Saturday, June 16, 2012

Butternut Squash Quinoa Oat Burgers

Sundays are "family dinner" night with my roommate and several of our friends. The actual number of us any given Sunday is between two and four, with occasional exceptions. I love Sunday dinners because it means

1) I'm actually eating with other people
2) I often get the opportunity to cook for others
3) Everyone's willing to contribute, if asked

When I lived in the Midwest, I ate with people a lot more often than I do now and I miss the social aspect of eating with people I care about -- even if we're not actually eating the same thing (though it's nice when we are). Sundays help fill this gap.

In the skillet
One recent Sunday dinner, there were just going to be two of us and I decided I wanted to make veggie burgers (just fyi, if you're wondering, most store-bought veggie burgers contain gluten). I thought about asking the woman who was coming to bring GF buns, but then decided we could just throw the burgers on corn tortillas since I already had those around and we're both operating on a budget. I thought I had an old can of beans at home, bought in the fall before I decided to stop buying cans of beans in favor of just making my own beans from dried and freezing some for later use. As it turns out, I didn't. And the only beans I had prepped were chickpeas. No thanks, not for this.

What I had instead was a can of butternut squash (bought cheap, organic, and still in date, don't worry). I decided to work with it and this recipe is what resulted. The nice thing about this is that the butternut squash acts as a really good binder, the oats help absorb extra liquid and add a little fiber, and the quinoa provides plenty of protein. I served this with homemade sweet potato fries (oven baked). Play with the spices a bit, if these don't appeal to you.

Butternut Squash Quinoa Oat Burgers
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1 14-ounce can organic butternut squash (or equivalent fresh -- baked & pureed)
1/2 cup gluten-free* rolled oats (not quick or instant)

Cook the quinoa in the water, simmering over medium heat about 20 minutes or until tender and water is absorbed. Careful not to scorch the quinoa. Mix in the spices, and then combine with butternut squash and oats. Let rest for 20 minutes, to allow flavors to blend and oats to absorb extra liquid. Form into patties an appropriate size for your bun, and about 1/2-inch thick.

Cook patties on a lightly oiled pan, over medium-high heat, about 3-5 minutes per side (depends on how evenly your pan heats and how moist your squash was), until both sides are brown and firm. Serve.

*Remember, some people with gluten-sensitivity don't react well to GF oats either, so be sure to check. If you don't have gluten-sensitivities, you can use regular oats. If you, or the person you're cooking for is sensitive to GF oats, substitute rolled quinoa flakes, if available.

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