Pumpkin Rundown

My gorgeous Pumpkin Rundown is a lush, warmly spiced stew that you can make in minutes, delivering some Jamaican flavors to take the chill off on a chilly day.

It’s pumpkin season. Decorative gourds and pumpkin spice everything are everywhere. Don’t blame the squash for the hype- all the pumpkin-related squashes deserve to be celebrated now, and all winter long. Now that the chilly nights have done away with locally grown tomatoes and basil and the squashes are being harvested, it’s time to think orange. It’s time to start a tradition, and make this Pumpkin Rundown on repeat all winter long.

I’m smitten with the “rundown method,” as I call it. I learned how to make rundown in an impromptu cooking class in Jamaica, and have been making variations on it ever since. (read about my trip and class here.) It’s such a lovely, flexible way to cook plants. You just simmer coconut milk and Jamaican curry spices with vegetables, beans, or whatever moves you.

Try my Jamaican Rundown Greens!

Jamaican Rundown Greens
Think Summer with Jamaican Rundown Greens

Ingredients for Pumpkin Rundown

If you don’t want to go on a trek to find exotic ingredients, this recipe is for you.

A can of coconut milk is easy to find, and once you measure the cup you need for this recipe, you can put the remaining in the freezer for your next coconut milk adventure. I often put unused coconut milk in a jar and freeze it, then put the jar in hot water or microwave it to melt it quickly.

Vegetable stock is a flavorful liquid to combine with the creamy coconut milk, so it is lighter.

Ground allspice and turmeric should be in your spice arsenal. Fresh ginger, garlic and thyme add punchy flavor, and a jalapeno gives it just a little heat. Of course, you can always raise the heat level with a Scotch Bonnet.

Roma tomatoes and peeled and cubed squash are delicious in this. I used butternut, but you can use the one you have handy- kabocha, pie pumpkin, anything that you can peel and cube.

Both onion and scallions give the rundown a deep, sweet undertone.

What is Rundown?

Food historians speculate that “Rundown” is actually derived from Indonesian “Rendang.” Rendang is a similar dish, in which foods are simmered in spiced coconut milk, with Indonesian flavors instead of Jamaican ones. Jamaica was one of the Islands that were visited by Indonesian sailors, who priopbably used the native coconuts to cook their favorite meal, and taught the locals how to do it.

I love the process, as I simmer vegetables in a creamy, plant based milk that reduces and thickens a bit as it infuses the vegetables with lusciousness.

Try Pumpkin Rundown today, for a Fall meal to comfort and thrill you on a cold day.

Pumpkin Rundown

Course Main Course
Keyword chili, pumpkin recipe, wild rice, winter squash
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large roma tomatoes chopped
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin
  • 1 large jalapeno chopped
  • rice or flatbreads


  • In a large skillet or soup pot, combine the coconut milk and vegetable stock and stir. Add the spices, garlic, ginger and thyme and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the onions, scallions, tomatoes and cubed squash or pumpkin and stir, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Uncover and stir in the jalapeno, and stir. Simmer for a minute, then serve.
  • Keeps, tightly covered for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.