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Squash and beans are a combination I always love in soups, salads, tacos, and burritos, and it’s no surprise that the two ingredients also work great together in a veggie burger. These burgers are excellent with a slice of mozzarella or melty vegan cheese, which adds richness and some extra structural Support on a bun. And since the beans and bit of starch do all the work in terms of binding the burger, I recommend the “Smash Burger” cooking method. Also, since the recipe only calls for half a butternut squash, you might as well roast the other half at the same time and use it for soup.   Credit line: Recipe from Veggie Burgers Every Which Way, Second Edition: Fresh, Flavorful, and Healthy Plant-Based Burgers—Plus Toppings, Sides, Buns, and More © Lukas Volger, 2010, 2023. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available everywhere books are sold.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burgers [Vegan]

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Six 4-inch burgers

Ingredients You Need for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burgers [Vegan]

  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, split lengthwise from the stem
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces (150 g) spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups (255 g) cooked black beans
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (20 g) panko or coarse bread crumbs, plus additional if needed

How to Prepare Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burgers [Vegan]

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Peel and quarter the onion along the stem, leaving the base attached to each quarter so that it holds its shape. Rub the onion and the squash with the 1 teaspoon oil, and arrange on the baking sheet, with the squash lying flat. Roast for 25 to 35 minutes, flipping the squash twice so that it finishes facedown, until both the onion and the squash are completely tender. If the onion begins to burn while the squash is still cooking, remove it from the pan. Allow to cool until safe to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach. If using fresh spinach, steam it for 3 to 4 minutes over 1 inch (2.5 cm) of simmering water or blanch it for 30 seconds in a pot of boiling salted water. Transfer to an ice bath to halt the cooking. Squeeze dry and finely chop. If using frozen spinach, allow it to thaw (you can speed this up in the microwave, or by dropping it in a saucepan of simmering water), and once cool, squeeze dry and finely chop.
  4. Scoop out the seeds and peel the skin off the squash, then measure out 1 packed cup (205 g) of flesh. Reserve the rest for another use. Trim the base from the onions. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the onions, the squash, and the spinach. Pulse until just combined. Add the beans, potato starch, and salt, and pulse several times until combined. Add the panko, and pulse until integrated. (Alternatively, chop the onions by hand and mash the squash with a fork or potato masher.) Add additional panko if the mixture seems too wet to become malleable. Shape into 6 patties, then let stand for at least 20 minutes.
  5. To cook, warm a wide skillet over medium-high heat, then add the remaining oil. Add as many burgers as will fit comfortably without crowding the pan (usually 3 burgers will fit into a 10-inch/25 cm skillet), and use a metal spatula to flatten them slightly. Cook until browned and crisped on the bottom, 5 to 7 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side. The burgers will firm up a bit as they cook, and further once they’re removed from the heat and have cooled slightly. Serve warm.
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