Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash)

Recently I professed my first trials of what seems to be the most popular new food among healthy bloggers, kabocha squash. This hearty winter squash is sold with the others … acorn, butternut, spaghetti … but it of course has its own nuances. And with all of those squashes on sale (the organic versions even!) for just $.49 a lb, how could I pass this opportunity up!

After I gained my bearings with the flavors and cooking times of kabocha, I decided to experiment a bit with the original Japanese Style Simmered Sweet Kabocha recipe I mentioned testing in a prior post. Though I liked that recipe, it lacked a little spice in my opinion, and it seems my cooking technique was a bit amiss, as I ended up with far too much liquid once my kabocha was cooked.

After many changes, the recipe I came up with offers a wonderful side dish (or breakfast as I like to eat it) that is slightly sweet and spicy, and is a breeze to cook up. From start to finish, I had the kabocha ready in 20 minutes, and that was with minimal monitoring required. It was definitely a nice change from my usual roasting or steaming techniques with squash …

asian-spiced sweet kabocha (vegan and gluten-free)


Quick Asian-Spiced Kabocha (Winter Squash)

Like most other winter squashes, kabocha is a bear to cut, but, on the bright side, no peeling is required! The skin offers a pleasant and unique texture to the dish. For efficiency, I cut up all of the kabocha at once, and store any leftovers in baggies to use or freeze at my convenience. 

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Low Fat, and optionally Gluten-Free.

  • 3/4 lb Kabocha Squash Smallish Chunks (cut to about 1-inch in size, skin on)
  • 1/3 Cup Water, plus additional if needed
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Evaporated Cane Juice, Brown Sugar, or Granulated Palm Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, minced (feel free to use more if you like your ginger)
  • 3/8 Teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice Powder (available in the spice section of most grocers)

Place all ingredients in a skillet and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  

Remove the lid and continue to cook (stirring occasionally) until the liquid is pretty much gone / thickened, and the squash (and peel) is nice and tender. This takes me about 5 minutes, but if the liquid evaporates and your squash isn’t yet done to your liking, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. Serve.

Note: I have been devouring the entire batch within a day, but if you do put the leftovers in the refrigerator, the flavors seep in nicely and offer more of an infused flavor the next day. Feel free to enjoy it cold or warmed.

Yields 2 to 3 spiced servings

Asian-Spiced Kabocha Squash (Vegan and Gluten-Free

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