Roasted Kabocha Squash with an Orange-Honey Glaze

Roasting the Kabocha squash renders it irresistibly tender, while the sweet and spicy orange honey glaze enhances its inherent sugary goodness. The sprinkling of sunflower seeds adds just the right amount of crunch with a hint of smoky nuttiness.

 Serves 4

1 Kabocha squash, cut in half, seeded, and sliced into 1-inch thick slices
2-3 teaspoons olive oil for brushing squash

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking pan with tinfoil (for easy clean up). Brush the flesh of the squash with olive oil, and roast flesh side down for 30-35 minutes, or until tender.

In a small skillet over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Remove from heat. Add shallots and saute until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients EXCEPT sunflower seeds. Whisk until smooth.

Just before you're ready to serve the squash, add the sauce to the pan of sauteed shallots. Heat on medium until the sauce begins to bubble and becomes lightly syrupy, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle over the cooked squash. Serve immediately.

Note: Kabocha squash is available in organic markets such as Whole Foods as well as many traditional supermarkets. If you can't find Kabocha squash, then acorn, butternut, or buttercup squash make good substitutes.