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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 4 cups

As one of three filling options for our homemade vegan bao buns, this succulent squash stuffing will leave you reaching for a second bun before you’ve finished the first. Flavored with cumin and Chinese five-spice, diced kabocha squash becomes soft and tender when steamed inside a fluffy whole wheat bun. Caramelized onion delivers finger-licking flavor while crushed red pepper adds a touch of heat to ensure this unforgettable filling has a comforting balance of earthy sweetness and spice.

Tip: To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute gluten-free tamari for the soy sauce.

For more vegan bao bun recipes, check out these tasty ideas:


  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 2-lb. kabocha or red kuri squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped (4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin


  1. Heat a nonstick saucepan over medium-high. Add onion and 1 tablespoon water. Cook 5 minutes or until onion is slightly translucent and fragrant, stirring frequently and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Add soy sauce; cook until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently.
  2. Transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients. Pulse until finely chopped. Use immediately.
  3. Use filling in our vegan bao bun recipe . Alternatively, ladle into lettuce cups or serve over brown rice.

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Hannah Che

Hannah Che is a chef, writer, and photographer, and the author of the cookbook The Vegan Chinese Kitchen. Her food is informed by tradition and inspired by seasonal produce and her cross-cultural heritage. She is currently based in Portland, Oregon. Find her on Instagram.

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