Kabocha squash produce guide is an informative guide including nutrition benefits, how to cut it, cook it, along with 25 kabocha squash recipes!

overhead shot of kabocha squash sliced in half with seeds

This time of year is my absolute favorite, and winter squash is one of the reasons why.  Each variety is special in its own rite, and while it’s hard to choose a favorite, I almost always gravitate toward kabocha squash.

Before I went to cooking school, I had no idea what kabocha squash was.  My instructor did an amazing job of exposing my class to a wide variety of produce, and I’ll never forget the first time I tasted this wonderful squash.

It became a favorite of mine immediately for it’s flavor, texture, and versatility, and I love finding new ways to incorporate it into my recipes.

Kabocha Squash

kabocha squash with wooden backdrop

Although kabocha is fairly common now, I come across people all the time that have never tried it.

I have my cooking school instructor to thank for introducing me to this wonderful squash, and I’m excited to introduce it to some of you out there in this produce guide.

See more of my produce guides here:

Carrots

Cranberries

Fava beans

Figs

Persimmons

Poblano peppers

Swiss chard

What is kabocha squash?

Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, is a type of winter squash.  It’s dark green and bumpy with flecks of gold on the outside, and the inside is bright orange with velvety sweet flesh.     

How to grow kabocha squash

I’ve never grown winter squash to date, and hope to try it next year.  If you’re interested, click this link to find out how to grow kabocha

What does kabocha squash taste like?

Unlike most pumpkins, kabocha is sweet.  It’s also slightly starchy with a nutty flavor.

Can you eat the skin of a kabocha squash?

The peel of the squash is edible, and adds a nice chewiness to the velvety sweet flesh.  

I love that I don’t have to peel the squash, which makes prepping it so much easier.

overhead shot of kabocha squash cut in half without seeds

What type of squash is a good substitute?

If kabocha is not readily available to you or you simply prefer other varieties, you can substitute it with almost any variety of winter squash, including the following:

  • Acorn
  • Butternut 
  • Delicata
  • Heirloom pumpkins — ask the farmer or market for the best edible types!
  • Red kuri
  • Sugar Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato

Health benefits

Kabocha squash includes many health benefits.  It’s low in calories and fat, and is a good source of fiber, antioxidants, iron, copper, magnesium, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, B and C.

Nutrition information for one cup of squash is as follows:

  • Calories: 49
  • Fat:  .2
  • Carbs:  12
  • Fiber:  2.7
  • Sugars:  5.1
  • Protein:  1.8

Choosing and storing

  • Choose squash that’s firm and heavy, with no bruising or discoloration.
  • The squash will keep at room temperature in a cool, dark place for up to one month.
  • Once you slice the squash, it will keep wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze cut squash for up to 3 months.

How to cut kabocha squash

Cutting kabocha can seem daunting, but it’s very easy to do following my handy tips below!

How to cut kabocha squash collage

  1. Stand the squash upright on a cutting board.
  2. Insert a paring knife into the top of the squash and cut downward until you reach the bottom, and repeat on the other side.
  3. Turn the squash over and either crack it open the rest of the way, or use your paring knife carefully to cut through the bottom of the squash.
  4. Use the tip of a large spoon to scrape the seeds and stringy insides out of the squash.
  5. Slice into wedges or cubes.

How to cook kabocha squash

You can cook your squash in the Instant Pot, oven or even your slow cooker!  Check out details by clicking the links below!

  • Cook your kabocha squash whole in the Instant pot or oven and puree it for soup, risotto or for baking.
  • Grate it and use in baking just as you would carrot.
  • Roast it in wedges or chunks with your favorite seasoning and add to salads or serve as a side dish.
  • Simmer it in chili, curry or soup.

kabocha squash seeds in white ramekin

 

25 KABOCHA SQUASH RECIPES

Resources:

Organic Facts

Very Well Fit

Sharing is caring!