Saturday, August 27, 2011

Herb Greens & Kabocha Summer Salad

Haven't heard of kabocha squash? Neither had I, until about a month ago. I found out about it through a site called Kabocha Fashion - which may not sound like a recipe or food site, but it does in fact have some good vegan recipes!

There are apparently many ways to cook kabocha squash, including cutting it up and baking or roasting it, steaming it, or braising it, or even just shoving it whole into the oven- you can actually eat the outside skin (it's actually very good for you)! This page has some useful information about kabochas.

For the above salad, you can see I actually did leave the skin on- I was pretty enticed by the nutritional value and just the oddity of essentially eating a pumpkin peel (kabocha, in fact, is often described as a mix between a pumpkin and a squash, or a Japanese pumpkin). I'm a little embarrassed to admit I picked the easiest possible way to cook the squash, and, yes, just put the darn thing whole in the oven, at 400 degrees F. (I washed the skin first and rubbed it with a little olive oil). Cutting through the whole raw squash is no joke; I figured I'd let it soften a bit before I used my muscles on it ;-)

It took a loooong time to cook- after about 40 minutes I took it out, quartered it and scooped out the seeds, covered it with tin foil (shiny side inside), and brushed the skin with more olive oil. I cooked it for another 40-45 minutes. It may have still been a little fleshy and the skin slightly too hard, so next time I may try another cooking method, such as this (as recommended by Nicky):

Peel the skin, cut into inch-sized pieces, spread on a cooking sheet, spray with cooking oil, and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

OR, I may have another go at leaving the skin on, since it's so good for you, and just cover it more fully throughout cooking and be prepared for a long bake ;-)

Ingredients in the pictured salad include:
  • Organic herb salad mix (A new find at the store! Contains raddicio, red & green romaine, red leaf, chard, frisee, baby arugula, dill, parsley, and cilantro)
  • Steamed asparagus, chopped
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Kabocha
  • Chopped dates
  • Chopped figs
  • Tomatoes

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