Kabocha squash is commonly called Japanese pumpkin, but it is also known as Kuri kabocha, sold by the brand names Miyako, Ebisu, Kurokawa, and Akazukin. Kabocha is rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and traces of calcium, folic acid and B vitamins. It is popular for its exceptionally sweet flavor, and is even sweeter than butternut squash. In some cultures, kabocha is revered as an aphrodisiac.
Although kabocha squash is available all year round, it is best in late summer and early fall. I always grab one when they are stocked in my local supermarket because it’s not too often that I see them there. I love to prepare kabocha in various ways. Some of my favorite meals are Roasted Kabocha Squash With Kale and Collard Greens and Azuki Beans With Kabocha Squash. Tonight I made a Sweet And Simple Kabocha Squash Soup With Roasted Chickpea Nuts which is a favorite in my family. The recipe came from Alicia Silverstone’s wonderful book The Kind Diet. I hope you enjoy it!
SWEET AND SIMPLE KABOCHA SQUASH SOUP WITH ROASTED CHICKPEA NUTS
Serves 3 or 4
4 cups kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 1/2 cups of water
2 pinches of fine sea salt
Minced fresh parsley, for garnish
For the Chickpea Nuts:
1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
A large pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Place the squash in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, and add a small pinch of salt. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the squash is soft. Mash the squash with a potato masher, or blend with a handheld blender, right in the pot. Add another pinch of salt (or 1 teaspoon shoyu), and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes longer. Serve the soup hot with the roasted chickpea nuts and a sprinkle of parsley on top.
For the Roasted Chickpeas:
Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and salt. Place the coated chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes. They are done when they are slightly brown and crunchy.
*Note: The most difficult part of this recipe is cutting and peeling the squash. After you cut the kabocha squash in half, peel the skin of each half with the flat side of the kabocha facing down on a cutting board. It will be much easier if you use this type of peeler…