Kabocha Salad かぼちゃサラダ

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Kabocha Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

One of my favorite fall ingredients is kabocha squash or Japanese pumpkin.  I have many kabocha recipes that I want to share with you, but let’s start with this delicious and easy Kabocha Salad.

Have you tried kabocha before?  Kabocha has a dull-finished, deep green skin and an intense yellow-orange color on the inside.  It has a sweet flavor, even sweeter than butternut squash and it’s similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined.

Kabocha Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Typical kabocha salad includes kabocha, sliced cucumbers, and raisins and that’s how my mom used to make.  Sometimes kabocha salad includes onion, too.

Since my husband is not a huge fan of raisins, I replaced raisins with bacon instead.  I love the salty flavor of the bacon in the naturally sweet kabocha, and crispy bacon definitely adds another dimension to the typical kabocha salad with its distinct texture and flavor.

There’s are really good benefits from eating kabocha.  It’s high in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B2, and more.  Beta-carotene can be converted to vitamin A in the body and vitamin A is important for healthy white blood cells, good immunity and for vibrant eyes, skin and hair.  It’s a good stuff! :)

Kabocha Salad | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

By the way, I gotta tell you one thing.  Kabocha is hard, I mean, it’s really really hard to cut.  It requires a sharp knife and strong force to cut up.  So be careful when you cut it, okay?

Now here’s the video for How To Make Kabocha Salad.  And please follow my YouTube channel if you haven’t.  I promise we’ll work harder to improve our videos. :)

Thank you so much for reading!

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Kabocha Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3-4
  • About 1 lb (454 g) Kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin)
  • 1 Japanese cucumber or ½ of an English cucumber
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 3 Tbsp. Japanese mayonnaise
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  1. Scoop the kabocha seeds with spoon and discard them and cut into 1 inch slices.
  2. Remove the kabocha skin and cut into 1 inch cubes.
  3. Put the kabocha in saucepan and cover with water. Boil the kabocha until soft.
  4. Drain water and mash half of the kabocha. It’s better to leave some big chunks unmashed for texture.
  5. In a frying pan, cook bacon slices over medium high heat until crispy. Drain excess oil on the paper towel and then cut into small pieces.
  6. Partially peel the cucumber lengthwise so that it will look like a stripe pattern and then thinly slice it.
  7. Put the cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle salt. Massage and cucumber and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then squeeze water out.
  8. Combine all the ingredinets together in a bowl. Add mayonnaise and freshly ground black pepper. Mix all together. Serve it cool or at room temperature.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  1. Nami, I have never made a recipe with Kabocha squash before – let alone made a salad with it. But I have seen many delicious looking recipes with it and I plan to look for it at the fruitmonger this week, I am not sure that we can find it easily around here but I will try as this recipe looks very tempting and I am eager to try it out and see how it tastes like. The color is wonderful and very appetizing.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe, dear friend!
    Hope you had a great Halloween with the kids!
    Take good care of yourself!

  2. Hi Nami
    This salad sounds fabulous to me…..guess I never use pumpkin in my salad before. And I can see that having some slice bacon absolutely makes this really yummy. Got to make this simple salad one day.

  3. I also love kabocha, it’s my favourite, and I’m a pumpkin fanatic. Husband also hates raisins, so this looks like a winner for us, too! Love your videos, Nami, I think the music choice is brilliant, too.

  4. Nami! You are SO AMAZING! I love the video! Haven’t been blog hopping for a while and just noticed all the changes you’ve made to your blog! Great job on the videography! Absolutely loving it! Thumbs up! :) Can’t wait to catch up on the rest of your posts!

  5. So interesting, Nami. Never had kabocha in my life, but it resembles the Italian zucca mantovana (aka from Mantua), the one we use for pumpkin tortelli (that are typical of Mantua).
    Never had a squash salad, but it seems delicious!

    PS. I love raisin

  6. Such a great salad made with so simple ingredients, I watched the youtube video Nami, I loved it! It just happens to have kabocha pumpkin here so I will try the recipe today!
    Hugs and Kisses

  7. Ryuko

    Aloha, Nami~
    Have had similar kabocha salads at breakfast buffets in Japan, without the bacon, and loved it! Thank you for this recipe to add to the many lovely ones you share. Wish kabocha wasn’t so difficult to cut. . .

    • Aloha Ryuko! Yeah usually kabocha salad doesn’t include bacon… most recipes uses raisins and I grew up eating that version. Bacon is just my thing. 😀 I know…I can’t help imagining my finger getting chopped off while I cut. 😀

  8. Hi Nami! I hope you had a wonderful Halloween with the kids. It was pretty wet here, but bad weather sure doesn’t bother kids on a quest for candy! :) I’ve never tried a kabocha. I’m sure I would love it!!! I pretty much love any kind of squash. I’ve not thought of making one into a salad though. I’ve had it as a topping on a salad, but not as the main ingredient. It’s a great idea. Unfortunately I can’t get the kids to touch squash which surprises me. You think they would like a sweeter taste. Still, I know I would really enjoy this. :) Happy fall to you.

  9. I have never heard of this type of pumpkin but we do have some brands here that are so hard to cut. And you have to be so careful when you cut them because they are so unstable. I love the look of this dish, Nami and it’s lovely that it’s something your mother used to cook. I think I’d like it with the bacon rather than the raisins too! xx

  10. What a fun way to serve a salad! I would never think to add pumpkin like this… but I bet it’s delicious. I’m also all for the added bacon.. yum!

  11. Yay. Kabocha Pumpkin. I got a little pushback from folks recently when I called a kabocha a pumpkin (not a squash). I tried to point out that all pumpkins were squash. But I sensed doubt. Thanks for affirming this. GREG

  12. Dr.B.M.Sharma

    First of all good morning. Me from India improving my quality of life through foods. I loved your this item. I will try to find out Kabocha. I got some idea what exactly is this item. Even if it is not I shall substitute it by some another parallel item. Your methodology, photographs everything presented is Excellent. All the Best to You and Love and Regards from Me.

    • Hi Dr. Sharma! I remember someone from India said it’s easy to find Kabocha…however, I’m not aware of which part of India, so it may not be the case everywhere. :) Thank you so much for your kind words!

  13. well now this just looks darn delicious! Interesting and colorful and delicious! There is so much flavor going on here and I had never thought to do squash like this before. I wonder if it would work with butternut or summer squash?

  14. I discovered Kabocha Squash about 4 years ago and it immediately became my favorite winter squash. Always looking for more recipes so thanks so much for this salad. It’s different from other recipes I’ve seen for Kabocha. I always have to have Bobby cut my squash when I prepare it because it REALLY is hard! Great recipe Nami!

  15. We also had the orange and also purple skin kabocha pumpkin too in Indonesia Nami,
    but the purplish skin us insanely pricey even the taste is almost the same….
    My sister used to feed my nieces with it, i love to made a steamed bun with kabocha too
    your salad is gonna be great, even without any mayonaise dressing, the pumpkin made a creamy taste!

  16. I thought I`ve never tried kabocha before, but after looking at the pictures, I`m pretty sure I have since my family has cooked with them before! Haha. >_< This salad looks so good, especially since it reminds me of potato salad.

  17. Orchidea

    Nice recipe! I love pumpkin and now that it is season I always have one in the fridge, usually butternut squash. I use it a lot in pasta sauces or soups but never seen this Japanese pumpkin and never tried this kind of salad. It is very interesting, I will check in some Asian market and see if they have this pumpkin.

  18. We had different kind of pumpkins in our home, I and I always come back to butternut squash, only because it is easy to peel-) Other ones has such a hard skin, I asked my husband a few time to peel it-(( But, I love all of them, they have a slightly different flavor and texture, but still it is a delicious vegetable.

  19. I bought myself a kabocha squash last week and it’s been sitting on my counter forever. I didn’t want to just make something predictable. Looks like I might be trying this recipe out. 😉

  20. donna mikasa

    I make Japanese Potato Salad all the time and can’t wait to try this Kabocha version! Can we substitute ham for bacon? Or omit it all together? I love the color of the salad!

    • Hi Donna! Yes, you can use ham or omit completely. Usually raisin is used. You can also replace with yogurt or use half yogurt and half mayo, too. Hope you enjoy this salad! :)

  21. So this is completely random and not related to your post.. I guess it is, because the kobocha remind us. But this weekend we watched an episode of My Grandmothers Ravioli on the Cooking Channel. There was this little old Japanese woman. She was SO funny and cute!! She made miso soup, a salted fish and a cucumber salad.. Think you would enjoy!! She was just adorable!!!!

    • I just saw it on Cooking Channel (I think they only show partially as I didn’t see her make all the dishes). She’s a funny cute lady. 😀 Japanese doesn’t have the sound for “see” or “C” and we have sound more like for Shi or She. I saw her having trouble with the word “seeds”. A lot of Japanese people can’t say “seat” or “sit” well, and you know how they end up sounding with “sh”!!! >_< Thanks so much for sharing.

  22. How brilliant. I always end up eating kabocha in the same old way, simmered as a side. Which is delicious of course, but it does mean I only buy kabocha once in a while even though I love it. I will definitely be trying this… time to buy more kewpie!

  23. レーズンよりベーコンは美味しいそう。この健康良いサラダ是非試したいです。かぼちゃの切り方、作り方の写真本当に助かります。どうもありがとう!

  24. The salad reminds me of a childhood Japanese potato salad I had 😉 I love all kinds of squashes and I have yet to try Kabocha – the color is very beautiful!

  25. I am not sure if I have had this type of squash before but I had something at a local restaurant in our area that was served with some type of squash puree. I cannot remember the name of the squash and the restaurant changes their menu often so I cannot look the type of squash up. But the color was similar to the color of this squash. It was delicious!

    This recipe looks fantastic, Nami. Pinning. Have a wonderful weekend!

  26. I always suggest kabocha as a substitute to West Indian pumpkin, which is used a lot in our cuisine. So I can totally make this, I have the ingredients in my fridge right now. I will use raisin, I dislike bacon.

  27. Hi Nami, thank you for this lovely recipe. It was truly delicious and the pumpkin we had was incredibly sweet. The combination of bacon and pumpkin works well I think, perhaps raisins may make it a little too sweet? We will definitely make it again :-)

  28. A pumpkin-fan like me would love, love, love, love to try this salad dish of yours! We Bangladeshis smash boiled pumpkin and mix garlic, ginger, onion and mustard oil. Tastes like heaven. But adding fresh cucumber slices sounds like a winner idea!
    – Thanks a billion for this fragrant recipe. (Love the golden hue in the bowl)

  29. Po

    Hi Nami,

    I tried this salad last week but the kabocha mash turned out to be rather ‘wet’ (before I add any other ingredients). Could it be possible I boil the kabocha too long?

    • Hi Po! I think I know why. You might have overcooked and didn’t drain enough, so the extra moisture carried into the bowl when you mash the kabocha. It’s only my best guess, but hope you will try to take out kabocha when a skewer goes through (if it’s not cooked enough it doesn’t even go in). Hope that helps. :)

  30. Alana

    Hello Nami – Greetings from Singapore!

    I just made the Kabocha Salad today and thoroughly enjoyed it as well as a couple of the other recipes on your blog. I just want to let you know that I have been tremendously blessed by your generous heart to share your yummy recipes. The steps and directions on your recipes are also very easy to follow for a beginner like me.

    Do keep up with the good work! You have made many people (me, my family and my friends) smiling with their satisfied stomachs.

    • Hello Alana! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this salad and other recipes from my site. Thank you for trying all the dishes! I’m also happy to hear my step-by-step pictures are helpful. It does take extra time and effort o take pictures while cooking, but feedback from readers like you are always so positive that I can’t stop. :) Thank you for your kind feedback! xo :)

  31. Ellie

    Dear Nami,
    Thank you for sharing such a simple recipe! I’m challenging myself to try a new vegetable a week and kabocha was on sale at the local store. 😉
    I’m going to try this out tomorrow for dinner! Thanks so much for sharing! <3

    • Hi Ellie! You’re welcome! I like your challenge! I hope you like kabocha. It’s naturally sweet and delicious! Hope you enjoy(ed) the kabocha salad!

  32. Oko

    I just tried this recipe and loved it. I didn’t’t have bacon, but I did have raisins. The raisins brought sweetness, but I will try this again with bacon. Thank you for sharing. The flavor and texture of the squash was perfect as a salad :)

  33. Yun

    Hi, the recipe sounds great, but I tried it and ended up with a lot of water without having added any mayonnaise yet.. wonder if it makes a difference that it is an Australian japanese pumpkin? :(

    • Hi Yun! From what you wrote, it seems like either kabocha was overcooked (was it mushy?) or didn’t drain well at Step 4. It shouldn’t be that watery, although I don’t know how’s Australian kabocha is… I wish I can pin point what went wrong, but it’s hard to do so without being there in your kitchen…