Are you enjoying the wonderfully varied winter squashes as autumn progresses to winter? It’s a glorious time for enjoying this autumnal fruit, and in this post I’ll show you how to transform kabocha squash into a delicious lunchbox staple: kabocha salad. It’s great as a portable lunch for young explorers…
Kabocha or Buttercup Squash?
Kabocha squash is available pretty much all year round in select grocers in Quebec, but my all-time favourite kabocha squash is best in autumn when it’s all plump and heavy in it’s forest green glory. It’s usually confused with Buttercup squash, another similar looking winter squash. How to tell the difference? Turn the squash over and you should spot the ringed ‘belly button’! That’s a Buttercup squash, which cooks up slightly wetter and sweeter than Kabocha.
Even if you can only get Buttercup squash instead of Kabocha squash, you can still make this Kabocha salad. Just about all winter squashes have edible peel (except for spaghetti squash!) but Kabocha squash cooks up nicely with a tender peel, making prep a relative breeze. Just make sure to select a compact squash that is heavy for its size, with a nice orangey patch (usually near the bottom).
Every autumn, we make it a point to head to the pumpkin and winter squash farm, and haul home a wheelbarrow worth of winter squashes. It may look a lot, but it’s all gone before December!
No waste – eat the peel
Speaking of edible skin on a winter squash, I’ve got a practical tip for you. The next time you roast a whole winter squash: after scooping out the cooked flesh, tear the peel into large pieces and coat them in some arrowroot starch and seasonings before frying in some healthy fat (Coconut oil, or avocado oil). It’s a great way to use up a part that would otherwise be composted or thrown away.
- ½ kabocha squash, seeds removed and cut into 1cm (slightly less than ½ inch) cubes
- ⅓ English cucumber, seeds removed and cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (plus extra for seasoning)
- ¼ cup raisins, chopped
- ⅓ cup AIP-compliant mayonnaise
- 1 pinch ground ginger (optional)
- Cook the kabocha squash cubes either by simmering in a saucepan of water until cooked through and soft, or microwave for 7 - 10 minutes in a microwaveable container
- Strain and place in a large bowl, then mash slightly
- Mix the cucumber cubes and salt together and set aside until slightly softened, then strain off excess liquid and add cucumbers to the kabocha squash
- Stir in the chopped raisins, mayonnaise and ginger (if using)
- Season to taste with extra Himalayan salt, if necessary
- Serve or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.