No, these kabocha squash fries aren’t really fried, but trust me when I tell you that you’ll love them anyway. If you ask me, the crown jewel of the winter squashes is the brilliant orange fleshed kabocha squash with an edible green peel, especially when cut into finger-sized chunks and oven roasted with herbs. While it has a brilliant yellow flesh and deep squash flavor, its texture is much more akin to a Russet potato, which makes it extra appealing to people who are on nightshade-free healing diets like the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP).
In North America, kabocha squash is sometimes called a Japanese pumpkin… and in Japan “kabocha” may refer to the North American pumpkin. Yes, that is confusing! It is quite similar to the buttercup squash, but can be distinguished if you look at the underside… the buttercup will have a “cup” protruding from it where the blossom had been while the kabocha will just have a woody knob (such as in the squashes pictured above). You could use either buttercup or kabocha in this recipe, but it seems that kabocha is easier to find in grocery stores and farm markets these days.
Why eat kabocha squash?
Not only is kabocha squash delicious, it is also an excellent source of beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and a single serving provides over a quarter of your day’s need for vitamin C. You’ll also get vitamin B6, B2 and folate, and the minerals copper, manganese, and potassium.
How to cut a kabocha squash
Most important: BE CAREFUL! Use a sharp knife and take your time. The first cut will be the hardest, the rest much easier.
- Because you are going to leave the peel on, be sure to give it a good rinse before cutting.
- Cut the squash in half pole-to-pole first.
- Place one half on a cutting board, cut side down so it has a flat surface and can’t roll around anymore.
- Cut that half in half and then scoop out and discard the seeds.
- Now cut the squash pieces into chunks as desired – I like them to be about 3 inches long and no more than 2 inches wide.
- Repeat with the other half.
Kabocha Squash Fries Recipe
- 1 medium kabocha squash
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut kabocha squash into small chunks, each with a part of the green skin still attached (any size is fine - but I like them to be about 3 inches long and no more than 2 inches wide).
- Place squash chunks in a large bowl if melted coconut oil, salt, and rosemary. Toss to coat well.
- Spread squash chunks evenly on baking sheet, trying to give each one enough space that it isn't touching any others.
- Put in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and use tongs to flip each piece.
- Return to oven and bake for 15 more minutes.
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