Kabocha squash, which resembles a small green pumpkin, is known for its sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash. It provides the foundation for this earthy vegetable dip that also doubles as a sandwich spread. Kabochas are at their peak in fall, but they can usually be found year-round in grocery stores.
1 kabocha squash
½ cup water
½ red onion, large diced
6 mushrooms (any type will work, including white button and cremini)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 small clove fresh garlic minced)
1. Cut the squash in half horizontally and leave the seeds intact and skin on. Place the squash cut side up in a 9×11 baking dish along with the red onion, and mushrooms. Pour the half cup of water in the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a knife.
2. Scrape the seeds out of the cooked squash and discard them. With a spoon, scrape the squash out of the skin and place into the bowl of your food processor along with the onion, mushrooms, beans and garlic (add any remaining cooking water as needed to thin). Blend until smooth. Serve with raw vegetables as a dip, or use as a sandwich spread. You may use the squash skin as a bowl if using as a dip (as shown).
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes: 2 ¼ cups
Squash: If you can’t find a kobocha squash, try substituting with another type of winter squash like spaghetti, butternut, acorn or delicata. (For this recipe I used about 2 cups of scraped out squash.) Fully ripened kabocha will have reddish-yellow flesh and a hard skin with a dry, corky stem. It reaches the peak of ripeness about one and a half to three months after it is harvested
Beans: Any white bean may be used. I like cannellini, which are white kidney beans, but you might try navy or white northern as well.
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