Jamaican/ Sides/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Pumpkin Rice with Coconut Milk

January 14, 2024 (Last Updated: March 2, 2024)

Pumpkin Rice with Coconut Milk is a creamy, fragrant and flavourful dish that combines the earthy sweetness of pumpkin with the rich creaminess of coconut milk. This rice side dish features tender grains of rice stewed with pumpkin and a blend of Caribbean fresh herbs and spices. Without doubt, this pumpkin rice recipe is going to become your new favourite rice dish!

pumpkin rice with coconut milk.

Share this Blog Post with Family & Friends!


Pumpkin Rice with Coconut Milk is a creamy, fragrant and flavourful dish that combines the earthy sweetness of pumpkin with the rich creaminess of coconut milk. This rice side dish features tender grains of rice stewed with pumpkin and a blend of Caribbean fresh herbs and spices. Without doubt, this pumpkin rice recipe is going to become your new favourite rice dish!

Pumpkin is a loved ingredient in many Jamaican and Caribbean dishes. Check out this vegan Jamaican Pumpkin Soup or my Traditional Jamaican Pumpkin Beef Soup next! Or these flavourful rice dishes, Jamaican Rice and Peas and Jamaican Gungo Peas and Rice as well!

pumpkin rice with coconut milk fluffed in pot.

Jamaican Pumpkin Rice

In Jamaica, pumpkin is used for more than just lattes and muffins! Kick your white rice up a notch with some sweet pumpkin! It adds colour, flavour, and nutrients too. Pumpkin rice is creamy, spiced, and absolutely delicious. I love it as a seasonal dish during the fall and winter months.

The preparation involves cooking rice with chunks of fresh pumpkin, allowing the pumpkin’s natural sugars to enhance the overall sweetness of the dish. The addition of coconut milk adds a luscious and velvety consistency, providing a tropical and indulgent touch to the rice.

What is Pumpkin Rice?

Pumpkin rice is rice cooked with chunks of pumpkin. The popular pumpkin choice in Jamaica is calabaza pumpkin. It is large, round or elongated shape, and dark green skin. Calabaza is sweet with a similar flavour profile to butternut squash.

Here’s Why You’ll Love this Pumpkin Rice Recipe

  • Simple: Although this dish is unique with a beautiful presentation, it’s incredibly easy to make. Make this rice using pantry staples. Mix your ingredients together, bring them to a boil, and then let it simmer.
  • Healthy: If you want something filling that’s also good for you, this is it! Pumpkin is a superfood packed with vitamins and minerals.
  • Customizable: This dish is so versatile! Swap the pumpkin for your favourite squash. Season it however you like and serve it as a side dish or meal.
kabocha squash.
Kabocha Squash: Also known as Japanese pumpkin.

Pumpkin Rice Benefits

  • Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A, which is essential for eye health, immune function, and skin health.
  • The high fibre content in pumpkin promotes digestive health, which regulates blood sugar levels.
  • Pumpkin is relatively low in calories, making it a healthy option for those looking to manage their calorie intake or weight.
  • It contains antioxidants like beta-carotene, which may help protect the body from oxidative stress, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Pumpkin provides a range of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, and folate, contributing to overall health and well-being.
labelled ingredients for pumpkin rice.

Ingredients and Ingredient Notes

  • Long-Grain White Rice: This is a versatile option with a fluffy texture when cooked. It tends to stay separate, allowing the flavours of the pumpkin, coconut milk, and other ingredients to shine. Basmati rice and jasmine rice are both good options as well. Remember to rinse.
  • Pumpkin (Kabocha Squash): There are different varieties of pumpkin and they each have their own subtle differences. Some are sweeter than others. Whichever you choose, peel and dice them before adding them to the pot.
  • Garlic (crushed): Infuses a savoury depth to the recipe.
  • Pimento Seeds (allspice berries): Offers warm and aromatic notes, enhancing the overall flavour profile.
  • Scallions (crushed): Adds a mild onion flavour, enhancing the savoury elements of the dish.
  • Thyme: gives earthy and herbal undertones, complementing the pumpkin and coconut.
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Add it whole so you get the flavour without the heat.
  • Coconut Milk: This enriches the rice, giving it a creamy consistency and a hint of sweetness.
  • Water: This is the liquid base that the rice cooks in.
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste): Seasoning elements that bring out the flavours and balance the dish.
  • Butter: Adds a hint of richness and enhances the overall mouthfeel.

How to Cook Pumpkin Rice with Coconut Milk

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add 2 1/2 cups water, garlic, pimento seeds, thyme and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, carefully add the pumpkin chunks. Let simmer until pumpkin tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Add the rice, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, coconut milk, an additional cup of water, butter, vegetable bouillon, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir the ingredients well to ensure even distribution. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot and let the mixture simmer until the liquid has absorbed then lower heat to low.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, let rest undisturbed for a few minutes. Then, fluff with a fork to separate the grains and evenly distribute the pumpkin. Serve the dish while hot and enjoy!

Recipe Substitutions and Tips

  • Squash: If you don’t have pumpkin, choose another squash such as butternut squash, yellow summer squash, or kabocha (what I used). Although it’s not a squash, sweet potato is another great option.
  • Pumpkin puree: Instead of adding cubed pumpkin to the rice, you can puree it in a blender. Do this if you prefer pumpkin-flavoured rice over chunks of pumpkin throughout the rice.
  • Vegetable broth: Some recipes use broth instead of water for the depth of flavour.
  • Rice: You can make this recipe with brown rice but it will take longer and require more liquid.
  • Vegan: Easily make this recipe dairy-free by swapping the butter for coconut oil.

Serving Suggestions and Tips

I love the versatility of rice dishes because they go with practically anything! But here are my top choices for pairing:

a serving of jamaican pumpkin rice on wooden plate.

Recipe Notes and Tips for Success

  • Purchase or parboil your rice before adding it to the other ingredients. This speeds up the cooking time, improves the texture, and helps retain nutrients. Parboiled rice is also less prone to overcooking and becoming mushy.
  • Remember to remove the thyme stems, scallion, pimento seeds and the scotch bonnet pepper before serving.
  • Use fresh pumpkin, peeled and diced into uniform pieces. This ensures even cooking and a consistent texture.
  • Be mindful of the pumpkin’s water content. If it’s too high, you may need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe to prevent the rice from becoming too mushy.
  • Once the rice is cooked, let rest undisturbed for a few minutes. This allows the rice grains to firm up slightly and helps to avoid a mushy or overly sticky texture. The grains will also separate more easily when fluffed with a fork, giving you a lighter and fluffier end result.
pumpkin rice.

Can I Make this Ahead of Time?

Pumpkin rice is best served immediately. However, it lasts up to 3 days when properly stored. See below for storage and reheating directions.

Storage Instructions

Once it’s cooled down, store pumpkin rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months.

Reheating Instructions

Reheat it on the stove over low heat with a splash of water, coconut milk, or broth added to loosen it up. Repeatedly stir until the rice is warmed through.

jamaican pumpkin rice with coconut milk.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can you eat canned pumpkin?

You can use pumpkin puree (100% pumpkin) to make pumpkin rice.

What are the health benefits of pumpkin?

Pumpkin is high in fiber and low in calories so it helps you feel full for longer. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, which boost immunity and skin health.

How to spice up rice for dinner?

Add pumpkin to your rice for extra flavour, colour, and nutrients. Adding pumpkin to rice gives it a hint of sweetness that balances out the savoury taste. It also adds something bright to your dinner plate while providing nourishment.

Interested in more Jamaican Recipes? Check These Out!

If you try this recipe, we’d greatly appreciate if you leave us a star ★ rating, as well as some feedback in the comment section below if you found this blog post helpful and tasty!

Also, please use the hashtag #theseasonedskillet on social media for a chance to be featured, and don’t forget to keep up with TSS on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTok and Pinterest!

Lastly, sign up to our Friday weekly newsletter for the latest TSS updates, blog posts and recipes straight to your inbox.

Oh, and share, share, share with your family and friends!

pumpkin rice with coconut milk.

Pumpkin Rice

Taneisha Morris
Pumpkin rice is tender rice stewed with pumpkin, fresh herbs, and coconut milk for a nutritious side. Creamy and fragrant, with a subtle sweetness, this pumpkin rice recipe is going to become your new favourite rice dish!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Jamaican, Sides
Servings 6 servings
Calories 428 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Long-Grain Rice parboiled preferred, rinsed
  • 2-3 cups Pumpkin calabaza or butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 4-5 whole Pimento Seeds allspice berries
  • 2 sprig Thyme
  • 1 stalk Scallions crushed
  • 1 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk
  • 3 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, add 2 1/2 cups water, garlic, pimento seeds, thyme and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, carefully add the pumpkin chunks. Let simmer until pumpkin tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
  • Add the rice, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, coconut milk, an additional cup of water, butter, vegetable bouillon, salt and pepper to the pot. Stir the ingredients well to ensure even distribution. Reduce heat to medium, cover the pot and let the mixture simmer until the liquid has absorbed then lower heat to low.
  • Once the rice is cooked, let rest undisturbed for a few minutes. Then, fluff with a fork to separate the grains and evenly distribute the pumpkin. Serve the dish while hot and enjoy!

Video

Recipe Notes

Resting Period: After you remove the rice from heat, it continues to absorb some of the residual moisture. This allows the rice grains to firm up slightly and helps to avoid a mushy or overly sticky texture. The grains will also separate more easily when fluffed with a fork, giving you a lighter and fluffier end result.
Rice Fluffing: After the rice is cooked, use a fork to fluff it gently. This helps separate the grains and ensures an even distribution of pumpkin throughout the dish, enhancing both texture and flavour.
Consistent Pumpkin Size for Even Cooking: Dice the pumpkin into uniform-sized pieces to promote even cooking. This ensures that all the pumpkin pieces are tender at the same time, preventing some from being undercooked while others are overcooked.

Nutrition

Calories: 428kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 7gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 42mgPotassium: 632mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 386IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 66mgIron: 5mg

Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Leave a star rating and a comment below! You can also tag @theseasoned.skillet and use #theseasonedskillet on Instagram!
Keyword(s) how to cook pumpkin rice, how to make pumpkin rice, jamaican pumpkin rice, Pumpkin rice, pumpkin rice calories, pumpkin rice jamaican, pumpkin rice recipe, what is pumpkin rice

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




You Might Also Like

Bar-B-Fried (Barbie Fry) Chicken Jamaican Easter Bun Jamaican Bammy Jamaican Rice and Peas Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding