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Kabocha Squash is a Japanese variety of winter squash that is becoming very popular these days, and seemingly, much easier to find.
They have a round squat shape with a hard, knobby exterior, and rich dark green skin. On the inside you will find a beautiful yellow-orange flesh and seeds that are very similar to pumpkin seeds.
The flavor is sweet, slightly nutty and the texture is light, almost fluffy. I’ve actually heard people describe it as a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato and I would have to agree that that’s a pretty accurate description.
Because Kabocha’s are a winter squash, you’ll usually start seeing them pop up around October and then last throughout February or March.
That rich orange color lets us know that Kabocha is an excellent source of beta carotene and it’s also high in fiber and loaded with iron, vitamin C and some B vitamins.
A single cup of kabocha has just forty calories and 7 grams of carbohydrates which is about half of what you would find in a butternut squash.
So it’s both a delicious and nutritious addition to just about any type of diet. #WINWIN
When you are shopping for your Kabocha squash, you want to look for a squash that feels heavy for its size. The skin will be dull and bumpy (thats normal) you just want to be sure there are no soft spots.
Once you get your squash home, simply store it on a cool dry place. I usually leave mine right on the counter and it will easily last up to a month (but that will never happen because you are going to be so excited to eat it).
When you are ready to work with your squash, give it a good rinse under some cold water and then grab a nice heavy sharp knife. Because it has a tough skin they can be tough to cut – so you want to be careful. Start by cutting it right down the middle. Get your weight over the top of the squash and then gently rock back and forth.
**PRO TIP** If you want to soften the skin before cutting, place the squash in the microwave for 2-4 minutes (depending on the size). This will make cutting into your squash a lot easier.
Once you have it open you will see, that it has seeds inside, just like a pumpkin. These seeds can be roasted and eaten just like pumpkin seeds, so once you scoop them out be sure to save them if you want a yummy snack.
Now if you want to keep your cutting to a minimum, you can stop right here, place the squash flesh side down on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 400 for about 25-30 minutes and your squash would be cooked and ready to go.
You could season the flesh with a little cinnamon and honey if you wanted a sweeter version or you can do a little salt and pepper and garlic powder or curry powder for a more savory flavor.
Another options is to fill the cavity with some salad and eat it that way OR scoop out the flesh and us it in a soup, a smoothie, or really any where you would use pumpkin puree.
SO that’s one option.
If you don’t mind continuing to cut your squash, then this is definitely my personal favorite way of eating it.
Take each half and cut them into wedges just like you would if you were cutting a melon.
Then I toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and curry powder. Now again, if you wanted a sweet flavor swap the garlic and curry for some cinnamon or even a little pumpkin pie spice, both would be delish.
Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes flipping it half way through.
The goal is to get this beautiful golden brown flesh with a nice tender skin, because remember, the skin is 100% edible. Its softens up when it cooks and is delicious.
You can of course, eat this exactly as is and snack a way, serve it a long side some roasted chicken or fish, or use it to top off a beautiful winter salad. The options are endless.
Some Kabocha Squash Recipes That Have My Mouth Watering:
- Soy Braised Kabocha Squash from Savuer
- Stuffed Kabocha Squash from The Detoxinista
- Sweet and Spicy Kabocha Squash from Food
- Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup from Goop