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Vegan Planet: Krazy for Kabocha

Friday, December 2, 2011

 

Krazy for Kabocha

If you hang around my blog long enough, you’ll soon find out that I love kabocha squash, a wonderful winter squash with a dark green skin, deep orange interior, and more flavor than you’d ever think could be possible in a squash. I can’t find them locally, so every time we travel to the Asian market (an hour away) I stock up on a few — where they’re also less expensive than in a regular supermarket anyway.In previous posts, I’ve used the roasted squash in a variety of ways including this luscious soup:


Because it has a large cavity, the kabocha squash is also ideal for stuffing with your favorite bread or grain stuffing:
 

 One of my favorite ways to enjoy the kabocha is to transform it into a rich, creamy (and colorful!) sauce for pasta. Last year, I tossed the sauce-cloaked pasta with chestnuts and cranberries for an amazing autumn meal.

For another take on the pasta-kabocha sauce combo, I tossed the sauce with some cooked gnocchi and used it as a topping for cooked lentils and kale as shown in the top photo. Wow! Talk about a powerhouse of nutrients. And of course, there are all those wonderful flavors and textures going on that complement each other perfectly.Here’s how to make it:

1. Roast the squash: cut the kabocha it in half, scoop out the seeds and then place it in a shallow baking dish, cut side down. Add a small sliced onion or a few quartered shallots to the pan, along with a little water. Cover and roast at 400 degrees until very soft.
2. Make the sauce: Scoop out the roasted squash and transfer to a food processor, along with the roasted onion or shallots, and salt and pepper to taste, and some ground dried herbs like a little sage and thyme. Process until smooth, adding a little almond milk or vegetable broth to achieve the desired consistency of a creamy sauce. Transfer to a saucepan and heat it, stirring. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
3. Cook the lentils and steam the kale, then heat a little oil in a skillet and add some minced garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the cooked lentils and kale season with salt and pepper, tossing to coat with the garlic.
4. Cook the gnocchi (or pasta). Drain well and return to the pot. Add as much of the sauce as needed to coat.

Is anyone else a fan of this amazing squash?

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Comments:
Mom picked one up by mistake one Thanksgiving, thinking it was an odd-shaped acorn squash. I recognized it immediately as Kabocha, aka "Japanese pumpkin", which is a key ingredient in one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pumpkin Red Curry.

What amazed me was tasting the squash just by itself and taking note of how potato-y the texture of that squash was. The squash eaters liked it, and Mom learned about a new squash for her to cook with in the future.
 
Karen, What a happy accident to get a kabocha by mistake! Yes, the dense texture and rich flavor is amazing -- I love the squash all by itself too! Once I experienced it, it spoiled me for other types of squash.
(and I love Pumpkin Red Curry, too!)
 
love the gnocchi and the pasta with chestnuts, must be divine! cheers from Italy!
 
Elisabetta, Yes, you're correct. The combination of chestnuts with the pasta and kabocha squash was a revelation. And the gnocchi coated in the creamy sauces tasted absolutely decadent.
 
Lovely post; such great ways to use this fabulous squash. Yumy! Thanks Robin.
 
I really like kabocha (we call it Japanese pumpkin here). I don't use it nearly enough though. I especially like when I find nice small ones, they are so cute for stuffing!
 
I like the small ones for stuffing, too Susan -- but I'll take them any size I can get them. They're usually sold as kabocha squash here, but I also know them as Hokaido pumpkin.
 
I will be going to our Asian Market to see if I can find this squash!!
Your recipes look beautiful and I am so grateful I found your blog.
Peace and Raw Health,
Elizabeth
 
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