Sweet and nutty, kabocha squash is a great substitute for sugar pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Get all you need to know in this guide.
Kabocha is a round, squat winter squash that’s also sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin.
Originating from a Japanese squash variety, kabocha squash are now grown around the world — even in my home state of Colorado!
Besides being fun to say, kabocha squash has a wonderfully nutty, sweet flavor that works so well in sweet and savory dishes.
As with all winter squashes, kabocha is packed with nutrients!
One cup of roasted kabocha squash (without added oil, butter, or other fat) provides:
The standout nutrient is vitamin A as just one cup almost covers you for the day. This essential nutrient is important for healthy skin and eye health.
One serving is also a good source of vitamin C and magnesium.
Kabocha squashes are often confused with buttercup squashes as they’re both squat, round, and green. However, unlike buttercups, kabocha squash point out at the bottom and often have small bumps.
To pick one, look for a squash with a deep green rind. When picked up, it should feel firm, not soft, and heavy for its size.
Like other winter squashes, whole kabocha can last for 1 month when stored in a dry place like your kitchen countertop.
Once cut (cooked or raw), you’ll want to store it in an airtight container in the fridge and use it up within a few days.
However, you can prolong the shelf-life by storing it in the freezer. To freeze, start by rinsing it, cutting it in half, and removing the seeds. From here, you can either cut it into slices or cubes.
Place slices or cubes on a baking tray and freeze for 1 hour. Transfer cut squash to an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 6 months in the freezer.
You can also roast or steam the squash first before freezing.
Kabocha squash can be substituted for almost any other winter squash; however, it works particularly well in recipes that call for sugar pumpkin, sweet potato, or buttercup squash.
While you can use it in place of butternut squash, just note that it will make the dish sweeter (which can be a very good thing).
Here are some basic instructions:
For savory dishes, it can be tossed in a marinade or seasonings and roasted for a side dish or salad topping, pureed into a soup, or sautéed and added to grain bowls or pasta dishes. It also makes for a tasty ravioli filling!
On the sweet side, it can be pureed and used wherever you’d use pumpkin or sweet potato puree, such as pies, homemade pop tarts, dessert bars, cheesecakes, and blondies or brownies.
Here are some recipes from other food blogs to get you started:
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