Kabocha is a Japanese green-skinned, flattened-looking squash/pumpkin with an intensely sweet flavor and a pleasantly dry texture. It doesn’t turn into watery mush like some pumpkin varieties do, even when cooked in liquid, and the earthy sweet flavor is wonderfully intense. It’s a pretty unique combination of flavor and texture. If you can’t tell, I really love it. It makes me happy to see them turn up in regular grocery stores here in the U.S.!
I found a great kabocha at the grocery store recently and have been enjoying it in a varieties of ways–simply roasted, simmered in soy sauce and a bit of maple syrup, and this dill-spiked creamy kabocha salad. It’s sweet without any sugar, thanks to the super-sweet kabocha. In DASH diet, daily limits for sugar is pretty low, so this is a boon to people with sweet tooth (like me!). The (differently) sweet yet green aroma of the dill adds a nice complexity to the kabocha salad. Additionally, the red pepper gives just the right amount of refreshing crunch and peppery bitterness to balance out the creamy base and sweetness.
It’s an easy salad that packs a surprisingly sophisticated harmony of flavors. (I also love the bright colors: Deep orange kabocha, red pepper and green dill make any dull plate pop.) I’d recommend using a Japanese kabocha if you can find it, but if not, other pumpkin and squash varieties may work, though the texture will be wetter. You may need to reduce the amount of yogurt-mayo mixture.
Dill Kabocha Salad with Red Pepper and Greek Yogurt
DASH considerations: This dill kabocha salad is wonderfully sweet without any added sugar, thanks to the natural sweetness of the Japanese pumpkin variety. Another plus from the DASH diet perspective is the lower fat content achieved by using half mayo and half Greek yogurt. Swapping out some of the mayo also gives you more control over how much sodium goes in.
2 vegetables & fruits
½ fat & oil
Dairy serving is negligible.
In Frankfurt, green sauce (grune sosse or grüne soße in German) is ubiquitous. The somewhat tartar-like sauce with a ton of herbs magically manages to be refreshing and hearty at the same time. Simple boiled vegetables like potatoes and broccoli get a serious upgrade with a dollop or two of this stuff–add a slice or two of ham, and you have a complete, satisfying meal. In this adapted version, I use common ingredients (think Greek yogurt instead of quark) and fewer herbs (bye bye, borage and burnet), but the bright, herby and hearty sauce comes out pretty close to the real deal.
A few years ago, we spent a couple of nights in Frankfurt on the way to and from a year-end vacation in Paris. One night, we went to an apfelwein inn where we sat on a communal bench, elbow-to-elbow with locals and tourists alike, drinking from a beautiful ceramic jug of the German hard cider. It was a cold winter night but inside the warm, steamy inn, the atmosphere was jovial and convivial, just as I’d imagine an old roadside inn serving locals and travelers hundreds of years ago.
I had a giant plate of schnitzel with boiled potatoes, topped with a local green sauce. A delightfully bright, herby and creamy sauce made with (I guessed) sour cream and a ton of herbs, the sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the earthy potatoes and hearty schnitzel. Apfelwein kept flowing, our tummies got full, and we trekked back to our hotel happy and satiated.
When Hubby picked up a can of genuine apfelwein from a beer store nearby, all this fond memory came back, and I had to make some schnitzel with this green sauce to go with the cider. I got a-Googling. As it turned out, the Frankfurt-style green sauce contains a hard boiled egg, which gives the sauce a subtle savory body and extra richness, similar to how boiled eggs work in tartar sauce.
I also found out that the green sauce calls for quite a few types of herbs, some of which I hadn’t even heard of. Since I didn’t want to end up with a fridge full of wilting herbs, I decided to get just a couple: Watercress, which is easy to consume in a salad; parsley, which can go into a stock or chimichurri sauce; and chives, which is totally versatile. Despite the omissions, the sauce came out pretty close to what I remembered. I love this sauce!
Bright, Herby Frankfurter Green Sauce
DASH considerations: The Frankfurter green sauce might not be particularly great when seen from the DASH perspective. It does somewhat depend on what you compare it to, though: As a substitute for straight sour cream, for instance, this is a much lighter version with less fat and sneaky addition of greens. However, you wouldn't be eating a cup of this stuff, so it's kind of, sort of, negligible in the grand scheme of things...
DASH servings (for 2 tablespoon of the green sauce):
I would just count it as 1/2 serving of fat and maaaaaybe 1/4 serving of vegetables. The rest ends up being pretty miniscule.
Boil, cool and peel the egg. Chop the egg roughly.
In a tall-sided bowl (I used the plastic container that came with my immersion blender), combine the egg, sour cream, Greek yogurt, watercress, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Using an immersion blender, blend until the ingredients form a more or less uniform, smooth mixture. (Add the extra virgin olive oil along with all the other ingredients, if using.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
There are so many possibilities with this sauce:
The first night, I served it traditional, with boiled potatoes, broccoli and a chicken schnitzel (that uses mustard instead of an egg as the coating agent, a neat trick I learned from Blue Apron).
It’s fantastic as a sandwich spread. I made a ham sandwich with cucumber and lettuce on bread smeared with this sauce for a hiking lunch, and it was glorious.
It would be lovely on top of potato pancakes, in place of sour cream.
We made a tasty New Year’s Eve appetizer of smoked salmon and cucumber on crackers with a dollop of the green sauce. Nom nom!