Hearty Bacon and Kaboucha Salad

A hearty side dish, this dish uses Kaboucha, also known as Japanese pumpkin. It’s a very simple recipe that uses bacon, kaboucha, and hand softened onions – once you have tried it once you are going to make it over and over again!

This delicious dish can be served anytime in place of potato salad – at a picnic or barbecue, on a sandwich, or as a side dish at a family meal.

Hearty Bacon and Kaboucha Salad

This hearty pumpkin salad uses Japanese pumpkins, bacon, and onions,  For this recipe you need to soften the onion by hand as opposed to cooking the onion.  The onion is softened by adding it to a plastic bag with salt and other spice.  The salt leeches out the water and the water will need to be drained several times.  It’s important to knead the bag for AT LEAST 30 minutes to ensure that the onion is not too spicy to add to the dish.



  • 1/2 lb slab bacon (220g)
  • 1/4 Kaboucha (300g)
  • 1/2 large onion (200g)
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (150cc)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


Prepare the Kaboucha

  • With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and dispose.
  • Cover the Kaboucha with plastic wrap and microwave at 600W for 5 minutes.
  • Dice into 1 inch cubes, put a drop of water on the plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for another 3:30. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the hand-softened onion

  • Cut onion into thin slices
  • Put onion into a zippered clear bag and add the salt and paprika
  • Squeeze out as much air as possible. Knead the bag vigorously for at least 30 minutes until the onions are completely softened. As the onion softens, liquid will be released into the bag. Continue to squeeze out air and dump out liquid as often as needed
  • After the onion is softened, pour into a bowl and drain any remaining liquid

Prepare the bacon

  • Dice the bacon into small 1/4 inch pieces and fry over high heat about 5 minutes, until crispy

Final Preparation

  • Mash: Add the kaboucha, including the skin, to a large mixing bowl and mash up with a fork
  • Mix: Add the remaining ingredients and fold in with a spoon. Mix thoroughly

  • Serve: Serve either chilled or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers


  • Use Japanese mayonnaise for a more authentic taste.  Japanese mayonnaise is a little thinner than mayonnaise in the US.  You can find it at any asian grocery or online.

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