Pan-roasted butternut squash @ the Chill Zone

The end result: hot, delicious squash

Healthy Waltham intern Cece and I recently held a cooking activity at the Chill Zone, a safe, fun, and free weekend program hosted by the Waltham Recreation Department for students in grades 6-8. Lucky for us, the Chill Zone has invited Healthy Waltham to regularly host such cooking and garden activities all spring long. For this past Saturday’s session, we decided to cook up something grown right in town: butternut squash from Waltham Fields Community Farm!

While we didn’t follow any particular recipe, you can use the following ingredient list and instructions to help you prepare this healthy dish at home.


Pan-Roasted Butternut Squash

Prepping our ingredients


  • cooking oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • onions, diced
  • butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • fresh parsley, chopped fine
  • a splash of 100% maple syrup or a tablespoon of brown sugar
  • a splash of vinegar (apple cider or red wine work well)
  • baby spinach, rinsed
  • dried cranberries
  • pecans, chopped (optional, we did not use these due to food allergies)
  • salt to taste


Heat up your cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your onions; cook them for a few minutes or until they start to brown, stirring often. Next, add your parsley, butternut squash, and a generous sprinkle of salt; stir well to ensure the butternut cubes get coated with onions and oil.  Cover the skillet and let it cook for about 3 minutes to give the squash a good “hard sear” that should result in some browning, called caramelization, which brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable. Uncover the skillet, add your remaining ingredients (vinegar and syrup or sugar, followed by spinach, cranberries, and nuts) and stir well. Cook until the squash is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately. Bon appetit!


Cooking with the electric wok


Saturday, March 5th, 2011 from 1-3PM*

—–> Creamy Cole Slaw

—–> Indoor container herb garden planning

*There is no Chill Zone this weekend, February 25-26th, due to public school vacation.

Images by Rebekah Carter (2011). For more information on the Chill Zone or how to get involved, please visit their website or contact Recreation Supervisor Kathy Gross.

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