Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roasted Kabocha Squash & Spinach Salad

"I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table..."

Ok. So maybe it's not technically Fall anymore, but this McSweeny's piece about decorative gourds is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Have you ever tried Kabocha squash (pictured above)? It's a Japanese variety of Winter squash and is rich, sweet, and has a slightly nutty flavor. I think I actually prefer it to Butternut squash (sorry Mom). It's a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and iron, too.

I was at work today, reading about macular degeneration and stuff (yes, really), and all I could think about was how I should cook my Kabocha I picked up at the Farmer's Market yesterday. Perfectly normal, right?



So when I got home, I put on some of my favorite ladies- Florence, Fiona, Stevie, and Alison (A Fine Frenzy----check them out, seriously). I poured myself a glass of red wine. And got to cookin.' Not a bad night.

Roasted Kabocha Squash & Spinach Salad

1 medium size Kabocha squash (about 4-6 pounds; you can also use Butternut squash)
2 handfuls of spinach
Olive oil
1/4 heaping cup raisins (brown)
1 teaspoon salt (I prefer to use coarse sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Maple Syrup, for drizzling
Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
Serves 3-4

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Carefully, with a large, sharp knife, cut your squash in half, then into thirds. Scoop out the seeds, brush the squash with olive oil, and place in a pan or on a cookie sheet. Place in the oven and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a fork can easily penetrate the squash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2) Once the squash is cool, using your hands or a knife, peel off the skins; they should come off easily. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.

3) In a skillet over medium heat, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in the spinach and the raisins and saute until the spinach is coated, shiny, and begins to welt. Add in the squash, a drizzle of olive oil, and stir gently together. Then, sprinkle with the sea salt and cayenne pepper. Remove from heat.

4) To plate this dish, which you'll want to do immediately before eating, simply drizzle with a spoonful or two of maple syrup, and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.

Aren't the colors beautiful? Always good to have some color on your plate.

This dish is so very simple. And so very tasty. The Maple syrup adds a touch more sweetness, when combined with the mild Parmesan and kick of cayenne pepper.

You see...gourds are just so much more than shellacked decorative vegetables. They're what's for dinner, my friends.


  1. i love kabocha squash tempura!

  2. soooo, can we make this tomorrow night?

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  4. Yummmmm. I love me some kabocha squash and the maple syrup and parmesan is so inventive! I will certainly make this as soon as I get back to N. America!

    1. I cannot wait for your return and to see all your amazing pictures. XO

  5. This looks AMAZING. I love every single ingredient. I only have golden raisins and sweet potato in my house right now so I think I will try this tonight with those modifications. Thanks for sharing!