Smashed Kabocha on Toast

I’m going to make this short and sweet. I sprang into action with a kabocha I had in the fridge after watching Mark Bittman’s latest video. I had other plans, but quickly changed course after I saw jammy caramelized onions being smashed into roasted kabocha and layered with fresh ricotta on toast. And wow. I ate it for lunch, had it as a little appetizer before dinner, then ate it again on my breakfast toast.

The only thing I changed was to use miso instead of salt, but I’m not sure it made a noticeable difference. Also, I used half a kabocha instead of a whole one because its weight. In any case, it’s the perfect appetizer (or lunch or breakfast!) for the holidays.

And speaking of the holidays, I’ve been working on a little project: a new Humble Bean recipe booklet! I’m excited about the recipes in this one and hope you’ll stay tuned.

Smashed Kabocha with Caramelized Onions on Toast
Adapted from The New York Times

(1) 2.5–3 lb kabocha, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces 1/4″ thick
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp chile flakes
2 tsp white miso
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 slices country bread, 1″ thick
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp mint, chopped

Heat oven to 450ºF. In a small bowl, mix a 1/4 cup oil, chile flakes, and miso with a fork. Place the kabocha in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil mixture until everything is well coated. Transfer the kabocha onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing the kabocha once half way through.

Meanwhile, heat another 1/4 cup oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring frequently for 15 mins, until the onions are soft and beginning to brown. Add the vinegar and syrup and reduce until the mixture is jammy, about 15 mins.

Take the kabocha out of the oven and pour the caramelized onions on top (my onions were really oily so I just scooped the onions out and used the remaining oil for the bread). Mash together with a fork. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Add remaining 1/4 cup oil to a pan (or use remaining oil from the onions) over medium-high heat. Add bread in a single layer and cook until golden on both side, about 5 mins each. Drain on paper towels. Spread a thick layer of ricotta on the toast and top with the smashed kabocha. Garnish with mint.

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  1. Posted January 10, 2013 at 8:50 am | Permalink


    I just came across your blog from a Google search, and I can’t wait to try some of these recipes. I have a blog over at on which I cook a lot of Japanese-influenced food. I am 100% white but for some reason I really love Japanese aesthetic and cooking. I just got a nakiri and will be using it to make this very recipe : )


    – Hudson

  2. Posted February 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Yay, I love Kabucha season! Yuki

  3. Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    This recipe is a classic, love your modification for miso instead of salt. I feel it makes all the difference. Find myself coming back to this every time. Once, I roasted kabocha with garlic and sage and was disappointed so I’ve stuck to your miso-red pepper combo since! Thank you.

  4. Posted February 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Sydney, thank you so much. I’m glad you like this dish as much as I do… although garlic and sage sounds yummy, too. Well, why mess with a good thing, right?!

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