This Maple Roasted Kabocha Squash recipe is a healthy, delicious dish featuring Japanese pumpkin, warm maple syrup, and toasted pecans. This sheet pan recipe only takes 45 minutes to prepare and is a great addition to a weeknight meal or holiday dinner. Serve roasted kabocha squash with a protein, on top of a salad, or in a quinoa bowl for a nutritious and flavorful boost.
This kabocha squash recipe is one of our most popular fall side dishes. It's seasoned with maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and tossed with toasted pecans. Roasting the squash in the maple syrup makes the squash tender and creates a caramelized maple flavor on the orange flesh of the kabocha. The pecans add a tasty crunch to each bite!
This squash recipe calls for the pumpkin to be cooked on a sheet pan. This makes prep and cleanup fast and easy. All you have to do is wash, gut, and slice the kabocha squash, toss it in the maple syrup and olive oil mixture, then place it on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper before baking the squash in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve it as a weeknight side or add it to your Thanksgiving menu.
What is Kabocha Squash?
Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin that has a green rind with white stripes. The inside contains orange flesh and stringy pulp with seeds. When compared to butternut squash, Kabocha squash is sweeter and denser. It also tastes similar to a sweet potato, but has the texture of a squash. While Kabocha squash is technically a winter squash, you can find it year round with its peak season fall through winter. It is often served sliced or cubed, roasted, or even as kabocha squash soup.
Kabocha Squash Health Benefits
Not only is Kabocha squash delicious, it also has many health benefits. It is rich in beta-carotene, iron, Vitamin C, and B vitamins. Beta-carotene is great for hair, skin, and nails. Given that this dish is both nutritious and tasty, you should definitely add this kabocha squash recipe to your list of dinner sides for this fall.
Ingredients for Kabocha Squash Recipe
- Kabocha squash - A sweet Japanese squash that tastes like a cross between pumpkin and sweet potato.
- Maple syrup - Accentuates the sweet flavor of the kabocha.
- Pecans - Add a delicious crunch and heartiness.
- Olive Oil - Baking the Kabocha in olive oil provides the perfect texture for the kabocha - firm on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Salt and Pepper - Adds a savory flavor to counterbalance the sweet kabocha and maple syrup.
Preheat the oven - First, preheat the oven to 415 degrees F.
Prepare the Kabocha - Second, wash Kabocha, chop off stem, then cut the squash in half widthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and guts. Face the cavity downward on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch wedges.
Coat the Kabocha - Third, In a large mixing bowl, toss kabocha squash wedges with pecans, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper until the squash is evenly coated.
Cook the Kabocha - Finally, cook the kabocha squash in the oven by lining two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the wedges and pecans on the sheet pans with some space between each one and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Add the pecans in the last 10 minutes of baking.
Hint: Don’t let the kabocha get soggy while preparing it - once the Kabocha is completely coated in the mixing bowl, immediately take it out and cook it in the oven so it maintains its firm texture.
- Walnuts - instead of pecans, add walnuts for a nutty, crunchy addition.
- Avocado oil - toss the kabocha squash with avocado oil instead of olive oil. It has a high smoke point and mild flavor.
- Sesame oil - substitute olive oil for sesame oil, which has a delicious nutty flavor.
- Sweet - add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to the maple syrup and toss the kabocha squash in the mixture until coated. The brown sugar will add a molasses-like flavor and will caramelize.
- Miso - stir in 2 teaspoons of miso paste to the maple syrup and coat the kabocha squash in the mixture. The miso adds a deep umami flavor.
- Deluxe - add sliced delicata squash and acorn squash for a medley of squash and color to the dish. Increase the oil and maple syrup accordingly.
- Nut-friendly - omit nuts for those with nut allergies.
In regards to kitchen equipment, you'll only need the basics: a sharp knife, cutting board, sheet pan, and parchment paper. Cooking kabocha squash on a sheet pan makes for an easy, eco-friendly cleanup too.
How to Store and Reheat Kabocha Squash
Store leftover kabocha in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat leftovers in the oven, heat oven to 350 degrees F and place the kabocha on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 6-8 minutes.
Pick the perfect kabocha - Choose one that feels heavy for its size (usually 3-4 pounds) and has a very firm rind.
What to Serve with Maple Roasted Kabocha
Roasted kabocha squash is an approachable, flavorful fall side. Serve them with your favorite fall and dinner dishes:
If you want to make this for Thanksgiving, check out these other perfect sides: Easy Roasted Honeynut Squash, Miso Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Green Beans with Furikake, and Sautéed Mushrooms with White Wine
Roasted Maple Kabocha Squash with Pecans
- 1 2 lb kabocha squash
- ½ cup pecans
- ¼ cup grade b maple syrup
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat the oven - Heat oven to 415°F.
- Prepare the kabocha - Wash kabocha squash under wash warm and dry. Chop off stem, then cut the squash in half widthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and guts. Face the cavity downward on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch wedges.
- Coat the kabocha - In a large mixing bowl, toss kabocha squash wedges with maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper until the squash is evenly coated.
- Cook the kabocha - Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Place the wedges on the sheet pans with some space between each one. Place on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, turning over the squash wedges halfway through. Add the pecans in the last 10 minutes of baking.
- Serve and enjoy - Serve on a serving dish and enjoy with your favorite main course.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove