Steve Wan’s Kabocha Squash Salad

The perfect dish to make on the heels of summer and the brink of fall.

You’ll Need:

  • Kabocha squash
  • Butter, softened
  • Brown sugar
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • Wheat berries
  • Cilantro, chopped, for taste
  • Lime juice, for taste
  • Baby beets
  • Olive oil
  • Pickled spring onions, standard recipe, for garnish
  • Toasted hazelnuts, for garnish
  • Baby greens
  • Burrata cheese


  • 5 oz. habanero peppers, roasted until charred and seeded
  • 1 ¼ lbs. tomatoes, roasted on one side until black
  • ½ lb. yellow onion, roasted until charred and chopped
  • ½ oz. garlic, lightly toasted in fryer
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 oz. canola oil
  • 1 tbs. Salt


  • 1 ½ cups toasted pepitas
  • ½ lb. charred tomatoes
  • 1 oz. roasted garlic
  • ½ lb. roasted eggplant
  • 2 oz. habanero salsa
  • ⅛ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Lime juice, for taste
  • Salt and black pepper, for taste


  • 12 ancho chiles, toasted, split and seeded
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 ½ cups sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbs. salt
  • 1 tbs. black pepper
  • 3 cups olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups lemon juice


  1. For the habanero salsa, combine all ingredients except the oil in a blender and pulse until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil to create an emulsion and allow to cool. Then, combine that with the other ingredients for the Yucatecan hummus in a Vitaprep or blender, and pulse until smooth.
  1. To make the vinaigrette, pour the boiling water over the peppers and let stand until the chiles soften, about 20 minutes. Puree the chiles with ½ cup of the water used to rehydrate them, and add honey and sherry vinegar, then blend again until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the oil to form the dressing. Season with the salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  1. To prepare the squash, combine the softened butter, brown sugar, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Cut the kabocha squash into quarters and remove seeds. Generously rub the squash with the butter mixture, reserving some for later. Roast the squash in a 350-degree oven until cooked through. Once cooled, remove the skin and cut into strips. Lay the strips on a lined baking sheet and generously coat with the remaining butter mixture. Roast again until the sugar is caramelized, then let cool and reserve.
  1. Cook the wheat berries in boiling salted water, then drain and allow to cool. Mix with the ancho chile vinaigrette, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and refrigerate.
  1. Clean the beets and remove the tops. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated 350-degree oven until cooked through. Remove the skin and cool. Cut the beets in half, set aside and refrigerate.
  1. Lightly toss the baby greens with the vinaigrette, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  1. To plate, use a small offset spatula to smear the hummus on the base of a dish. Place a couple of spoonfuls of the wheat berries on top of the hummus. Place the burrata on top of the wheat berries. Arrange the roasted squash and beets around the burrata and wheat berries, and garnish with the chopped hazelnuts, pickled onions and more baby greens.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz-Carton Drive, Dana Point, Recipe by Steve Wan, chef de cuisine, Raya.

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