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Kabocha Chili and Curry: Two "One Pot" Ways to Use

Kabocha Chili and Curry: Two “One Pot” Recipes

Dear Kabocha.

If you’ve been following me for even a short time, it’s probably no secret that I have a dear, dear love.

A melt in your mouth, sweet, starchy, orange love.

Although I’m a fan of all members of the pumpkin, gourd or tater family (#gimmeallthecarbs), there is one that undoubtably shines far above the rest.

Kabocha Chili and Curry

Kabocha ya’ll.

Japanese Pumpkin. Sweet Mama. Whatever you like to call it.  They all lead you to the same thing.

Kabocha Chili and Curry

Kabocha has a sweeter taste than most other squash. Its texture is ridiculously smooth, moist, and almost fluffy… like a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined.

Its sturdy consistency makes it perfect for putting into soups or stews.  Of course, I most often eat mine simply on its own… roasted or steamed… a little salt… quite possibly drizzled with peanut butter.  But adding it to your cooking works like magic to thicken up the broth and make the entire dish extra, extra creamy.

Possibly my favorite part is that the skin is completely edible. None of this standing and peeling or scraping out like you would with the butternut or spaghetti variety.  Simply cut, chop and cook. A busy girl’s guide to edible magic.

Kabocha Chili and Curry

I have not just one, but TWO recipes to share with you today! Both making use of this wonderful vegetable. Wait no…. it not a vegetable. Fruit? No. Berry!?  …of the family “Cucurbitaceae!” Phew.

Both recipes are super easy, super fast, SUPER comforting and everything you want during these colder, busy months.

Kabocha Chili and Curry

My usual lentil chili was taken up a notch when I decided to add kabocha, thanks to this girls’ inspiration.  She’s the real master here.

I know there are a gazillion chili recipes out there to choose from, and the thing that is so great about the dish is that you really can alter it however much you’d like. Substitute veggies, add or eliminate spices –  its one pot full of endless possibilities.  That being said, I’ve done my fair share of chili experimenting and I like to think my addition of  pineapple or V8 juice, sweet chili sauce, cinnamon and now the kabocha are what make THIS chili super unique.

I hope you give it a try to keep yourself warm this winter!

Kabocha Chili and Curry

Kabocha Lentil Chili

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup each sweet onion, bell pepper (colour of choice) and carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups kabocha squash, cubed
  • 1 can (19 oz) diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 can cooked green lentils, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 cup tomato sauce/passata of choice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple or V8 juice
  • 1/4 cup sweet thai chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt (if not using V8 juice)


  • Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garllic, onions, pepper and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. Cook and stir for 1 more minute.
  • Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until kabocha is fork tender.
  • Adjust salt and spices to taste

The next recipe I have for you is a curry.  This one is even made in the slow cooker so is even higher on the easy scale. Heck, while everything is doing its own thing in the slow cooker, you’d have more than enough time to cook up the chili at the same time!! Multitasking batman!

Kabocha Chili and Curry

I’ve made many curries that use tomatoes as a base, but I really wanted to have one with the traditional yellow hugh like I had when traveling in Asia. And I wanted it to be creaammmmmy. None of this watery stuff. Something to give a bed of rice a run for its money, ya know?

Kabocha Chili and Curry

Between the cooking of the kabocha and the soaking of the raisins, this curry did just that. Thick, yet light. Full of spice, yet sweet.  I’m not a spicy person, so instead of going for hot-spicy I went the sweeter route. But if you have more daring tastebuds, I’d support adding a little cayenne or red pepper flakes.
Kabocha Chili and Curry

If you cannot find kabocha near you (oh the travesties!) you can definitely substitute another pumpkin, sweet potato or butternut squash in either of these recipes. But just until you do find a kabocha. And then make them both again….

Kabocha Chili and Curry

Kabocha Chickpea Slow Cooker Curry

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chick peas, rinsed and drained well
  • 2 cups kabocha squash, cubed (peel on)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) light coconut milk
  • ½ tsp salt (or more, to taste, depending on if you use reduced sodium stock)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast


  • Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and sauté until sizzling.
  • Add chopped peppers, onion and all spices. Stir well until everything is well covered and let simmer just until slightly tender, 2-3 minutes. Doing this pre-step helps enhance the flavours of the spices.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, including the pepper/onion/spice mixture, into your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Kabocha Squash! Two One Pot Ways to Use my Favorite Squash. #kabocha #slowcooker #comfortfood #chili #easyrecipes Click To Tweet

Happy simmering!


  1. Miss Polkadot | 17th Dec 15

    Where do I sign up for instant delivery? I want both of these for lunch. Honestly, you might have taken inspiration from my recipe but you’ve really taken things up a notch. Adding pineapple juice? That’s a great idea. I’ve made chili with pineapple chunks before and that savoury-sweet flavour has something going for it. Same with your curry that I really need to try – two kind of peas and coconut milk? Yes, please. Despite the fact kabocha hasn’t been seen here for months already and likely won’t be again until next August. Travesty indeed.

    • mylittletablespoon | 18th Dec 15

      Noooo! My heart breaks! If I could airmail you a bowl, I totally would.

  2. cookiesnchem | 17th Dec 15

    Ugh, these look delicious but have too many ingredients for Lazy Cindy :’) Can you just mail them to me?
    I’m a huge fan of kabocha and my mom makes the most delicious soup with it. I love how it melts in your mouth and the skin becomes so tender! I can’t wait to try your recipes sometime when I garner the patience and ingredients! 🙂

    • mylittletablespoon | 17th Dec 15

      Haha – I totally get it. I usually just bookmark anything with a recipe list that seems longer than a few lines. But in my defense, half the ingredients are simply spices/garlic/oil and the actual bulk ingredients are very few! And all so cheap! I tell ya its easy… maybe you and your mom can have a bulk cooking date 🙂

      • cookiesnchem | 17th Dec 15

        True, true! The problem is only that I don’t have a lot of spices (I’ve never made chili before!). Love that it’s SO budget-friendly. I’m definitely going to pick up some of these ingredients because I’ve seen them floating around the net in different recipes that are making me drool! 😛 So I can make tons of this and freeze it up. Looks like it makes FABULOUS lunch leftovers too!

  3. Kate Bennett | 17th Dec 15

    I have never seen kabocha in a grocery store around here! My computer doesn’t even recognize it as a word.
    The chili looks really good though! Kabocha reminds me of acorn squash – are they similar?

    • mylittletablespoon | 18th Dec 15

      Weird! I would think you would have more of it available to you than me. If I ever visit I’ll throw a few in my suitcase for you. It is somewhat similar to acorn, but much larger and with an acorn you do not eat the skin, and I’d say acorn is softer and less firm when cooked. On the outside a kabocha looks almost identical to a buttercup (without the big ugly knob on the bottom). In terms of actual insides, I’d say a buttercup or an acorn would be closest. Or just real pumpkin. Here’s hoping you get your hands on one at some point!

  4. katalysthealth | 17th Dec 15

    Seeing as how this is the FIRST year ever that Ive even seen kabocha in the stores, you’d think I would have used it more. The sad truth is that I had no idea what to do with it! I did add one to a butternut squash soup and it was AMAZING, but then I didn’t know what else to do! I love this chili recipe. Guess Ill have to hunt another one down and get to work!! 😉

    • mylittletablespoon | 18th Dec 15

      Yay I’m glad at least someone else has seen them around!! They are tricky guy to hunt down. If not in a soup or chili, I just eat mine plain. I go through a whole one in like a week. No shame. Hope you try it out!

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities | 18th Dec 15

    Kabocha Squash anyway… It a GOOD WAY 😉

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    Oh my goodness. Praise!! Another amazing post and recipe from you. I think you can see where my username comes from… kabocha, the best food! (more like food group, haha)

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