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Vandal Surprise in a Pumpkin

By Sarah Quade Hulse and Steven Hulse

Carve into a pumpkin this Thanksgiving to find a Vandal surprise! Vandal Surprise in a Pumpkin is a hearty bled of beef hamburger, rice, black beans, corn, onions, and mushrooms all cooked and then baked inside a seasonal pumpkin. With plenty of vegetables and the complete protein of beans and rice, this scrumptious dish is sure to provide a nutritious and filling meal or side dish for your guests. Vandal Spirit can be seen by the colors of the gold/yellow corn, black beans, and not to forget the golden hue found in the pumpkin! The pumpkin can be customized to fit any crowd simply by jazzing it up with drawings and other seasonal greeting messages. This eye catching dish, in a pumpkin, is sure to catch the oooh’s and ahhh’s and even make a decorative center piece for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration.

  • Oven: 350F
  • Bake: 1 hour
  • Yield: about 6-8
  • Portion: about 1 cup


  • 1 medium sized pumpkin 
  • 1 ½ cups rice (I prefer brown rice as it also has a yellow/gold tint after cooked in the cream of chicken) 
  • 3 cups water 
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs hamburger 
  • 1 medium onion 
  • ¼ cup green onion 
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt 
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms 
  • 1 can cream of chicken 
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or canned 
  • 1 can black beans


Cut off the top of a medium size pumpkin and clean out the seeds and pulp. If desired, customize pumpkin with permanent marker. Set aside. Cook 1 ½ cups rice in 3 cups of water (I like the 1 to 2 ratio). In a large skillet, cook hamburger. When pink in hamburger is gone, add onion, green onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, pepper, celery salt, mushrooms, cream of chicken, corn, and black beans to the skillet. Stir ingredients every so often. Simmer 7-10 min. Add rice into the skillet and stir rice in. Put mixture inside the pumpkin. Put pumpkin onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for one hour or until pumpkin is tender.

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