I’ve fallen in love.
All three of these winter squash and pumpkin varieties were in my recent CSA delivery box. I liked the way the sugar pumpkin looked so I positioned it as the star in this photo (roasted pumpkin recipe below). I threw the kabocha squash on top at the last minute, mainly to add a splash of green to the photo. As a “food” person, I’m almost embarrassed to say I had never made anything using kabocha squash before. Silly girl.
One shot at making kabocha soup and I’m totally in love with this sweet, rich, and creamy squash. Seriously, this soup tastes like it’s made with sweet cream and butter — all because of the squash. What a wonderful find for my dairy-free (most of the time) lifestyle!
I’m on a mission to use every item I receive in my CSA share, no wasting organic veggies, no buying stuff at the market. So, I’m making things up and experimenting and using other recipes for launching pads and substituting with whatever is in my weekly harvest box. Last month I did a post on the nutritional value of pumpkins and said I had no desire to actually deal with them — that I would just use the canned stuff. I totally take that back! Forget I ever said it.
I used my sugar pumpkin from Grant Family Farms and it was so good, I am forever converted. I’m committed to fresh pumpkins from here on out. This is SO much fun. When your ingredients are wholesome fresh veggies to begin with, you can’t go wrong.
I’ll give you a brief rundown of the nutritional value of kabocha squash and get right to the recipe; if I can remember what I did. It doesn’t matter. You can’t mess it up (famous last words).
Kabocha is the generic name for a Japanese variety of winter squash. They taste a bit like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. One cup has only 80 calories, but is packed with vitamin A (145% DV), vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It’s also a good source of manganese, folate, omega-3s, and B vitamins. All good stuff. These things are pumped full of antioxidant richness.
I peeled and chopped the squash (see below) before cooking it because that seemed like the best way to make soup, but some sources I read also suggested baking it with the skin on and then eating the skin as well as the meat. Apparently the skin gets nice and soft and tastes great. I’ll try that next time. Or if you’ve done that before, let me know how it worked out.
kabocha squash soup
what you need
1 medium-sized kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 box (32 oz) vegetable or chicken broth (I like Imagine Organic Vegetable Broth, it’s GF)
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and drained
what you do
Put the garlic, onion, and squash in a large pot. Add enough broth to cover the squash, put a lid on it and simmer and steam until it’s nice and soft (about 20 minutes). Mash with a fork or potato masher, add the rest of the broth and mix well. (You could also zitz it up in your food processor or blender.) Let it cook on low for 30 minutes or so. Add spinach and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once you ladle it into a bowl, you can add some crumbled cheese (feta, goat cheese, or mozzarella) and cilantro on top for garnish. YUM!
sweet and zippy roasted pumpkin chunks
what you need
1 medium sized sugar pumpkin, seeded and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 & 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 & 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2-3 gloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/4 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes (or more if you like spicy, none if you don’t)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
what you do
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put pumpkin chunks in a large bowl. Combine oil, syrup, garlic, red chile pepper, salt and ground black pepper in small bowl and whisk well. Pour over pumpkin and toss gently to cover. Depending on how big your pumpkin is you might need a touch more oil and/or syrup. You want it lightly covered, not drenched. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for about 20 to 30 minutes — until tender (I like it a little firm, not completely soft and mushy). Toss once or twice while roasting. Serve as a side dish.
I made a big pan of this, served some for dinner and saved the rest in the refrigerator for mixing into a fresh green salad the next day. It was awesome!
Go forth and play with your food!
In good health,