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A plate of roasted Kabocha squash atop lemony yogurt sauce and sizzling garlic, capers, and Calabrian chili paste.

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Garlic, Caper, and Chili Oil


In this recipe I use Calabrian chili paste, but please don’t feel you have to rush out to get it to make this … but maybe order it for future use? Or holiday gift giving? I love the stuff.

As noted in the ingredient list, use 1/2 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes, depending on your heat tolerance, in its place. 


  • 1 kabocha squash, roughly 2.5 – 3 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, see notes above
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. Heat the oven to 400ºF convection. Halve the kabocha squash — be careful! It’s not easy. If you own a microwave, I’ve heard microwaving the squash for 2 to 4 minutes will soften it, and therefore make it easier to cut into. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  2. Arrange the squash slices on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season liberally with salt. Spread the squash into an even layer. Transfer pan to the oven. Roast for 3o minutes or so, checking after 20. I find it generally takes roughly 30 minutes to get some good caramelization on the underside of the squash slices. Once you see the undersides of the squash looking caramelized, transfer the pan to the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, checking often, until the top surface of the squash slices begin to lightly caramelize. Remove pan from the oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, place the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons capers, 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste or crushed red pepper flakes, and thinly sliced garlic cloves into a small skillet. Set it over low heat. 
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the cup of Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Taste. Add more salt to taste. Smear this yogurt mixture over a platter. Tumble the roasted squash slices over the yogurt smear, and arrange them to fit.
  5. Once the platter is arranged with the yogurt and squash, you can crank up the heat under the skillet stovetop. Cook until the garlic just begins to color and the capers begin popping — it’s OK if the garlic gets crisp, but you don’t want it to get too dark or it will taste bitter. Pour the sizzling oil over the squash. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: roasted, squash, kabocha, Calabrian, chilies, capers,