Kabocha squash, also known as the Japanese Pumpkin, is one of my favorite fall foods. This pumpkin shaped squash can be found throughout the year but they are best in the late summer and early fall months. If you have yet to try this squash variety, hopefully I can convince you to not let another fall season go by without giving kabocha a shot.
As I said, kabocha is similar in shape to a pumpkin, only smaller. Their average weight is somewhere between 2-3 pounds. They have a dark green skin and their inner flesh is a golden yellow/orange color. They have seeds just like a pumpkin. Kabocha is prepared similar to a pumpkin as well. Start by cutting around the stem and removing it. Then slice the kabocha in half and scrape out the seeds. The seeds may be roasted and are a wonderful treat. You would never guess this by looking at it, but the rind on the kabocha is edible.
Kabocha squash is naturally sweet and is similar in flavor to a sweet potato and pumpkin. So chances are if you like those two, you will love kabocha! This squash, like other squash varieties, is rich in beta-carotene, iron, Vitamin C, and potassium. One cup has only 40 calories and 7 grams of carbs. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, all of which are delicious. One of my favorite ways to enjoy kabocha squash is by making a soup. The flavor and warmth it brings is incredible which makes this the perfect fall meal.
I love topping this soup off with some roasted spiced pepitas. Another thing that makes a great topper is a dollop of Creamy Chipotle Cashew Sauce. These two things do a great job at bringing together the sweet and savory flavors going on in this soup.
1 kabocha squash, halved and seeds scooped out
1 yellow onion, diced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
3 cups vegetable stock (or filtered water)
1 cup full fat coconut milk
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 Tbs lemon juice
coconut oil for coating squash, plus 1 Tbs for soup
Roasted Spiced Pepitas
1 cup raw pepita seeds
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp coconut oil, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove stem from kabocha, slice it in half, and scoop out the seeds. Coat the squash with coconut oil, place flesh side down, and roast for 50-60 minutes. You want it to be tender when you pierce it with a fork.
2. While the kabocha is roasting, prep the rest of you ingredients. You can either roast the seeds beforehand, or after the squash has been cooked. I usually like to do this before. To make the seeds, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, place the seeds on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and roast the seeds at 325°F for 10-15 minutes. You will want to check them and stir them around halfway through roasting time.
3. After kabocha is done roasting, allow it to cool while you get the rest of the soup going. In a large pot, melt a tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat and add the fennel seeds. Cook the fennel seeds about 2-3 minutes. Then add chopped onion and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened a little. Add the ginger, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and coriander. Cook for a couple minutes more.
4. Scoop the flesh away from the kabocha rind and place the flesh in the pot. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Season with sea salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to a medium low temperature and cook for about 20 minutes. Then use an immersion blender to purée the ingredients. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can pour the soup into your blender in batches.
5. Once you have puréed the soup, add the lemon juice and adjust flavors if necessary. Pour into serving bowls and top with roasted pepitas and Chipotle Cashew Sauce if desired. This recipes makes approximately 7 cups. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator.