Fall Chicken and Kabocha Casserole

I know, I know … I just laughed at the Buzzfeed article that made fun of bloggers getting into pumpkin too early, and I said it doesn’t feel like Fall yet … but I gave into peer pressure!  I was seeing kabocha squash ALLOVERTHE. PLACE!!  My regular grocery store didn’t have it … which made it even more of a challenge!  Good thing for me (and for you, if you make the recipe I’m about to share with you!), I did end up finding it, and it was just as delicious as I thought it would be. kabocha

What is kabocha squash, you might ask?  Well, it’s also called Japanese pumpkin, and (to me) it seems most like a combination between a pumpkin and an acorn squash.  It’s naturally very buttery and sweet, but still very healthy!  It’s loaded with beta carotene, iron, fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium, and only has about 40 calories and 4g sugar per cup (despite the sweet, buttery taste!).  The only downfalls: it’s somewhat hard to find (I couldn’t get it in Albertson’s or my Farmer’s Market, but could get it at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Kroger), and it’s a bit hard to cut into and use.  But it’s definitely worth it … so let’s dive into a recipe!

Fall Chicken and Kabocha Casserole from The Lyons Share

Fall Chicken and Kabocha Casserole

This warm, comforting, cheesy casserole has a hearty, satisfying flavor and a hint of sweetness.  It’s a perfect introduction to Fall flavors, but won’t leave you feeling overly full or weighed down.  It’s very easy to prepare (once you prep the squash!), and you’ll never even think about the fact that you’re getting 2-3 servings of veggies as you savor it!  If you can’t find kabocha, I’m sure you could sub acorn or butternut squash, and if you prefer to avoid chicken, I bet a chicken substitute, some cannelini beans, or maybe even tofu, would work well!

Serves 3 (big portions!)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups kabocha flesh (I’ll tell you how to prepare it below)
  • 8 ounces (raw) boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 cups kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1.5 cup cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1.5 cup broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute (or 3 beaten eggs)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1t olive oil
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t rosemary, dried
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1t pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (sub gluten-free or regular breadcrumbs if preferred)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Lightly season chicken breasts (I used a bit of salt, pepper, and rosemary) and place in glass baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until barely done.  (Do not overcook, because you will bake them again in the casserole!)
  3. With a sharp knife, poke 3-5 holes through the skin of your kabocha (important so it doesn’t explode!), and microwave the whole thing for 3-5 minutes.  This will help soften it up just a little bit so you can cut through. quarter kabocha squash
  4. Chop your kabocha into quarters, and scrape out the seeds (just like a pumpkin).  Cut kabocha flesh (you can eat the skin, but I didn’t for this recipe) into bite-sized pieces, until you have about 2 cups.  Set aside.
  5. In a large skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes.  Add broccoli, cauliflower, kabocha, kale, salt, pepper, rosemary, and cinnamon, and saute 5 more minutes until just starting to get tender. chopped squash and veggies adding kale
  6. Meanwhile, when chicken breasts are done, chop into bite-sized pieces. cut chicken into bite sized pieces
  7. Remove skillet (with vegetables) from heat.  Add in chicken pieces, ricotta cheese, and egg substitute.  Stir well and pour into baking dish sprayed with cooking spray (I used a 1.5-quart dish). place into casserole dish
  8. Combine parmesan and panko breadcrumbs, and sprinkle mixture on top of casserole filling.  Don’t skip this part – it gives a little cheesy crisp that is to die for! add parmesan and panko
  9. Bake casserole for 20-25 minutes, or until edges turn golden brown. finished fall chicken and kabocha casserole
  10. Serve alone or with roasted veggies (because you can never have enough!).  dinner plate with fall chicken and kabocha casserole

If made according to this recipe for 3 servings, each serving will have 307 calories, 4g fat, 27g carbs, and 34g protein.

 

So tell me in the comments … have you ever tried (or even seen) kabocha squash?  Are you still enjoying summer flavors, or are you ready to transition to fall flavors?  Are the nutrition stats on my recipes helpful, or would you rather not see them?

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22 Comments

  1. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on September 13, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I have never tried Kobocha squash before – it looks like something I would give a try though! I haven’t jumped into fall fully yet, but it is coming! It’s in the 50’s here today which means the fall candles are going to be coming out!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted…My Recovery SecretMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

      I’m soo jealous of temps in the 50s – great running weather! And pumpkin candles are one of my favorite indulgences – they make the house smell amazing!

  2. Robert on September 13, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Yum!

    I think I’m going to try this one after my next grocery trip.

    Personally I like seeing the nutritional info because as you know I’m counting those calories.

    In fact I was super impressed with the 34g protein (some sort of super squash!?) then I remembered the chicken…face palm.
    Robert recently posted…Positive and NegativeMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

      I hope you do try it! Hehe – protein comes from the eggs and chicken, but if you do find a super squash with 34g protein per serving, I swear I will eat it every day for the rest of my life! 🙂

  3. Gary on September 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Meg: Your creation looks scrumptious, even if I am looking at it just after my less than satisfying, banana and granola bar lunch. I will have to persuade the lovely Mrs. Lyons to attempt to recreate this casserole. That assumes the Kabocha squash has found its way to The Sunshine State. – Gary

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Thanks, Gary! Kabocha is actually grown in Florida, so I hope you can find it! Get this – the US grows it in CA, FL, and CO (and maybe more places), but most of our Colorado crop is exported to Japan, and we import some from Japan! Stuff like that blows my mind!! Happy Friday 🙂

  4. Davida @ The Healthy Maven on September 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    This recipe is so awesome!!! Only problem is that I finally tried Kabocha and my stomach wanted nothing to do with it! My guess is that it was the skin that set it off. The roasted kabocha is sitting in my fridge right now asking to be used. I may whip this up for my family (if I have time to get cauliflower) for dinner tomorrow.

    Why is Kabocha so hard to find?!?! I actually like seeing the macros but some people can get caught up in them.

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks, Davida! Sorry it didn’t agree with your stomach – I have read that people with kobacha sensitivities (which sounds funny!) do better without the skin, so I hope that works (although I don’t want to be the one responsible for more discomfort for you!!). I bet you could sub zucchini or just use extra broccoli if you don’t have time to get cauliflower. Happy Friday!

  5. Caitlin on September 13, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    this casserole looks amazing! i am collecting casserole recipes for when i live on my own so this is perfect. thank you!
    Caitlin recently posted…Fashion-Show Friday!My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Ooh good! Glad it’ll come in handy! Happy weekend!

  6. Heather @ Better With Veggies on September 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    We’ve got fall weather here – thanks to all the crazy rain! And I really have been eating pumpkin out the wazoo since July, so it’s not really a fall thing. It’s a sweet veggies – a means to an end. 🙂
    Heather @ Better With Veggies recently posted…Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Protein Frosting {Recipe}My Profile

    • Megan Lyons on September 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      Be careful in that rain! My sister in CO Springs and my brother in Denver say it’s pretty crazy! And yes, sweet veggies … always a good thing 🙂

  7. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table on September 14, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I love kabocha! After my savory recipe this week, I realize I need to do that more. I got in a sweet rut… but its soooo good! You should link this up to Heather’s MMAZ part Monday. I mean, you MENTIONED a meatless options… 😉
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Strange But Good: Thai Peanut Kabocha & CauliflowerMy Profile

    • Megan Lyons on September 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Haha … to be honest, I bought the kabocha with the intent of linking up to MMAZ for my first time, and I created two recipes (the Chicken and Kabocha Casserole, and some awesome-in-my-head Kabocha Fig Cookies that I was going to use for MMAZ). Well, they were more awesome in my head than in real life, and I don’t want to link up a not-awesome recipe. Bummer! I MAY have time to take another shot this weekend; otherwise I’ll join in next time!

  8. Karen on September 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I have had your Kabocha Chicken casserole leftovers and REALLY REALLY like it. Also, I found the Kabocha squash today at Whole Foods. Thanks Megan – keep the recipes coming – I enjoy them.

    • Megan Lyons on September 14, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks, Mom! Glad you’re in town to take my leftovers when I go out of town :). Hope you find a fun creation to make with your kabocha, too!

  9. Arman @ thebigmansworld on September 15, 2013 at 5:28 am

    I’m so glad Davida linked me on twitter to this recipe- I love seeing kabocha used more savory over sweet! bookmarking this!

    • Megan Lyons on September 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Thanks, Arman! Looks like you have a great savory kabocha recipe on your blog, too! Looking forward to following along.

  10. Abby C on October 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    This turned out so flavorful and delicious. I left out the bread crumbs, and used a butternut squash and it tasted great still! Thanks for the delicious recipe!! I will be using this for many years to come!

    • Megan Lyons on October 26, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Great to know that it works with butternut! Thanks, Abby!

  11. Ellen on November 26, 2014 at 7:05 am

    I was introduced to kabocha by slicing it thin, coating lightly with olive oil and baking it. Tastes great cold too. Looking forward to trying your recipe.

    • Megan Lyons on December 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

      Yum, Ellen! I make kabocha like that all the time! Add a sprinkle of cinnamon before baking for even more delicious flavor!

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