Kabocha Squash Soup Bowls

Quiz: what vegetable is perfectly shaped like a soup bowl, deliciously sweet, and loaded with nutrients? Answer: a kabocha squash, and today it's getting a major makeover.

Kabocha squash are one of my favorite squashes to cook with because of their deeply-colored, creamy flesh and delicate flavor. They're much more subtle in taste than an acorn squash, sweeter than a butternut, and don't have the stringy texture that other squashes sometimes develop. Kabocha squash are especially great in applications that involve pureeing or stuffing because they're so silky smooth.

You can really make a kabocha shine by capitalizing on its unique shape. They're basically big, wide soup bowls, just begging to be roasted and filled. So next time a comfort food craving hits, instead of serving soup in a bread bowl, serve it in a kabocha squash bowl! The squash bowl has all the same visual appeal and fun factor as the bread bowl, but it's way more flavorful and a great nutritional swap.

These bowls are a unique way to highlight your favorite soup. And sssshhh, don't tell your spouse or house guests, but they're also a great way to stretch leftover soup farther. Here's how to do it:

Step #1: Make a soup plan
Decide on what kind of soup you want to fill your squash bowls with. Kabocha have some sweetness to them, so I recommend a soup with a more savory or spicy flavor profile. Also, because kabocha flesh is so smooth and creamy, a soup with some texture makes for good contrast. Black bean soup and chili both work great since the spicy/smokey flavors go beautifully with the squash. Hearty lentil stews or curries are also good options.

The squash will take a while to roast, so you can likely make your soup at the same time you're making the squash bowls. In any case, get your ducks in a row so that the two will be done at about the same time.

Step #2: Select and prepare your squash
Kabocha squash come in a wide range of sizes, so pick something reasonable for an individual portion. Cut the squash(es) in half (i.e. around its equator) to make wide, shallow "bowls". Very carefully, cut off the stem from the bottom of your bowl to create a flat surface if the bowl seems wobbly. (At the risk of stating the obvious, make sure not to cut all the way through into the cavity of the squash, otherwise your soup will leak out.)

Next, scrape out the seeds. Use a medium-sized metal spoon and try to do a neat job of it so that your bowl looks nice.

Step #3: Roast
Rub the inside of the bowls with a little bit of olive soil, salt, and pepper. Make sure the rims of the bowls are nicely oiled to get a tasty, browned and caramelized surface. Then, put the bowls cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Baking them cut-side down will capture the heat in the upside-down bowl and help the squash stay moist. Don't flip them over!

Roast the bowls at 420 until they're tender. This can take as little as 20 minutes for a small squash or as long as 50 minutes for a big one. Aim for fork tender all the way through the skin. Keep a close eye on them and check them regularly; if you cook them too much, the bowls will collapse and won't hold your soup. Depending on the shape of your squash, the top and bottom halves may need different cooking times since the stem end of the squash is usually thicker.

When your squash is done roasting, take the bowls out of the oven and let them cool for ten or fifteen minutes before attempting to flip them over. Then flip them gently and place them right side up on your serving dishes.

Step #4: Fill and savor
Now fill them up! Ladle in your soup creation and garnish as you see fit. Here, I've shown a black bean soup that has grilled sweet potato, fire-roasted bell peppers, and grilled corn. I love all those toasty flavors! I usually like to garnish with something fresh (cilantro) and crunchy (pepitas).

Comfort food, reinvented! These will make you feel good through and through.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Love the idea of reinventing classics using squash? Check out my Delicata Squash Sushi, which use squash instead of rice. They're delicious and so pretty.


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