If you’ve never had kabocha squash, you’re missing out, but lucky for you, I’ve got some amazing kabocha squash recipes that will introduce you the perfect way! Kabocha squash is a winter squash available only in the fall, making it a special occasion for me. It is also a culinary obsession among many. Why? Well, kabocha is known as the Japanese pumpkin. It is extremely sweet, very rich and nutty tasting, and is unique compared to any other squash out there. It is also easy to cook, and incredibly healthy. It looks a little like a mix between an acorn squash, a hubbard squash and a pumpkin, though unique all its own. Kabocha can be prepared numerous types of ways, and like all winter squash, it is high in Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, rich in potassium and fiber, and fat-free. It is low in calories and is low glycemic, so it makes a perfect healthy complex carb to eat in the fall. Try these amazing kabocha squash recipes. They’re sure to satisfy most any craving you have and they’re 100% delicious.
1. Spiced Sweet Squash
Since kabocha squash is naturally sweet, one of my go-to, favorite kabocha squash recipes is a simple spiced sweet squash recipe like this one. It is so easy to make and I love keeping the slices in my fridge all week to snack on. As the squash cools in the fridge, the slices harden up and get even sweeter. It’s like eating a treat in the form of a veggie!
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. coconut sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 medium kabocha squash, halved and seeded
Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the squash after you’ve seeded and halved it, and slice it into slices about an inch thick apiece. Spray a baking pan with nonstick spray or cover with foil and place the squash all over the pan evenly, being sure they aren’t lying on top of one another. You may need to use two pans if yours are small. Next, in a small bowl, mix all your ingredients together except the kabocha. Spread the mixture with a pastry brush all over the squash, or just drizzle it over the squash. Bake for 30 minutes until the squash is tender.
2. Miso Glazed Squash
Another fabulous recipe using the amazing kabocha squash is this miso glazed squash. Miso is a paste that is really tasty made from fermented soy. I know it sounds gross, but miso is actually full of healthy probiotics, and a good brand will not contain GMO soy. You can find it in the refrigerated section in the produce department. Miso is very healing to the body and the digestive system. It satisfies the umami taste we crave, which we often sense as a salt craving. Yet, the sweetness in the squash balances everything out quite nicely, which is why this simple recipe is one of my favorites!
3 one inch pieces of fresh ginger, finely grated
6 tbsp. miso (any variety- I like Eden’s brand)
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsps rice vinegar
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp. coconut sugar
1/2 kabocha squash (1 ½ lbs seeded and cut into 14 in slices)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, place all the squash together. Next, in a blender or food processor, add in the miso, coconut oil, rice vinegar, tamari, and coconut sugar. Pour this all over the squash in the bowl and toss to coat. Then, pull out a nonstick baking sheet. Use a fork and arrange the slices all over the pan, making sure they are even. Whatever sauce you have left over in the bowl, save it. Bake the squash for 15 minutes on the pan, then remove it from the oven and flip the squash over. Baste with the remaining sauce and bake 5-10 more minutes until it is tender and the edges are soft to the touch with a fork. Serve it hot or warm.
3. Kabocha Squash Soup
I adore squash soup, and kabocha makes one of the best! Because it is so rich and sweet tasting, when prepared in soup form, it is also extremely satisfying, just like comfort food! For visual appeal, try keeping the outer shell of the squash to serve it in. It makes for a pretty entrée dish to serve for guests alongside some crusty bread or another entrée or salad.
2 medium sized kabocha squashes
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup coconut milk
1 vegetable bullion cube
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. ground ginger
Parsley to garnish
If not making bowls from the rinds, halve squashes, scoop out the seeds and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and place in an oven turned to 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Bake until flesh is tender enough to spoon from the rinds. Scoop out flesh into a soup pot. Keep in mind that it will look sort of dry. Add remaining ingredients, except for the paprika and parsley. Whisk to break down lumps while simmering. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. The thickness of the soup will depend on how much squash you scraped out of the rinds, so feel free to add liquid at this point to reach a consistency you like. Reheat on the stove if necessary. Serve garnished with paprika and parsley.
4. Hearty Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash
Kale is just so amazing, why not pair it with another amazing veggie for an out-of-this-world meal? I say, go for it! This dish is a great salad to serve for guests. For starters, it offers lots of visual appeal from the bright green kale, and the glowing squash. The radiant red pomegranate seeds bring everything to life and just naturally scream fall flavor. Try this squash recipe next time you’re hungry. Whether you make it for guests or not, it will satisfy just about any craving you can possibly think of. Sweet, savory, and crunch, with hearty denseness, this salad is not just rabbit food!
1 bunch of kale (curly, stems removed and discarded, torn into bite sized pieces, washed and spun dry)
1 kabocha squash (halved and seeded, cut into 1 inch thick slices, with the peel on)
4 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil, divided into 1 tbsp. and 3 tbsp.
¾ cup sliced almonds, hazelnuts or cashews
¾ cup pomegranate seeds
1 tsp. whole grain or Dijon mustard
Juice from 2 lemons
1 tsp. maple syrup or liquid stevia
¼ tsp. Himalayan sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the squash in 1 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes, or until golden, stopping halfway through to stir. While squash is roasting, place the nuts of choice in a shallow baking dish (or a pie pan) and toast in the oven for 4-6 minutes, or until they are golden. Check them frequently and remove them the moment they start to get brown. Once they've cooled a little, chop them roughly and set aside. Whisk together the remaining oil, mustard, lemon, maple syrup or stevia, sea salt, and pepper. Pour 3 tbsp over the kale to begin with, and "massage" the kale well with your hands, until it's coated in the dressing. It should start taking on a soft, almost wilted texture. Add the remaining dressing as needed and according to tastes. Add pomegranate seeds and toasted nuts. Once the squash has finished cooking and has cooled for 10-15 minutes, add it to the salad, toss and serve.
5. Curried Kabocha and Kale
Now this is a great recipe, ladies! Curry is somewhat of a luxury and necessity in one. It is not super quick, but it is totally worth it. Curried kabocha gives you a flavor hit like no other. It uses the root spice known as galangal, which is much like ginger, but spicier. If you can’t find it, just use ginger root in place of it. The red peppers in this recipe really heat things up, so you might want to use less peppers if you’re new to spicy curry. Either way, this makes such an incredibly creamy and spicy dish. Make it and I promise you’ll see why the effort is worth it!
3 dried red chili peppers
1 tsp salt
1 tsp galangal (or use 1 inch shaved ginger)
1 tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic
1 tbsp shallot
2 tsps lime zest
Squash and Kale Ingredients:
1 lb kabocha squash
1/2 lb kale (ribs removed)
2 cups coconut milk
1 tbsp almond butter
2 tbsp coconut oil melted
Cut the stems off the peppers and empty out the seeds. Chop the peppers. Cover with water and microwave for about 30 seconds. I juice the ginger or galangal so that I don’t have to strain the paste, but you can chop the ginger and galangal into small rounds and strain when done if you don’t have a juicer. Place all the paste ingredients in a mortar or blender and blend into a smooth paste. If you didn't juice the ginger or galangal (and there are pieces) you should strain the paste. Cut the squash and kale into 2" pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and add the paste (use only 1-2 Tablespoons if using the pre-made paste) and heat until it separates. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil, then lower to simmer. Add the almond butter to thicken and salt to taste. You can either add the squash and let simmer in the curry for about 20 minutes or until the squash has softened or steam the squash separately and gently mix the curry with the vegetables when ready to serve. Throw kale into the pot and cover for 5 minutes. The kale doesn't need to steam for long, as it tastes best on the crispy side. Turn off the heat and stir in the kale.
6. Mashed Kabocha Squash
This is an excellent healthy replacement to mashed potatoes. It is sweet, satisfying and so creamy. You’ll never miss the white stuff again! Using healthier ingredients than salt, butter and cream, this recipe is also waist-friendly, but trust me, it tastes so good you would never guess it.
1 Kabocha squash, about 3 to 4 pounds, cubed and peeled
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or coconut butter (or use Earth Balance)
3 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B if possible
salt and pepper, to taste
Cut squash in half; scoop out seeds. Cut Kabocha squash into 2-inch pieces; peel, rinse, and drain. Steam the Kabocha squash, covered, over simmering water until tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Drain squash and transfer to a large bowl. Add the coconut oil, coconut butter or Earth Balance, and some of the maple syrup. Mash it all together and taste. Add more maple syrup, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste. You can also use coconut nectar or stevia in place of maple syrup if you’re watching your sugar content.
7. Spiced Kabocha Squash Pie
If you’re not into pumpkin pie, but still want a fall-inspired dessert to enjoy, just use kabocha! It has a much sweeter and richer flavor than pumpkin, but they can be used anywhere interchangeably. This pie would be perfect for those crisp fall evenings with a mug of cider or cocoa. Or, feel free to serve it at Thanksgiving. Chances are, your guests will ask you to make it again next year!
1 medium kabocha squash, about 3 pounds
10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ tsp of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temperature
For the crust:
2 ounces of walnuts
1/2 cup packed, coconut sugar or light brown sugar
3/8 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7 crackers)
Grated zest of 1 lime
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter or Earth Balance, melted
For pie filling:
Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large covered pot fitted with a steamer basket or rack. Put in squash, cover and steam, replenishing water as needed, until fork tender, about 1 hour. Turn squash over halfway through steaming. Set squash aside until cool enough to handle. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Place walnuts on a baking tray, and toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. In a food processor, combine walnuts with a few tablespoons coconut or brown sugar and pulse a few times, until nuts are coarsely ground. In a large bowl, whisk nuts with graham cracker crumbs, remaining coconut or brown sugar, lime zest, spices and salt. Pour melted butter or Earth Balance over this mixture, and mix with your fingers until the butter is distributed. Press evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 12 minutes, then set aside. Keep oven at 300 degrees.
When squash is cool, cut it in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop squash flesh into a measuring cup until you have 2 1/2 cups. In a food processor, process cream cheese with sugar, spices and salt until light and smooth. Scrape down bowl, add squash and process until smooth. Mix in vanilla and then eggs, one at a time. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and scrape filling into crust. Bake until just set in center, about 1 hour. Let cool, then serve
8. Parmesan Roasted Squash
Sure roasting a kabocha squash tastes great, but you can really jazz it up by adding some cheese for just the right touch of saltiness and flavor. This tastes great with a grilled chicken breast or a filet of salmon.
2 small kabocha squash, halved and seeded
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 sprigs thyme
1/2 Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Place 1/4 of the cream and thyme in each squash. Bake fro 35 to 40 minutes, then sprinkle the squash with the cheese and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil before serving.
Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice: cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com
9. Kabocha Squash Tots
If you love tater tots, you are going to love these. The squash gets soft and chewy and has a sweet and savory taste that will satisfy any craving. They're a whole lot healthier than traditional potato tot recipes too.
1 kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon oil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash with the oil and salt and spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
Eating Bird Food: eatingbirdfood.com
10. Breakfast Hash with Kale, Squash and Peppers
This is the perfect recipe if you want something hearty for breakfast that is also loaded with nutrition. You will not believe the flavor explosion when you take a bite.
1/2 a small kabocha squash, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 a diced red pepper
1/4 onion, diced
1 cup roughly chopped kale
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the squash for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat down, cover and cook the squash until it get soft, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat back up, add the pepper and onion adn cook for about 2 minutes. Sitr in the spices and kale and cook for 1 minute. Make a well in the veggies and break the egg inside. Place the skillet in the oven and cook until the egg sets.
Food, Faith, Fitness: foodfaithfitness.com
11. Kabocha Salad
This makes a hearty dinner, but also works well for lunch, the flavors meld really well together and the preparation is fast and easy. If you love kabocha's unique flavor, this is definitely a recipe that showcases it.
1 kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 an English cucumber
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 slices bacon
3 tablespoons mayo
Boil the squash chunks until they are soft. Cook and drain the bacon, then cut it into small pieces. Peel the cucumber and slice it thinly. Sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt and let stand 5 minutes. Mash the squash and place it in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to mix.
Just One Cookbook: justonecookbook.com
Have you eaten kabocha squash yet? If so, tell me your favorite way to enjoy it!
This article written in collaboration with editor, Eliza Martinez