by Sarah on October 26, 2011 · 18 comments

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with winter squash. (The way I eat melon in summer…I eat squash in fall and winter.) It developed last year, when I realized there was a whole world beyond acorn and butternut…and after trying every one I could get my hands on, from the buttercup to the turban, I retained the deepest love for spaghetti squash…but still jumped right onto the Kabocha Lovers of Blog-merica bandwagon, after which I “[felt] like a real food blogger”* for the first time.
*Yes. I said that. This was before I realized that you are a “real” food blogger as soon as you start blogging about, um, well…food.
So when they finally arrived at the store, I freaked out, telling everyone I saw that “KABOCHA ARE HERE!” to which the usual response was a blank stare indicating, “Kabo…what?” That day, I took home two of the lovely hard-headed squash-stars (also known as Japanese pumpkins), and, after discovering they were less expensive at Sprouts, I bought yet another! I also then conducted an impromptu lesson kabocha flavor and preparation for both open lanes at check-out after a customer behind me inquired as to what “that green thing” was. :)
And as I’ve been eating them ever since, the theme of this weeks Jenn-hosted What I Ate Wednesday get-together is non other than the blog world’s favorite squash: if my food diary from Tuesday is any indication…I, too, am loca para kabocha.

They say you aren’t really obsessed with a food until you eat it for every meal of the day.
Well, call me kabochrazy, because that’s exactly what I did yesterday.
The success of eating butternut squash on my oatmeal made me curious to sample the kabocha in that fashion as well.

So, for breakfast, I diced up some kabocha that I had roasted in applesauce, maple syrup, and maple sugar, as well as some baked spiced persimmons and fresh Pink Lady apple.
I tossed all of that on top of apple pie-spiced oats and flax, along with a huge glop of almond butter and drizzle of maple syrup.It wasn’t quite as good as the butternut…but then again, kabocha isn’t quite as sweet as butternut. Had I truly ‘candied’ the kabocha, I’m sure this would have been off the charts…but as it was, I was quite content with the interesting richness (and orange dye effect!) it lent to my sharply sweet apples and spiced persimmons.

For lunch, I made an Indian-spiced, tofu-based squash “pudding” spiced with garam masala and red curry powder, and topped with fresh mangos.The recipe is coming, and you’ll be excited by not only the taste of this Garam Kabocha Pudding “Pie,” but also with how easy it is to make…and the fact that you can eat a quarter of it for less than 150 calories! (Seconds or additional snacks are necessary.) To make the pudding, I had to roast a whole kabocha and scoop out the innards.But you know what’s fun about kabocha? You can eat the skin! [And you can bet I cleaned this pan.]Dinner did not disappoint, as the kabocha bender continued.I made a giant salad of spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini, nutritional yeast, and diced kabocha that I had roasted with a glaze of harissa (a Tunisian red chili paste).Who needs salad dressing when you can season with Penzey’s Turkish Seasoning and then mash everything up with roasted red pepper hummus?And just when you thought I’d be ‘kabocha-d’ out…well, I packed some kabocha puddin’ for lunch.


My favorite way to prepare the kabocha remains the same as it was last year: tossed in a sugar ‘n’ spice seasoning blend, roasted…and then eaten cold from the fridge.*
*I’m weird. I know.
For the Vegan Month of Food, I had to eliminate the Worcestershire, and also decided to update the flavor profile with some sucanat, rather than brown sugar.

Vegan Sugar-and-Spice Kabocha Squash

1 medium kabocha squash
1 Tbsp. sucanat or demerara sugar
2-3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. spiced paprika
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Combine sugar, applesauce, and spices in a large bowl.2. Cut the kabocha in half, scoop out the seeds, and slice the kabocha into half-moons.3. Place kabocha ‘moons’ into the bowl on top of sugar and spices.4. Turn squash until all are coated evenly with spice blend.5. Lay squash out on a cooking sprayed baking sheet. Spray squash with olive oil cooking spray.6. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove squash from oven and flip. Return baking sheet to the oven for 15 more minutes, or until squash are tender.


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