This Roasted Acorn Squash is a beautiful and delicious side dish. Sliced acorn squash is oven roasted in a sweet and spicy buttery sauce, then topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, and orange zest for a holiday table showstopper!
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (You can save the seeds for toasting; check the notes.) Cut the squash into half inch slices. Lay the squash slices on the cookie sheet.
Melt the butter in a small bowl, add 4 Tablespoons brown sugar, juice from the orange, cinnamon, ground ginger, smoked paprika, and chili powder. Stir to combine and spoon over the squash slices. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar over the top.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until fork tender.
Place the pumpkin seeds in a small bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Add the salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and the pinch of cayenne (if using) and toss to coat. Spread on a baking pan and bake for 3 to 5 minutes at 400 degrees until just slightly toasted.
Heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the sage leaves and toss, until just slightly toasted. Watch carefully as they can burn quickly.
Place the squash on a serving plate. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate arils, toasted sage leaves, and orange zest.
Different Squash Substitutions: this recipe will also work well with kabocha or butternut squash. Feel free to substitute either one.
Pumpkin Seed Substitution: if you don't have pumpkin seeds, you can also roast the seeds that you remove from the squash instead. Simply rinse and dry the seeds, then toast according to the recipe directions.
Pomegranate seeds: Adding pomegranate to this recipe makes it extra delicious and adds beautiful presentation. I usually purchase my pomegranate seeds (arils) prepackaged at the grocery store in the produce section. This is a timesaver, but you can always deseed a fresh pomegranate instead.
Storing and Reheating: Store any leftover roasted acorn squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave for a minute or two before serving.