Sweet golden Kabocha Salad with sliced cucumber, crispy bacon and tossed with creamy Japanese mayo. This beautiful salad could be your new classic on the holiday table.
One of my favorite fall ingredients is kabocha (sometimes called 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.
Watch How To Make Kabocha Salad
Sweet golden kabocha salad with sliced cucumber, crispy bacon, combined with Japanese mayo.
Kabocha Salad – The Japanese’s Fall Time Favorite
Have you tried kabocha before? Kabocha has a dull-finished, deep green skin with an intense yellow-orange flesh. It has a sweet taste, even sweeter than butternut squash, while the texture and flavor is a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato.
Japanese love eating kabocha for its many health benefits. 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 vibrant eyes, skin and hair. It’s really good stuff! Whenever kabocha is in season, I will rush to the farmers market to pick up one or two to make some of my favorite fall recipes.
A typical kabocha salad includes kabocha, sliced cucumbers, and raisins and that’s how my mom used to make. Sometimes kabocha salad also includes diced onion. 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. The crispy bits of bacon definitely adds another dimension to the typical kabocha salad. You can definitely leave it out for the vegetarian version.
To prepare this salad, the squash is boiled until soft; it is then mashed (some chunks are good) before combining with cucumber slices, bacon (if added) and seasoned with Japanese mayo, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Very simple, yet utterly flavorful.
The slightly creamy and sweet flavor of this Kabocha Salad makes it equally fitting to serve as a side dish for your holiday dinner.
Just a word of caution: Kabocha has really hard skin. It requires a razor-sharp knife and a strong force to cut it open. So just be extra careful when you cut the squash.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Scoop the kabocha seeds with a spoon and discard them and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices.
- Remove the kabocha skin and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
- Put the kabocha in a saucepan and cover with water. Boil the kabocha until soft.
- Drain water and mash half of the kabocha. It’s better to leave some big chunks unmashed for texture.
- 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.
- Partially peel the cucumber lengthwise so that it will look like a stripe pattern and then thinly slice it.
- Put the cucumber slices in a bowl and sprinkle salt. Massage and cucumber and let it stand for 5 minutes. Then squeeze water out.
- Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add mayonnaise and freshly ground black pepper. Mix all together. Serve it cool or at room temperature.
- You can keep the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days or in the freezer for 2-3 weeks.