Roasted Kabocha Squash, Black Rice, and Sesame Dressing

Not only does this stunning roasted kabocha squash, black rice, and sesame dressing combination impress visually, the remarkable combination of flavors will have you savoring every last bite.

A white bowl filled with roasted kabocha squash, black rice, and sesame dressing drizzled over and in a glass on the side.

Kabocha squash may be my favorite variety of winter squash. It has a deep green, knobby—but beautiful—exterior, and a rich flavorful flesh that’s sweeter than most butternut squash. It’s great in soups and stews, but I find that its flavor really comes out when it’s roasted in the oven, just to the point where its edges get caramelized and its interior is tender and sweet. I love this dish for so many reasons—for its flavor and textures, but also its wonderfully vibrant colors that are such a difference from the oranges, browns, and reds for which this season is known.–Lindsey S. Love

How do I peel a kabocha squash?

First off, kabocha squash is perfectly fine to leave unpeeled as the skin is tender when cooked. But if you want it a little more naked, you have 2 options. Slice into quarters, scoop out the goop, and then remove the skin. Or you can pop it into the microwave for 3 minutes (poke some holes in it first) and you’ll find the skin slips right off.

Roasted Kabocha Squash, Black Rice, and Sesame Dressing

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4
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  • For the dressing
  • For the squash
  • For the rice


Make the dressing

Have your blender ready. In a small saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup water and the flour until incorporated and no lumps remain. Set over medium low heat and cook, continuing to whisk constantly, until the mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat immediately and pour into the blender. Add the tahini, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, syrup, fine salt and pepper to taste, and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Roast the squash

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On the baking sheet, toss the squash and onion with the olive oil, season with a good pinch of coarse salt and a few cracks of pepper. Roast until tender and the edges are lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes.

Cook the rice

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 1 3/4 cups of water to a boil, add the rice and a pinch of coarse salt. Let the water come back to a boil, cover, and turn the heat to low. Cook until the water has evaporated and the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove the dressing from the refrigerator and whisk; if dressing is too thick, add water 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Place the rice in a large serving bowl. Top with the roasted squash, onion, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Drizzle with 3 to 4 tablespoons of dressing and combine as desired.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This was a wonderful dish, seriously company-worthy. It looked beautiful laid out on an oval platter, with the pile of squash and onions on top, drizzled with the delicious creamy dressing and fresh herbs. It tasted as good as it looked.

To peel or not to peel the squash? We all know squash is no fun to peel and I didn’t want to peel it if not necessary. Since I wasn’t familiar with kabocha squash I had to google “how to prepare…” and found a great little video showing how to cut it into squares, and specifically stating that there is no need to peel the squash as the skin is very tender. Indeed, I hardly noticed that the peel was on the squash as I ate it.

The roasting time for the squash and onions was right on the mark, with both being done at the same time. The rice however was still quite watery at the 30 minute mark, but almost done, so I drained it and put it back in the pan to steam for 10 more minutes, perfect. Maybe only use 1 ½ cups of water for rice the next time.

I served this with a lovely filet of salmon. The dressing was perfect drizzled over the salmon as well, and the colors were spectacular together. I did thin the dressing down just a bit with a bit more vinegar and soy sauce instead of water.

This is a beautiful, delicious, and nutritious side dish or even perfect as a vegetarian/vegan entree. The recipe was written very well, as the times given for cooking the rice, squash and onions, were all on the mark. The only exception was the timing for "hands on". By the time you peel the squash and cube it (that can take 20 minutes alone), plus measure all of the ingredients, I'd say it takes about 40 minutes of hands on time.

I used kabocha squash, as it is one of my favorite winter squashes. The author says it's sweeter than most butternut squash. I find just the's more earthy tasting to me. If you want sweeter, definitely go with butternut squash, plus it is so much easier to peel and cube.

A tip on peeling super tough kabocha squash: use an extra sharp chef's knife, slice off the stem to make a flat surface, then peel the squash as you would peel an orange if you wanted to supreme it, i.e., segment it, (top to bottom, to remove the skin, and all the way around).

The squash I had was 3 lbs, whole, and using half of it seemed to be just the right ratio to rice. The forbidden rice I bought (Lotus), suggested cooking 1 cup of rice to 1-3/4 cups of water, as opposed to the 2 cups of water in the recipe; which worked perfectly.

Now the is oh so good. The chickpea flour "slurry" with water thickened in exactly 4 minutes. The combination of ingredients: black rice, kabocha squash, roasted red onion and the chickpea sesame sauce makes this a wow dish. I did have to add just a bit of water to thin the sauce before drizzling it on. I am sure I will make this dish over and over again.


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