As we grow, we learn to trust ourselves and our instincts. Before I started sharing my vegetarian journey, my culinary adventures were traversed in solitude. As I began documenting my recipes, successes , and failures, not only did I more fully engage Aaron, Lauren, and Dillon in my love of cooking and the experiments that go with that love (poor dears, they sometimes look so skeptical when I say, ‘Taste this and tell me what you think.”) and now I have all of you, who travel with me in one fashion or another on my journey.
I have learned a great deal in the past eight months, not only about myself, but about my finance, my children, my friends, and those who read my blog and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. What I discovered is that many of you are looking for the same things in vegetarian cooking that I seek: food that isn’t boring, great taste, and dishes brings those we love together to share something wonderful and delicious.
My journey has stood at the crossroads since the beginning of the year. Would I venture out of my comfort zone and begin creating new recipes instead of relying on my tired and true favorites? I believe in being yourself, and being true to whomever that person is or evolves into over the course of a lifetime. I have grown in my self confidence not only about my ability as a vegetarian chef but as a person, and I truly have all of you to thank for that growth: your input, support, and enthusiasm have given me courage and confidence. I have chosen my road to travel: to take my blog further by creating new recipes. Here is the first: Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Burgers….
Before I was vegetarian, I have to admit, I loved burgers. Not so much the meat but the depth of flavor I could achieve with, for all practical purposes, a simple sandwich. I could sneak several servings of veggies into the burgers and the kids never suspected a thing. For myself, I could dress it in a variety of ways from traditional American style, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, to more exotic tastes, cucumber slices, feta cheese, and spicy yogurt spread.
When I became vegetarian, and had yet to experiment with making veggie burgers myself, I found most commercial brands to be very disappointing: no taste, the texture was poor at best, and the appearance was very unappetizing.
I invested in a food processor and began making my own versions of veggie burgers–some of which were not fit for human consumption, others fell apart when I tried to flip them, and still others did not meet the criteria for good taste.
The burgers featured here are made with one of my favorite squash, butternut. Butternut has a mild sweetness that easily compliments a wide variety of other flavors and so is a good choice for not only veggie burgers but casseroles as well as sweet or savory pies.
- One medium butternut squash, halved and roasted (see roasting spaghetti squash)
- Two tablespoon grape seed oil, plus more for cooking the burgers
- One medium white onion
- One and one-half roasted red pepper, chopped
- One cup panko crumbs
- One large egg, beaten
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- One teaspoon Slap Ya’ Momma, if you like a bit of pizzaz
Roast the butternut squash, see the link above for roasting spaghetti squash above-the method is the same. You can either roast the red peppers at the same time or use the jarred variety.
In a skillet on medium heat, heat the grape seed oil and add the chopped onions, sauté till tender. In a large mixing bowl, mash the cooked squash and add the onion mixture, panko crumbs, chopped roasted red pepper, and egg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding the Slap Ya’ Momma if desired. The consistency is important, you want the mixture to stick together enough to hold its shape but not be dry. Add more panko crumbs if mixture is too wet.
Form into four to six patties–about three and a half inches wide and about three-fourths of an inch thick. In a skillet heat about two tablespoons grape seed oil on medium high. Gently place burgers in skillet and brown each side cook till golden brown on each side. In the photo you’ll notice that I surpassed golden brown–I like some crunch on my veggie burger, we all have our little quirks!
Place cooked patties on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
A few suggestion for dressing your burger:
American Made: Mayo, mustard, and a bit of catsup on a soft whole wheat bun, topped with mild cheddar, green leaf lettuce, and a tomato slice.
Its Greek to Me: thinly sliced cucumbers, feta cheese, and yogurt spread on a thin, whole wheat sandwich round. Yogurt spread: four ounces plain Greek yogurt, one tablespoon mayo, and a teaspoon of dill.
The Italian Job: Melted mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced and sautéed mushrooms served on French bread.
Copyright ElleVeg 2014