Every new year starts with a buzz of produce excitement. I spend the cool fall months with cozy recipes that help to settle into a long winter. The new year is all about lighter recipes packed with flavor. I love winter squash because it plays in both spaces well and is easy to store throughout the months. This sesame kabocha squash is my march to spring. One quick word about the squash: when roasted for long enough, the skin can stay but if you’re concerned or don’t believe me, peel it before roasting.
Sesame Kabocha Squash with Tahini Sauce
A hearty winter squash bowl featuring sesame kabocha squash, spinach, rice, and an easy tahini sauce.
- 1 pound kabocha squash
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Sesame seeds for serving
- Red pepper flakes for serving
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons water
Heat oven to 400˚ F. Prep the squash by washing, drying, and cutting into ½” thick slices with the skin still on (or if you prefer, remove the skin). Toss the squash with the sesame oil and spread into a single layer on a sheet tray. Roast until the squash is tender and browning, 30 to 40 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the ingredients for the tahini sauce in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Assemble the bowls with the rice, spinach, roasted squash, a drizzle of the tahini sauce, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
Tips & Tricks: Roast the kabocha squash until the skin on the squash is edible. If the squash is older or you're not sure, cut the squash into wedges and remove the skin before roasting.
Nutritional: See the information.
Sesame Kabocha Squash
Often stores will have different selections of winter squash. Look for kabocha squash at the farmers’ market or local co-op. Of course, if you can’t find the squash- don’t fret! There are some readily available alternatives:
Sweet Potatoes/Squash: Use sliced sweet potatoes or butternut squash in place of the kabocha.
Sauce: Don’t have tahini on hand? You could also do an almond or peanut sauce by using almond butter or peanut butter.
Greens: Raw or sautéed greens make a great addition to this bowl. Try kale sautéed with a bit of olive oil and garlic.
Peak inside my refrigerator and you will always find a jar of tahini. Best known for use in hummus recipes, this sesame seed paste makes for a wonderful flavor addition to sauces, porridges, and stews. The subtle hint of roasted sesame balances well with brighter flavors or spicy (in the case of this kabocha squash dish).