Garlic & Onion Pumpkin / Calabaza Side Dish

"Last I know, this is a Cuban dish, which my husband happened to prepare one day. I'm not a pumpkin fan, but the sweet taste of the pumpkin with the acid-salty taste of the oil, garlic and onions is divine! :). The pumpkin we use is not the one you carve for the jack-o-lanterns, but looks more like a large, round squash. We call it Calabaza, but also goes by the name of "Cuban Squash" and is considered a winter squash/pumpkin variety. As long as the meat inside is orange in color, you should be fine, be it a Calabaza, a Cuban Squash or the American, pumpkin-pie version."
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Ready In:




  • Take off the seeds but leave on the shell and cut into extra large cubes. The shell will be easier to remove once it's cooked, or it can be left on as well, since it becomes as soft as the pumpkin (but I like it off).
  • Steam or boil the pumpkin until cooked. As a variation, if you're steaming carrots as part of the menu, you might want to reuse that same water to boil the pumpkin for an added touch of sweetness.
  • Chop the onions and the garlic and then saute them in the oil until cooked, but not caramelized. Top the pumpkin with the onions, garlic and some of the oil (though you don't have to use all of it, just enough to drizzle over each pumpkin cube.).
  • You can serve warm or chilled.

Questions & Replies

  1. Calabaza squash is a West Indian pumpkin, popular in Cuba. Substitutes can be Kabocha, Hubbard, or even Butternut... American type pumpkins are not 'sweet' enough


  1. My recipe for this dish is a bit different. Calabaza cooked the same (steamed) but I slice the onions and I make a Cuban style mojo using EVOO, garlic, sour oranges, and oregano...sometimes a pinch of cumin.


There was a time when I used to love to experiment in the kitchen, but then it became a duty and suddenly, I was all left hands... hated it. But suddenly, I'm taking it up again, and I realize that it actually helps me focus better during the day. Who would have guessed it! G.
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