Written by Christina P. Kantzavelos
Kabocha squash is the new pumpkin alternative. Actually, it’s known as Japanese pumpkin. You may have already tried it dipped in tempura batter while dining at a Japanese restaurant. This versatile and nutrient-dense winter squash is perfect for stuffing, roasting, pureeing, and more. While in-season (fall and winter), they are often found at farmer’s markets (come visit our stall!) or health food and Asian markets. Although it looks like a green pumpkin, its reddish-yellow flesh has a sweet taste and velvety texture, similar to a sweet potato.
Just like pumpkin, its bright orange flesh in high in beta-carotene, a phytochemical that turns into Vitamin A. This is great for vision and may prevent certain cancers when consumed as food rather than as a supplement. It is high in Vitamin C, which is great for immune health, and may have cancer-preventative properties. The skin of the squash is also an excellent source of fiber. Kabocha is considered a lower glycemic food (less than sweet potato and pumpkin), and therefore causes fewer blood sugar spikes.
Locating and Storing Kabocha Squash
While on the hunt for kabocha, look for thick or hard skin that has a heavy feel. The skin should be a deep green, with golden streaks and speckles. Ensure that there are no squishy spots or signs of mold. You can store the squash in a cool and dry place for up to three months. If cut, or cooked, cover the squash tightly and refrigerate for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to a year.
Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup Recipe (Gluten-Free / Vegan (Option) / Paleo-Friendly / Keto-Friendly)
- 1 Medium kabocha squash, seeded
- 2 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil, or any vegetable oil
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 2 ribs of celery, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 cups of vegetable or bone broth
- 1 cup of filtered water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro for garnish
Part 1 – Roast the kabocha squash
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash the squash with water (no soap needed). Insert the entire squash and bake for 45 minutes. Use a ceramic or heavy knife to cut the kabocha squash into pieces. Remove the seeds (these can be toasted like pumpkin seeds!) and stringy insides. Lay finished pieces on a roasting pan, rub avocado oil on them and sprinkle with salt. Roast for an additional 45 minutes until cooked throughout to soft and browned edges. Let sit until it cools, and remove and discard the skin (extra points for composting).
Part 2 – Make the soup
Heat avocado oil on medium high heat in a soup pot, and add onions and celery until softened, for about 10 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic, cumin and coriander and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add kabocha squash pieces along with broth, water, salt, and pepper. Let simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste (if not puréeing), and sprinkle cilantro to serve.
Part 3 – Purée the soup (optional)
If you would like a smoother soup, you can purée it by removing it from heat and use a blender to purée in small batches. Add salt to taste, and sprinkle cilantro to serve.
Alternative Kabocha Squash Recipes
- Kabocha squash salad
- Kabocha squash fries
- Kabocha squash congee
- Kabocha squash dip
- Kabocha squash pie (great pumpkin pie alternative)
- Toast the seeds with oil and salt
- Roasted kabocha squash with salt, or cinnamon
- Stuffed kabocha squash
We hope this post helped demystify kabocha squash for you, and taught you something new. Please tag @sagemountainfarm if you decide to create the soup! Thank you in advance for shopping local, organically grown, in-season and supporting your local small farmer.
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