Kabocha with Curried Cauliflower + Quinoa

Brent Hofacker/Adobe Stock

Both omnivores and carnivores will find this recipe from chef Karen Akunowicz, the James Beard award-winning chef behind the deliciousness at both Fox & the Knife and Bar Volpe, sumptuous and satisfying. Akunowicz gives kabocha squash (it’s like pumpkin but a little sweeter) a dressing in fragrant five spice powder and stuffs it with quinoa before topping it with toasted sweet and salty cashews. The result is a filling vegetarian (vegan, even!) recipe.


Servings: 4


  • 1 kabocha squash
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 Tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Olive Oil
For the garnish
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/8 cup olive oil


For the cashews
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Toss the cashews in the olive oil, cinnamon, sugar and salt.
  3. Pour cashews onto a sheet tray and roast in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.
  4. When the cashews have cooled, chop or pulse them in a food processor. Set aside.
For the squash
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cut the squash in half through the stem end and remove the seeds.
  3. Cut each half into wedges about 11/2 to 2 inches thick.
  4. Place the squash moons onto a sheet tray and brush with olive oil and five spice powder.
  5. Roast the squash for about half an hour.
  6. While the squash is roasting, prep the cauliflower. Remove the outer leaves from the whole head so that the stem is uncovered. Using a knife, remove the stem from the head of cauliflower. Discard the stem and the leaves. Begin breaking down the cauliflower into small florets using a knife. Reserve the florets.
  7. In a sauté pan over medium heat, sweat the onions in a little of the olive oil. When the onions are translucent, add the curry powder. Stir. Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook until soft. When the cauliflower is soft, transfer all into a large mixing bowl and add the quinoa, drained chickpeas and chopped cilantro.
To Assemble
  1. Fill the hollow of the roasted squash wedges with the cauliflower mixture and top with the cinnamon cashews

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