Kabocha squash

Those mottled green fairytale pumpkins can do more than decorate your front porch, friends.

What is it?

One of the most fanciful squashes you’ll find this fall, kabocha is squat, slightly bumpy and forest green on the outside with flesh the color of a harvest moon. Although it hails from Japan, today it’s easy to find in the Midwest; however, it’s often overlooked as people flock to familiar favorites such as acorn, delicata and butternut. Their loss is your gain, and you’re going to love what kabocha squash brings to your autumnal table.

What do I do with it?

If you know me, you know that swooning over winter squash is going to happen every year like clockwork – but kabocha deserves the adoration. One bite and you’ll taste luxurious notes of honeyed sweet potato and roasted chestnuts – a welcome combination this time of year. Roast unpeeled kabocha in slices or cubes for concentrated flavor and crispy edges, perfect as a side dish or an ingredient in green salads and grain bowls. Peel and steam it to create silky purées and soups, or bake it into a fall gratin, alone or alongside seasonal root vegetables. Kabocha squash is infinitely customizable depending on what flavors you build into it; personally, I love it in a hearty rice salad. Roasted kabocha is gorgeous among any type of rice, but the nuttiness of forbidden rice (black rice) makes for an exceptional companion.

Shannon Weber is the creator, author and photographer behind the award-winning blogaperiodictableblog.com, and her work has appeared on websites such as Bon Appétit, Serious Eats and America’s Test Kitchen.

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