.

    Michael McIntyre wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  25. Delicious and seasonal. What a perfect combination. I have to admit I have been guilty of walking past the pumpkins so far but now I’ve seen this I’m intrigued and want to give it a try. Cheers for this Mark.

    Tom Parker wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  26. If you skip the spices until after you cook you can leave the leftovers mashed up for your primal baby.

    Fat Guy Weight Loss wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  27. I had just pulled some back ribs from my meat CSA out of the freezer when I checked MDA yesterday and saw this recipe. A substitute of butternut squash from the summer veggie harvest, and this made a great dinner! Thanks.

    Margaret wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  28. Is the pumpkin skin eaten too? In the final photo it looks like it’s been removed but the instructions don’t mention peeling. Can someone clarify??

    tkm wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  29. The photos of the roasted pumpkin are enough to make me brave the pumpkin patch the week before Halloween!

    Jen @ luckandfunny wrote on October 23rd, 2011
    • @Jen- you won’t find a baking pumpkin at a pumpkin patch, usually. The patch pumpkins are grown to be jack lanterns and have thin flesh, strong shells and inside is mostly seeds. I saw some awesome sugar pumpkins at Trader Joes. They are called that and also called pie pumpkins. I tried cooking a Halloween pumpkin once. It was tasteless and a huge amount of work.

      Liane wrote on October 26th, 2011
  30. Wow, tried this tonite and it was excellent. Have never been a pumpkin fan…but this changed that. Great w/ the meat.

    Ferdinand Tomas wrote on October 23rd, 2011
  31. Can’t wait to try this for Halloween!

    Debra wrote on October 24th, 2011
  32. holy crap! that looks amazing! and i was thinking about fasting tomorrow caue i didn’t have anything good to cook up…on second thought screw fasting

    mark bouvier wrote on October 24th, 2011
  33. My husband loves this time of year because this is when I start coming home with all the different squashes and cooking them up for dinner. Just another recipe to add to the mix!

    Deanna wrote on October 25th, 2011
  34. This looks delicious and perfect for autumn as well! I remember taking the seeds and roasting them after carving jack-o-lanterns. Is baking the pumpkin the only way to cook it? Or can I steam or boil it as well?

    Elle wrote on October 26th, 2011

    It reminds me of Chinese food actually, probably because I’ve spending too much time there. Interesting to know that they have one of the healthiest populations and their diet is akin to the primal, minus the white rice and white bread.

    I’ll have to try this recipe, thanks for posting. I like the simplicity of it.


    Luke Cage

    Luke Cage wrote on October 26th, 2011

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