If you had to pick one vegetable to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Mine would be chocolate. But if we’re talking real vegetables, it’s a toss up between kabocha squash and kale, which is why I decided to throw my two favorite superfoods together into these vibrant Kale Kabocha Bowls.
Featuring wild rice and some spicy pork chorizo for an added kick…
What exactly is Kabocha squash?
If a sweet potato and a pumpkin took a “frolic” in the pumpkin patch, kabocha squash would be their gorgeous, fat little baby. Native to Japan, kabocha squash has a soft fleshy center and is sweet with some nutty undertones (kind of like your favorite cousin). It’s basically the best tasting squash out there and is loaded with vitamin A, which is great for your skin & immune system and your sex drive. (Just don’t pull a George Costanza.)
How do I cook it?
Method 1: The Braveheart
Grab a sword, slice the squash in half, remove the seeds, and brush the insides with melted coconut oil. Next, bake the squash halves in the oven at 400F until the halves are nice and soft (detailed instructions below).
Method 2: The Softie
Sometimes I don’t feel like getting stitches. If you feel me, put 1/2″ water in a baking pan, and place the ENTIRE squash atop the water. Next, bake it at 400F for 50-60 minutes. You’re basically steaming the squash, so be sure to check the water level now and then and add some if it gets low. When the squash is done, let it cool for a bit, slice it open, and remove the seeds. It’s THAT easy!
There are many more methods for cooking these babies (slicing into wedges, steaming in the instant pot). If you’d like to learn more, add a comment below and I’ll respond!
Should I be careful while handling this bad boy?
Does a bear eat berries in the woods? Yes. I’ve gotten into a fight with a squash before and lost, but I’m also a notoriously impatient multitasker in the kitchen. To prevent a trip to urgent care, soften up the skin before slicing by placing the entire squash in the microwave for a few minutes. Just be careful when you take it out: you don’t need burns to replace stitches.
Next, cut the kabocha squash in half and remove the seeds with a grapefruit knife or your dog’s front paws.
Can you eat the skin?
You sure can. And it’s DELICIOUS.
Is chorizo a superfood too?
Bad news. According to Harvard Health, chorizo has not yet been designated as a superfood. However, it is really freaking tasty.
I’m vegan and that wasn’t funny.
Yes it was. But I cook plenty of vegan meals so here’s what you should do: skip the chorizo and consider throwing in some toasted pumpkin seeds for added protein and flavor. Voila!
What are those weird red thingies on top?
Them’s pomegranate seeds, and they’re sooooo good for you. I am rarely a lover of sweet + savory in the same dish, but these go perfectly with the Kale Kabocha Bowls, and they’re one of the most nutrient dense fall fruits out there. They can be a bit pricey, but much cheaper and tastier if you buy them whole and extract the seeds yourself.
And yes, you can eat the seeds! They’re not bb’s in a maw maw’s roasted duck.
Kale Kabocha Bowls
- Instant Pot
Roasted Kabocha Squash
- 2 medium kabocha squash (or 3 small if you're serving 6)
- 2-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Steamed Wild Rice
- 1.5 cups wild rice
- 2.5 cups broth (chicken or veggie)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Sauteed Kale and Chorizo
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 heads greens (I often use swiss chard & kale, but I've also used collard, beet root, and rainbow chard. They all work well.)
- 1/2 lb fresh chorizo (not the hard dried kind)
- 1 cup onion, chopped (about 1 medium)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 3-4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon achiote seasoning (If you can’t find, just add ¼ tsp cumin instead.)
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (Or regular if you don’t have smoked.)
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander (Not a big deal if you skip it, but it does add a good flavor)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional) (Be careful because the chorizo is spicy, especially if little ones are eating.)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon SEA salt (or start with ¼ tsp regular table salt)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- While the oven heats up, place the entire kabocha squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. This will soften the skin and make it a bit easier to cut.
- Remove squash from microwave (be careful, because they can get pretty hot) and slice carefully down the middle of the squash (it's "equator" ;). Remove seeds and rub both the inside and outside of the squash halves with melted coconut oil using a basting brush or your fingers. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
- Place the oiled squash face down on the parchment paper and roast for 30 minutes. Flip so that the inside is facing up, baste the inside with a bit of the oil, and roast for another 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of the squash). The squash is done when you can easily slide a fork through the center.
Steam Wild Rice
- Place 2 cups of wild rice in Instant Pot. Rinse and drain a few times with cold water. Add broth and olive oil and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release. Place rice in an oven safe bowl with a cover and prepare your instant pot for cooking the greens.
- During the last 5 minutes of your squash's cook time, place the bowl of rice in the oven with your squash to keep it warm while your greens finish steaming in the Instant Pot.
Brown Chorizo & Saute Greens
- Rinse & de-stem greens. Chop the stems & set aside in a large bowl. (We don't waste anything in this house!)
- Take the leaves from the greens & tear into small pieces (or rough chop, whichever you prefer). Chop onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, and add to bowl of stems. You will saute all of these together later.
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to Instant Pot on saute setting. When the oil is nice and hot, add chorizo. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until chorizo begins to brown. When done, remove from Instant Pot & set aside.
- Add other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the Instant Pot (note: you may have to press saute setting again if it automatically shuts off after a certain number of minutes). When the oil is hot, add chopped vegetables and spices listed above (everything except water, leaves from greens, and lemon) and saute for 10ish min. Note: If you're pressed for time, just add everything to the Instant Pot at the same time on high pressure for 15 minutes, naturally release for 5-10 minutes, then manually release. For maximum flavor, I like to brown my sausage and vegetables first when I have the time, but that's not always practical.
- Next, add chorizo, water & chopped greens. Place the lid on top of the Instant Pot, seal, and set the pot to high pressure for 10 minutes. Naturally release for 5 minutes, then manually release.
- Stir lemon juice into greens.
Put it all together
- Fill hollows of squash with rice topped with chorizo-kale. Sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Want to include more greens in your life?
Check out my recipe for Green Gumbo Z’Herbes!