janet @ the taste space

Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

In Appetizers, Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Sides on January 23, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Calling all squash experts. I need your help!

This week, kabocha squash was on sale. Half price. Score for me!

I had two problems, though.

1) While I have heard of such a highly-praised squash, I had never eaten it.  I figured there hadn’t been a squash that I hadn’t liked, so I still decided to scope them out.

2) When I made it to the grocery store, the sign was labelled as BUTTERCUP squash, though. The squashes had kabocha stickers, the flyer advertised kabocha squash, but the sign clearly stated buttercup squashes were on sale.

I haven’t tasted a kabocha, let alone really noticed them before (the one I bought at the Farmer’s market, that is still sitting in my kitchen, is a light shade of blue… and 8 lb.. and looked nothing like these squashes!). Furthermore, there was no way I could discern any differences from a buttercup squash. What to do???

If I had a cell phone, I could have done an emergency internet search… but I don’t have a cell phone. 😛 So I bought a bunch of squashes, drove home and then did my emergency squash search.

Turns out I am not the only person with the buttercup-kabocha quandary! Heather outlined the very subtle differences, focusing mostly on the butt of the squash.

Tell me how my squash butt compares. Did I buy a kabocha or a buttercup?

I suppose the proof is in the pudding.  Or wrap, in this case.

I decided to roast the squash so that I could really taste it. Drizzled with a little hazelnut oil and only salt and pepper, this was a delicious squash. Denser, yet drier than a butternut squash. I found it had more flavour though and possibly a bit more sweet. Plus, the definitive bonus of the kabocha squash is that you don’t need to peel it!! I buy butternut squashes because I have become pretty adept at peeling it, but eating the peel is even easier! (FYI- the buttercup squash tends to cook up softer and falls apart quite easily).

Next, I went just a bit more fancy and stuffed the roasted squash into a collard wrap smothered with mashed avocado and cucumber, an idea that I borrowed from Gena at Choosing Raw. Gena has a wonderful way with pairing seemingly odd ingredients together, yet they work so well (remember the delectable apple and zesty cashew orange spread wrap?). Anyways, this was a very decadent wrap with the seasoned avocado working as a dressing, the cucumber conferring crunch all highlighting the hazelnut-flavoured roasted kabocha squash.

How do you prefer to eat your kabocha squash?

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cindystar, to Ingredient Challenge Monday for squash and to this week’s Weekend Wellness.

Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap

1.5 lb kabocha squash
1 tbsp olive oil (I used hazelnut oil)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cucumber, sliced into 1/4 cm slices
1 avocado, mashed
8 large collard leaves (or Swiss chard, etc)

1. To roast the kabocha, preheat oven to 425F. Slice kabocha into wedges approximately 1-2 cm at its thickest (no need to peel!). Toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Evenly place on a silpat-lined baking tray (it just helps with the clean-up).

2. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Flip squash over and cooko an additional 15 minutes, until it can be easily pierced with a fork.  Set aside to cool.

3. To assemble a collard wrap, lay collard flat. Cut out the largest part of the stem, in the shape of a V (a good photo tutorial for making veggie-based wraps is here). Place a wedge of squash in the middle, although you may need to cut it in half to fit. Smear avocado overtop the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with cucumber slices. Roll as in the tutorial. Devour!

Serves 4.

  1. Yum! This sounds like a delicious way to eat it 🙂

    I’m usually pretty boring – roasting it to bring out the flavour and sweetness, and then eating it with homemade sauce or blending with coconut milk and curry to make soup.

  2. Janet made these wraps only yesterday! She must have really liked them if she already wrote them up and posted a blog entry about them. It was pretty epic tasty squash, though!

  3. interesting, i have no idea what the difference between the two squashes is either! nevertheless, the wraps looks delicious!

  4. Ohhh, avo + kabocha. Such a heavenly pairing. These wraps look absolutely outstanding!!! Thank you for such kind praise.

  5. I had the same conundrum at the farmers’ market I went to recently! I’ve been reading about kabocha in so many blogs and thought I had finally found it, but turns out I got a buttercup instead! Oh well, like you said, they are super tasty and DENSE!

    Those collard wraps look delicious and refreshing.

  6. I’ve been wanting to try one of Gena’s wraps for a long time. I bet the squash was amazing with the hazelnut oil!

    In the past I’ve used Kabocha in this chipotle-spiced soup: http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/02/kabocha-chipolte-soup. I love the sweetness with the heat!

  7. From what I gathered reading Heather’s post, we get mostly Buttercup here in the Toronto area. The Kabocha seemed to have a much thicker stem end. I’ve occasionally found one like that among the Buttercups (which are totally delicious in their own right), and I’ve noticed that the “true” Kabocha (if indeed that’s what it is–I still haven’t found anyone in the store who can tell me!) is much dryer and a little sweeter than the Buttercup. I love ’em both, though. 🙂

    • I picked up a blue kabocha squash from SLM – the farmer assured it was a kabocha. So until I venture to cook 8 lbs of squash, I will have nothing to compare my current mini kabochas. 😉 Thanks for the reminder about WW- I submitted it. 🙂

  8. Oh–and a great entry this would be to WW! Hope you submit it (you have until midnight tonight!). 😀

  9. Even though I often write about butternut squash in my recipes…I almost always use kabocha. It’s hands down my favorite. I’ve never really been able to distinguish between buttercup and kabocha and I don’t think it really matters…I’ve never tasted a discernible difference.

    These wraps sound amazing! Perfect use of my favorite squash!

  10. That looks so good! I have noticed that squashes like kabocha are often mismarked at the store…they all ring up under “winter squash”. How annoying! I want to know what it is too 🙂

  11. The buttercup/kabocha issue really aggravates me!! I do not like buttercup squash because I find the skin tougher to cut through. Now I just buy kabocha squash if it literally has a sticker on it that says kabocha. I will definitely check out that link about how to tell the difference thoughl Oh and I love kabocha roasted, just like how you did it here and in the wrap it sounds delicious!

  12. You’ve definitely got a kabocha there. Buttercup has a sort of a raised bump area around the bottom stem. almost like one of those turban squash, but much more small/subtle. The kabocha is smooth all the way into the divot where the bottom stem is.

    Here’s a picture of the turban thing i’m talking about on a buttercup…this one is pretty big and obvious, but they can be very small and overlooked, too: http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/hadley/2011/10/12/stuffed-with-squash-buttercup/

    And the buttercup does cook up more soft/mushy than the kabocha…I like kabocha MUCH better!

    • Thanks for the info, Sarah! I went to Loblaws today and all the buttercups looked like my kabochas! It is thoroughly confusing!

      • it IS thoroughly confusing. I think they’re mislabeled a lot. I was tricked by a buttercup marked as a kabocha at a farmer’s market stand this fall! Maybe you can only know after you cook & eat it… ha! 🙂

  13. I slice it and roast with coconut oil as a snack. I want to roast and make soup as well!

  14. hi Janet. I love kabocha squash in Japanese food, as tempura or as a nimono (Japanese for “simmered dish”).

    in non-Japanese dishes, I might use it in a variation of Olney’s squash gratin or as part of a Moroccan vegetable tagine.

    lovely blog you have. I’ve been meaning to visit for the longest time, too.


  15. Hmm, I had no idea there was so much debate over kabocha v. buttercups! I’m going to throw my money behind these being actual kabochas that you have. They’re totally one of my favourite squahes, I love putting cubes of them in brothy noodle soup, with ginger, garlic, mushrooms, greens, etc. Your wraps look DELISH. Avocado + squash = heaven.

  16. […] Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap from The Taste Space.  Y’all know how much I love my raw collard wraps–and this sounds like a stellar combo! […]

  17. Sorry I can’t give any help with the difference, and obviously names in Italian are different 🙂 and mainly they come from the original region of the squash, such as Neapolitan from Naples, Mantovana from Mantua, Marina from Chioggia (it’s a little town not far from Venice facing the Adriatic Sea).
    But your recipe is a beauty tribute for the eye and the palate! 🙂
    Thank you so much for participating to WHB!

  18. As I understand it, buttercup’s skin is not continuous all the way to the stem. It has a slightly different color around the stem, often (but not always) forming a raised circle at the stem end. Kabocha has a continuous skin right up to the stem. However, I’m sure they are often mislabeled, so I don’t know for sure. I do know that the kabocha’s skin is thinner and edible once cooked, while I think buttercup skin is tougher.

  19. […] the traditional elements of Ethiopian cuisine into one dish.  Split peas. Berbere. Collard greens. Kabocha squash, too. In a one-pot meal. Boo-yah! I originally spotted this on Ainslie’s blog and my […]

  20. […] thrilled with my hazelnut-roasted kabocha squash, I figured it would also be delicious with Isa’s Butternut […]

  21. […] figured out, I like wraps, especially when wrapped with a green leaf like Swiss chard, kale, collard or even Romaine lettuce. Hearty greens don’t go soggy. My leaves are usually small enough for […]

  22. […] I post a recipe for raw collard wraps, I invariably receive a comment from a perplexed reader wondering whether raw […]

  23. […] cups roasted kabocha squash, peeled (you could steam it too) 1/3 cup buckwheat flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp curry powder 1/2 tsp […]

  24. Kabocha is so sweet, I love it! We just ate the last of our collard leaves but I am hoping to score more this week at Bountiful Baskets and if not there, at our local farmers market. In the meantime I’m going to have to hunt down some hazelnut oil, this sounds like too good of an ingredient to not give it a try! Thank you for sharing over at Ingredient Challenge Monday. xoxo

  25. […] year, two of my culinary discoveries was my love of fennel and kabocha squash (celeriac, too). Not a fan of licorice, but I appreciate a subtle anise flavour from cooked […]

  26. […] loved all of the savory options like the Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash (LOVE LOVE this squash!), Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap from Janet at The Taste Space; and this Stuffed Acorn Squash from my friend Heather, The […]

  27. […] You actually don’t need cups of sage to make this pesto. Instead sage is buffered with mild baby spinach to create a garlicky spread. Instead of pine nuts, I used toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil to flavour this winter pesto. The nutritional yeast adds the traditional cheesy taste but feel free to omit it. I chose to serve it with hazelnut-roasted delicata squash rings. Served on more greens, you have a very flavourful salad. Add white beans to make this a main meal. I didn’t use too much oil so my pesto was more thick than oily. Loaded with flavour.  Later in the week, I liked it smeared inside a green wrap (with a nod to my simple hazelnut-roasted squash, avocado and cucumber wrap). […]

  28. […] 9. Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap […]

  29. […] delicious and easy. I have made many of her recipes (there are too many to count, ok plus these, too), and I have bookmarked many more to […]

  30. […] Hazelnut Roasted Kabocha Squash, Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap from The Taste Space.  Y’all know how much I love my raw collard wraps–and this sounds like a stellar combo! […]

  31. For some reason, I’m just now getting this pingback, but I definitely think you had a kabocha squash…last January. Hehe, hope you’ve been enjoying the kabocha love ever since! 🙂

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