Avocado and Kabocha Squash Sandwich
5 from 2 votes

This avocado and kabocha squash sandwich is wonderfully hearty and wholesome. Tender kale, creamy avocado, and buttery roasted pieces of kabocha squash are stacked between slices of bread for a filling, flavorful, and colorful lunch.

An angled image of a vegan sandwich made with layers of roasted kabocha squash, avocado, and kale. The sandwich is served on a small, round white plate.

If you love sandwiches, yet you find yourself falling into a rut with all-too-familiar filling combinations, then this avocado and kabocha squash sandwich is for you.

Sandwiches are one of my favorite lunch options by far. They’re satisfying, they offer endless possibilities for variation, and they’re easy to prepare, especially if the filling ingredients have been meal prepped ahead of time.

The Vegan Week

Embrace the joy of eating homemade food every day with the hearty and wholesome recipes in The Vegan Week.

Whether you have three, two, or even just one hour of time to spare, The Vegan Week will show you how to batch cook varied, colorful, and comforting dishes over the weekend.

When it comes to sandwiches, I have a taste for the classics. A vegan BLT sandwich (with or without homemade mayo), a PB & J, a gooey grilled cheese (with some easy tomato soup): I love them all.

Even so, I have a lot of fun coming up with more unusual sandwich filling ideas. Some of my favorite vegan sandwiches are a little offbeat.

They include a sweet, salty, and crunchy miso tahini vegetable sandwich, a smoky tofu and pickled vegetable sandwich, and my beloved green goddess club.

These sandwiches feature vegetables prominently in some way. And so does the avocado and kabocha squash sandwich that I’m sharing with you today.

In fact, vegetables are the star of the show.

All about kabocha squash

It’s always worth calling attention to kabocha squash, since it’s not the most common squash variety in the US, where I live.

Kabocha squash is also sometimes labeled as Japanese pumpkin. It’s a type of winter squash with a creamy and silky, yet firm orange flesh and a firm rind. The rind is usually deep green, but it can be mottled green and orange.

Kabocha is unequivocally my favorite type of winter squash. It has a richness that’s truly unique; I think it’s more reminiscent of sweet potato than butternut or acorn squash.

Kabocha can be baked, steamed, simmered, or roasted for cooking. You can stuff it, add it to salads or noodle dishes, or purée it into soup.

I’ve always been able to find kabocha squash in Asian markets and grocers in New York City. In recent years, however, it’s gotten easier and easier to find it at farmers markets, health foods stores, and major grocers.

Once you locate kabocha squash, there’s one downside: preparation.

Kabocha, like any pumpkin, can be work. You’ll need a good, heavy duty chef’s knife or cleaver to cut it open, especially if it’s large. Then you’ll need to seed it, and if you’re cutting it into slices or cubes, there’s some additional effort required.

For this recipe, I actually choose to roast a whole half of seeded kabocha.

An overhead image of half of a cut winter squash, resting on a white surface, which has been roasted.
You can roast an entire half kabocha squash, cut side down, then slice it after it cools. This makes the squash easier to slice than it would be raw.

Roasting before slicing makes slicing a breeze. The kabocha will be buttery soft to cut through once it comes out of the oven.

As for the skin, it’s totally fine to eat. It looks very firm, but you’ll be surprised at how tender and digestible it is—and I say this as someone who skins nearly everything (apples, cucumbers, butternut squash, etc.).

Kabocha squash sandwich ingredients

The first ingredient for this hearty sandwich is obvious: it’s the baked and sliced kabocha.

But what about the other components?

Avocado

I think most sandwiches call out for a creamy component of some sort.

Here are some of the spreads, dips, and dressings that I like to use in my sandwiches at home:

But if you don’t feel like getting fancy with a separate dip recipe, then it’s fine to default to something that’s naturally nutritious, rich, creamy: avocado.

An image of a small white bowl, which is filled with bright green mashed avocado.
Mashed avocado is a natural source of creaminess and richness in vegan sandwiches or wraps.

You don’t have to do anything special or crazy to the avocado here. Simply mash it with a fork and season it to taste with salt and pepper.

The avocado will lend its distinctive creamy texture to the sandwich, along with its healthful fats, its fiber, and its vitamins C and E.

Kale

All praise dark leafy greens!

We know that dark leafies are great sources of vegan iron, calcium, phytonutrients, and a small amount of plant protein.

Yet most of us associate these powerful vegetables with only a few types of dishes: salads, soups, and sides.

There’s no reason whatsoever why steamed kale can’t belong in a sandwich, just as readily as it might belong in a grain bowl or soup.

Crisp, raw greens—namely lettuce—are the norm for adding to sandwiches, but kale provides a welcome change. In this sandwich, it’s tender and soft. It’s flavor is more earthy than that of lettuce.

An overhead image of a small white bowl, filled with steamed kale.
Be sure to chop the kale prior to steaming, so that it’s appropriately sized for sandwich bites.

Before you steam the kale for the sandwiches, I recommend chopping or tearing it into bite-sized pieces. This way, you won’t drag a giant piece of kale out of the sandwich when you bite into it, or struggle to chew.

If you really struggle with kale and would like to dress it up a bit, you can toss the steamed kale with a couple teaspoons of my simple champagne vinaigrette before adding it to the sandwich.

Mustard

Wait…mustard?!

Yes, weirdly, mustard. Or maybe it’s not weird at all, since mustard is a typical sandwich condiment, but this is not a sandwich with typical ingredients.

Still, I think that the mustard really works, giving the sandwich a little acidity and the tiniest hint of spiciness.

I like to use a vegan version of honey mustard, adding a touch of agave or maple syrup to Dijon mustard before spreading on the sandwich bread. You can omit the syrup, if you aren’t craving that sweet and savory vibe.

Bread

You can use any sandwich bread you like for the avocado kabocha squash sandwich. I really like to use my easy vegan multigrain bread or maple oatmeal bread, but any whole grain, sprouted grain, or multigrain bread would be nice.

Likewise, sourdough, whole grain sourdough, or even a mild rye bread are nice here.

If you avoid gluten or have celiac disease, you can substitute any vegan, gluten-free bread that you’re a fan of.

How to make a kabocha squash sandwich

There’s really not much to making this sandwich; baking the kabocha is by far the most involved step.

You’ll do that first, in a 400°F / 200°C oven for about 45 minutes. The baking time will vary based on how big your squash is.

While the squash bakes, you can steam your kale and mix your mustard and agave.

Right before it’s time to assemble, you’ll mash the avocado and season it to taste.

After that, all you need do is to stack the ingredients. Begin by layering the mashed avocado onto one slice of bread (toasted or untoasted), then topping it with a quarter of the squash slices and kale.

Spread some of the agave Dijon mustard onto the other slice of bread before topping your sandwich, slicing in half, and enjoying.

You can repeat this process with as many sandwiches as you need to make at that moment, and you can store some of the squash and kale for a sandwich later. The recipe makes four servings.

More of my favorite vegan sandwiches

Love sandwiches? Especially colorful, creative sandwiches?

Here are more of my favorites (and some wraps, too):

An angled image of a vegan sandwich made with layers of roasted kabocha squash, avocado, and kale. The sandwich is served on a small, round white plate.
5 from 2 votes

Avocado and Kabocha Squash Sandwich

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • One half of a small kabocha squash, seeded (save the remaining squash for soup, macro bowls, or this soba salad)
  • 1 small bunch curly or Tuscan kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons agave or maple syrup
  • 1 large, ripe Hass avocado, pitted (or two small, ripe Hass avocados)
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices easy vegan multigrain bread (or another sandwich bread of choice)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the squash is completely tender and a knife can easily pierce through the skin. Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool until it's cool enough to handle. Slice the squash into 1/2-inch / 1.3cm thick slices.
  • While the squash roasts, bring a few inches of water to boil in a medium pot, then fit the pot with a steamer attachment. Steam the kale for 4-5 minutes, or until tender but still bright green. Set the kale aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and agave or maple syrup.
  • When the squash is cooked and sliced, scoop the avocado flesh out of the skin and transfer it to a small bowl. Use a fork to mash it lightly. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper to your liking.
  • Toast your bread, if desired. To assemble sandwiches, spread 2 teaspoons of the agave mustard mixture on one slice of bread. Top with the other slice of bread with a quarter of the mashed avocado, using a fork to spread the avocado around. Top the avocado with a quarter each of the squash slices and the steamed kale. Close the sandwich with the slice of bread with mustard on it. Repeat this process for the remaining sandwiches.
  • Slice the sandwiches in half and enjoy.
An angled image of a vegan sandwich made with layers of roasted kabocha squash, avocado, and kale. The sandwich is served on a small, round white plate.

You could make this sandwich even more varied and fun by adding some of my pickled red onions or carrot ribbons.

You could also add a few tablespoons of a favorite dressing or sauce.

In the end, though, I think you’ll find that this simple, earthy sandwich packs more flavor than you might guess. I hope you’ll love it, in all of its wholesomeness.

xo

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Categories: Main Dishes
Method: Oven
Ingredients: Kale
Dietary Preferences: Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Quick & Easy

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Recipe Rating




    57 Comments
  1. I. LOVE. PEACEFOOD CAFE. Seriously, one of my favorite places. And I’m obsessed with their kabocha. They call me “the pumpkin girl” whenever I’m there because I order multiple servings of it every time I’m there. I’m definitely trying this recipe! THanks! 🙂

  2. This sandwich HAS changed my life and I haven’t even made it yet!! Going to my farmer’s market after work today and can’t wait to re-create for dinner tonight. Thank you for this lovely recipe!

  3. It looks and sounds magnificent!
    One thing though, kabocha, and all squashes, for that matter, are not roots!

  4. Unrelated to avocados and kabocha, because I’ve already tried the eclectic combo many a times before, and have only to congratulate you for being famous enough to widely disseminate the good news, I wanted to tell you about another awesome combination, that I thought you might appreciate because you strike me as adventurous. 🙂

    A cinnamon, apple and rhubarb chia pudding sweetened with raw honey, and topped with sliced avocado.

    You can also make rhubarb hummus. With a bit of nutritional yeast and agave, it tastes like a tangy pink cheesy tahini. Delish!

    🙂 aletheia

  5. I did escape to CT this weekend for some quality time with family, got dragged around behind the boat a bit, which is good fun. Nothing like a flimsy innertube to give you some lasting whiplash. But I’ve returned to NYC to work today, so I’m enjoying some quiet city time as well.

    Your combo sounds spectacular indeed – I believe you! In fact, I have a sweet potato and avocado at home, and you gave me an idea. 😉 ::dons mad scientist lab coat::

    Dinner’s gonna be gooooooood tonight!

  6. Gena, I almost fell off the couch looking at these pictures! I cannot wait to make this sandwich! YUM!
    I’m tweeting this right now!
    One question: What type of sprouted grain bread do you like to use?
    Thanks!

    • Thanks Maya! I like good old fashioned Ezekiel bread. Though Manna Bread and French Meadow bakery are also great.

  7. This looks like such a deliciously wonderful combination. Damn my brother for eating everything in our kitchen while I was away, including the bread and the avocadoes!! I’m bookmarking this immediately, thank you for sharing!

  8. that sandwich looks delicious!!

    squash isn’t really a root vegetable though 😉 but i guess it sure tastes like one!

  9. Hi Gena!

    This weekend I had a moving-back-into-my-apartment-party – there has been a total renovation in my bathroom, so I have lived with my parents for 3 months. But no more, I’m finally home! =D

    And home means I got access to my own kitchen! Made your Raw Green Goddess Dressing yesterday and it’s sooo awesome, I loveed it! And I’m definitely gonna try that sandwich, seems like a good first time with sweet potatoes. 🙂

    Hope you had a great weekend! 🙂

  10. OMg. Did you say kabocha? IN a sandwich? I’ve never tried kabocha with avocado, but I can’t wait to test out that combination! 😀

  11. Wow, that sandwich looks so good! 🙂 I love sweet potato and avocado, match made in heaven!

    Enjoy your 4th! We went to the shore yesterday, it’s nice to be home without the crowds today!

  12. An ex-boyfriend of mine told me how delicious Vegenaise and kabocha squash were together. I didn’t believe him until I tried it. A match made in heaven! I’m totally going to make this sandwich, slathered with Vegenaise 🙂

  13. See, I read the title in my google reader and was put off reading the post as I wasn’t sure if I was ready for such a life-altering event. But, I am now clearly ready and willing to give the sandwich a shot; bring it on! x

  14. It never occurred to me to use squash in a sandwich. My dear Mrs. Green’s natural market always has gorgeous kabocha on hand! Enjoy your weekend — one of my favorite things about (metro) NYC, too. We stay for the holiday and take vacation when everyone returns 🙂

  15. mmmm that sandwich looks divine Gena! I love love love the avo-sweet potato combination. Kudos to you for putting it together sandwich-style. In college I used to eat avocado and tomato sandwiches with just a little bit of sea salt and pepper on them. Absolutely delicious. Why haven’t I blogged about this? Simple foods are amazing. Happy 4th!

    XO

  16. What do you mean it isn’t the season for squash? I buy winter squash year round. I love it. If you’re into beans, they pair well with the root veggie and avocado combo also.

  17. I love kabocha and avocado! What a perfect marriage, seriously. That sandwich looks heavenly. I gotta try it some time. Btw, what type of sprouted grain bread do you recommend?

    • Diana,

      I like good old fashioned Ezekiel. I love Manna bread too, and I also enjoy French Meadow Bakery’s hemp bread a LOT. But Ezekiel is my all time standard 🙂

      G

  18. That does sound like a sandwich that would change my life! I love sweet potato and avocado together (black beans too…) but have yet to have it on a sprouted bread or a wrap…sounds delicious lady!

  19. I’ve only recently discovered my love of avocado…sweet potatoes and I have been friends for years but lately avo is my new love. I have been adding it to my salads every day and it is so good! I will definitely be trying that avo/sweet tater salad combo above…or I might try the sandwich if I could find a good gluten free bread.

  20. I don’t even have to try that sandwich to know that kabocha (which I discovered around April and could NOT stop eating until I had to because I went to Greece for school for 3 weeks…) and avocado – two of my favorite foods – would be fantastic! In fact, in my dorm I was spreading avocado on huge hunks of kabocha and eating it as a snack before bed, I don’t know why I never thought to make a sandwich out of it! Thanks for the idea, I can’t wait until kabocha are nice and in season again. 😀

  21. wow, avocado and kabocha are 2 of my favorite foods and yet i havent tried what looks to be a MARVELOUS combination! thanks for introducing this – im definitely making it SOON!

  22. Gena,
    Just looking at that sandwich changed my life. It’s been MONTHS since I’ve had any kabocha. Can you believe it?!? However, this sandwich has me wanting to get in the car and drive to my local Asian Mkt. this very second to pick one up! Yes, will definitely be trying this soon. 🙂

    Hope you enjoy your quiet movie watching, kitchen time, sofa-filled weekend. Sounds like the perfect holiday to me!

  23. yes, nyc is a great city to be on for long weekends. here in dc, the residents flee and the tourists flood. so staying here is kind of a mixed bag.

    LOVE the combo. have definitely had it in a salad before. but the sandwich looks amazing too!

  24. I’m thinking kombocha squash it like butternut pumpkin in Australian terms? Hmmm I am going to have to research this one.

  25. This definitely would change my life, and I totally wanna try it 😀 If only I could find that darn squash!

    Maybe I’ll sub in sweet p 🙂

  26. I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time now, but this is the first time I’ve commented. I’ve just made that sandwich- absolutely amazing. Thanks for all your great recipes- I’ve gotten out of my “healthy food rut” due in large part to your recipes. Thanks and keep up the fantastic blogging work!

  27. I have heard about the kabocha sandwich at Peacefood. I’ve yet to travel to the UWS to try it out yet. Thanks for the reminder.

  28. I am happy to say that I have tried and love the combination of avocado and sweet potato.

    I hope you enjoy a quieter NYC this weekend…I am definitely enjoying a quiet Los Angeles! The best part of the 4th of July weekend? There is NO traffic here!

  29. I’ve still never had kabocha squash. Is that something that might come in a CSA box? Because if so I might get lucky this Fall and get some

    • Evan,

      You may! I don’t see too much kabocha at my farmer’s market — I believe it’s more common at west coast markets than east coast — but it’s definitely possible.

      Gena

  30. I heart kabocha squash! I am so up for trying this, only I’d add those caramelized onions. I love those, too!

  31. Your take on Peacefood’s masterpiece looks amazing! I will have to try it.

    And I’ll admit that this New Yorker is taking a 5 day break in the “country” (hello, CT suburbia) for optimum relaxation with the famiy.

    Have a great weekend! 🙂