You don't see kabocha winter squash very often. You may have never seen or noticed it. Or maybe you have but you had no idea what it was. Kabocha squash isn't as well known as it's more popular relatives butternut and acorn, but I think it's the tastiest. That's why I jumped and bought three when I saw them in the stock at the grocery store recently.
If you haven't tried kabocha winter squash you are in for a treat if you can find one right now. It's closest to acorn squash but a little sweeter with a softer, smoother texture. I don't even know how to describe the flavor, but Ross called them dessert the other night, so if that tells you anything...
When you roast squashes or other starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips (there are so many good ones!) they become even sweeter and they're so delicious, satisfying and quite filling.
That's really why winter is their true time to shine - when we need those extra filling carbs for warmth and energy!
I still like to cook them in the summer though. Leftovers end up in lunch-time salads, that is if they survive the girls' dinner time...
My kids eat these squashes (and sweet potatoes) like they're candy. But little do they know they're really eating something super healthy. That orangey-yellowish flesh means they're high in vitamin C, vitamin A, beta-carotene and potassium. They're also a really healthy source of complex carbohydrates and fiber too.
I like to think of starchy vegetables as gateway veggies and they'll lead to other, perhaps even more potent, veggies down the road....
The Trick to Cutting a Winter Squash
So, remember my trick I told you about a few weeks ago for getting into a spaghetti squash? Well it works great with these guys too. Before I figured this out I used to buy squashes like this and they'd sit in my pantry for weeks, months, because I didn't want to mess with the prep. If you've ever tried to cut up a squash the wrong way, you know what I mean...
So in case you missed it, let me tell you. I put the whole thing on a baking sheet in the oven and half bake it, about 20 minutes, just until it's soft enough to easily get a knife through without getting it stuck. I scoop out the seeds and slice each half into crescents, about one inch thick.
You can then either peel off the skins with a small knife or just leave them on. That's another great thing about kabocha squash, the skins are OK to eat. I toss the crescents in oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper or maybe another seasoning like cinnamon, paprika, garam masala, curry powder... and then pop them back in the oven to finish roasting.
This same method works great for other squashes, too, just like the spaghetti squash. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
I've got lots more tricks where that one came from...
Roasted Kabocha Winter Squash
1 kabocha squash
virgin coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place kabocha squash.
Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully place the squash on a cutting board. It should be soft and easy to cut through, but handle carefully because it will be hot. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Then cut into crescents from top to bottom along the outside of each half.
Arrange the slices back on the baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to oven. Continue baking another 15-20 minutes until browned.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.