One of my favorite fall/winter vegetables is the versatile and varied kabocha squash. Kabocha is the general name for several different types of Japanese winter squash. Green skinned, orange skinned, beige… small, large, tender, crisp… kabocha comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. We get the majority of our kabocha from Mair-Taki at the University District Farmers Market. They will quite often have samples sitting out in front of their many different varieties so you can pick the one you like the best.
You can prepare kabocha squash in a wide variety of ways. Our default method is to cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, rub the insides with a bit of olive oil and honey. We roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, depending on thickness. Basically, just roast it until it is fork tender. Remove from the oven, add a little seasoned salt and eat.
We usually buy about a 3-4 pound kabocha, which can feed us for at least two meals. On the second day, if we’ve just roasted the squash, we’ll put the leftovers in an oven proof bowl, sprinkle some brown sugar over the top, and reheat in the oven. I love mashing the kabocha flesh with the brown sugar and sometimes even a little butter if I’m feeling indulgent.
A little known fact about the kabocha squash is that the skin is totally edible. If you roast the kabocha, the skin turns very tender. I love the taste, a little more caramelized than the flesh, with a rich flavor.
You can also use kabocha in soups. Cut the squash into chunks and simmer in your stock until tender, then blend the entire soup.
Lastly, don’t throw out those seeds! Kabocha seeds are just like pumpkin seeds. Separate them from the other innards, rinse them in water, and dry them. Toss them in olive oil and spices and roast in the oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes (depending on how thick the seeds are). Salt them and enjoy!
Need some recipes for kabocha squash? Click here.