Campfire Roasted Pumpkin Rice

How about an instant wow dish for your Thanksgiving table that comes in an edible bowl? This Campfire Roasted Pumpkin Rice is a nice departure from typical potato side dishes while keeping the comfort and warmth you want from a holiday meal. If you’re not making a turkey, this would be an impressive main dish. Savory, sweet, tart and nutty flavors come together in subtle way that will leave you pleasantly surprised.

This recipe has been campified from a traditional Armenian dish called ghapama featured in Issue 14 of Lucky Peach magazine.





Campfire Roasted Pumpkin Rice


8 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Car Camping


  • 9 inch sugar pumpkin (with a nice big stem)
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 - 4 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup dried barberries*


  • Campfire
  • Foil
  • Medium pot
  • 10 inch / 4 quart Dutch Oven
  • 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet
  • Lid lifter


At Home:

  1. Make sure the pumpkin fits in your dutch oven! It should sit comfortably inside the dutch oven diameter-wise.
  2. Soak barberries in warm water for 10 minutes and then drain.
  3. Melt butter in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the dried apricots, walnuts and barberries. Cook until the fruit is softened, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil and add the arborio rice with ½ teaspoon of salt. Simmer with lid slightly ajar until rice is cooked, approximately 20 minutes. Check rice after about 10 minutes and make sure there is still some liquid. Add ¼ to ½ cup of water or broth if necessary.
  5. Add nut and fruit mixture to rice and mix well. Add salt to taste if mixture still needs seasoning.
  6. Pack in water tight container or gallon sized zip top bag and store in cooler.

At Camp:

  1. Get a nice campfire going to build a bed of hot coals.
  2. Wash and dry pumpkin. Cut a lid around the stem and set aside. Scrape out insides of pumpkin leaving only the firm flesh.
  3. Set the pumpkin in the dutch oven and scoop the rice filling into it. Don’t over fill the pumpkin – the pumpkin lid should still close tightly.
  4. To cover the pumpkin and create an oven-like condition, use a 10 inch cast iron skillet as an improvised lid by turning it upside down and placing over the dutch oven. If the pumpkin is too tall, get creative and build a foil cover that will be easy to open/remove and put back on (you’ll need to check in on the pumpkin during the process).
  5. Set the dutch oven directly in the fire pit with coals using your lid lifter. Place hot coals on top of the cast iron lid. Rotate ¼ turn every 15 minutes until pumpkin outside is slightly soft to the touch and the inside flesh is soft.
  6. Remove from the campfire and set on heat-proof surface. Using a big spoon, scoop up rice, scraping up bits of pumpkin at the same time. Serve immediately.

Barberries have a unique tart-like flavor and are commonly found at Middle Eastern grocers. If you can’t find them, substitute currants soaked in lemon juice.

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