It all started at a local farm on a late October sunny day. They had such a variety of winter squashes that I felt compelled to try them all! A few hours later, I was leaving the farm with quite an assortment of colours and shapes.

What I’m using in this recipe is a Kabocha squash (aka Japanese squash). I picked it because I liked the playful combination between the orange and dark green striations and found the same vibrant orange colour in the flesh. Compared to the butternut squash, this one only has a touch of sweetness, making it easy to incorporate into main courses rather than using it for a dessert.

Orange (or yellow) vegetables indicate a rich content of beta carotene. Kabocha squash makes no exception, and, moreover, it is a good source of vitamin C and minerals like potassium, manganese and magnesium.

Due to its high-fibre content, the squash itself can be great for gut health. When stuffed with brown rice, it brings the fibre content to the next level, making it even more valuable for digestion but also for blood sugar regulation and cardiovascular health.

Although the skin of this type of squash is tough and hard to cut when raw, it becomes very tender when baked. It is edible and tasty, so don’t waste the chance to get an extra dose of fibre and antioxidants from the skin!

Yields: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

1 Kabocha squash (approx. 3-4 lb)
1 1/2 cups brown Basmati rice
3 cups vegetable stock
2 onions, medium size, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp savory, dried (or 1/2 cup fresh leaves)
1 tsp coriander seeds, whole
1 tsp black peppercorns, whole
1 tbsp ginger, grated
Salt and pepper

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Directions:

  1. Cut approx. 2” of the top and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Use a baking dish with 1” of water, place the squash upside down and the top on the side. Bake for 25-30 min at 375 F until it gets softer. Test it with a fork – it should be just soft enough to allow scooping some of the flesh inside, but it should keep its shape.
  3. Sauté the onions in the olive oil until translucent, add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute; add the rice, stock, coriander and peppercorns. Cook over medium-high heat until done and set apart.
  4. When baked, but it still keeps its shape, take the squash out of the oven, turn it back up and scoop out about half of the flesh, being careful to avoid piercing it. Save it in a separate dish.
  5. Incorporate about one-third of the saved flash into the rice, add the savory and ginger. Adjust taste with salt and pepper, and mix well.
  6. Stuff the squash with the mixture, cover it with its top and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the squash is tender and gets a bit wrinkled.
  7. Take it out of the oven, slice it and serve hot. Bon appétit!

Alternatively, you can dig in straight and scoop on the sides to get some more squash flesh along with the stuffing.

It goes well as is or with your protein of choice. I paired it with baked portobello mushrooms and dill-garlic sauce. Yummy!

To my surprise, the Kabocha squash was meatier than I expected, so I have saved some of the baked flesh for future use. I love when I have some food prep done ahead!

Source of: fiber, vitamins A and C, minerals.

 Supports: healthy gut, weight management, heart and eye health.

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