Simple Roasted Winter Squash

Happy New Year!

January is one of my favorite months because the darker days of winter spark a desire in me to slow down and take time to reflect on my goals for the months ahead. I ask myself: "What am I grateful for from the past year?" and "What am I looking forward to?" Grounded in these questions, I feel a deep sense of joy and possibility. What beauty there is in the unfolding of this life

As I step into the new year filled with positive intentions for health and happiness in 2016, I am inspired to launch a new series of quick and easy weeknight recipes that feature local, seasonal ingredients.

Why local?

Eating local brings us closer to our community, helping us feel connected and supported where we live and work. Buying local food also puts money back into our own neighborhoods and has a positive impact on the environment through reduced fuel costs.

Why seasonal?

Eating seasonal helps align our bodies with the natural rhythms of nature's cycles. We crave certain foods at certain times in the year because, evolving from our hunter/gather heritage, we are intuitively in sync with what's available in our region during each period in the year. Eating seasonal also helps you save money (no transportation costs here!) and ensures you are getting produce at the peak of its flavor and nutrient density.

As a chef, I look forward to the shift from berries and stone fruits to pomegranates and citrus and back again. Rather than planning my menus in advance, I love strolling through the farmers' market or opening a CSA box to see what possibilities will unfold for featuring the freshest ingredients available.

With these local and seasonal intentions in mind, I had the good fortune last week of connecting with the inspiring leader of Good Neighbor Gardens, Mia Vaughnes. She and her team have created a model for hyper-local food sourcing and a way to reclaim community "tribe" where neighbors are feeding neighbors.

“I think we are living in a socially disconnected and health starved community," says Vaughnes. "Food can bring us together.  It has always been the life-giving, unifying force and food tastes better when shared.  It's the common denominator by which we can work together, side by side to regenerate ourselves and our community."


If you live in urban San Diego and are passionate about supporting local food systems, check out their CSA baskets or consider signing up to be a Gracious Neighbor growing food for the program.

So what's in season in the Good Neighbor Gardens CSA basket this week?

Winter squash.


With so many varieties to choose from, each with a different flavor profile ranging from nutty to sweet, the possibilities for preparation are endless. Roasted squash soups, squash tacos, pumpkin muffins... Yum!

Winter squash is rich in vitamin C and carotenoids (beta carotine), which are great for reducing inflammation and supporting the immune system. It's also an excellent plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids, among other health benefits.

Flavorful and healthy...let's get cooking. This simple Roasted Winter Squash Recipe works well for any variety and makes a quick and easy side dish to accompany any meal. Happy seasonal eating!

roasted winter squash

  • YIELD: 4 Servings
  • PREP: 10 mins
  • COOK: 25 mins
  • READY IN: 35 mins

A quick and simple side dish highlighting a nutrient dense seasonal favorite - winter squash


  • 1/2 organic winter squash
  • 2 Tbsp grassfed butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half and set 1/2 aside. Scoop out seeds and save to roast or compost. Peel the squash with a knife and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Put cubed squash in cast iron skillet and sprinkle with spices and small slivers of butter or coconut oil. 
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes until soft and caramelized. Stir halfway through roasting time to ensure even coverage of spices and fat.