Use peeled butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin or even sweet potato if you're unable to find kabocha. While kabocha has legions of fans, cabbage is still an underappreciated gem of a vegetable, and a single head has a deceptively large yield. It's also a treat in the winter, when the crop freeze-crystallizes its sugars and makes for a delectably sweet harvest. Here it's served in a rich, bright, gingery ramen broth and accompanied by a few savory slices of avocado. Substitute a soft-boiled egg for the avocado, if you wish.

Serves 4


  • 12 ounces kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 2 quarts Vegetarian Dashi (see separate recipe)
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. neutral-tasting oil
  • 2 Tbsp. light-colored miso paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces dried, or 12 ounces fresh, ramen noodles
  • Two 2-inch squares toasted nori
  • 1 avocado, quartered and sliced into thin wedges
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green, savoy or Napa cabbage


    Preheat oven to 425°.

    Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the squash and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Fish it out with a spider skimmer, or a slotted spoon, and set aside. Return the water to the stove.

    Bring the dashi to a bare simmer in another saucepan.

    In a large glass, or a measuring cup or in the plastic cup that usually comes with an immersion blender, combine the scallions, oil, miso, ginger, vinegar and a few ladlefuls of the dashi. Puree with an immersion blender. (Alternatively, puree in a blender.) Pour the mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the dashi and bring to a bare simmer. Add the salt and taste, adding more salt if necessary, and let stand, covered, over low heat until ready to assemble the ramen.

    Return the water to a boil. Add the noodles in a strainer basket or in the pasta insert that comes with your stockpot, if you have one, and cook until tender, usually 4 to 7 minutes for dried; or, according to the package instructions; or, 60 to 90 seconds for fresh. Lift out the noodles, reserving the cooking water, and rinse the noodles thoroughly under cold running water in order to remove excess starch. Quickly dunk them back into the hot water to reheat. Divide among 4 bowls.

    Just before serving, wave the nori squares over the flame of a gas burner a few times, until the corners curl and they turn crisp, or roast under a broiler, flipping periodically. Slice into thin strips with a chef 's knife, or crumble with your fingers.

    Divide the squash, avocado and cabbage over the noodles in each bowl. Ladle piping-hot broth over each serving, garnish with the nori and serve, passing the condiments of your choice at the table.

    Text excerpted from BOWL © 2016, by Lukas Volger. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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