I’ll admit that I did not approach this recipe as a meatless burger option upon first glance.
To me, the sound of the words squash patty sparked thoughts of thin, crispy fritters simmering away in a cast iron skillet filled with oil.
And although these were never truly leading down the road to latke land (one of my favorite places in the world), my brain tangled the thought of a starchy, orange-fleshed veggie prepared in patty form with the food memory of wispy potato pancakes.
I love when my head tries to do the cooking for me.
As it turns out, this dish is a different take on those mundane “veggie patties” we’ve all encountered, as it transforms them with a blend of savory and (slightly) sweet ingredients.
Thanks to the oats and egg, and the all-around tackiness of the roasted squash cubes, the best part is how flawlessly they stay together.
Just like Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr. Where my 90s kids at?
I’ve tried my hand at something similar before (baked falafel, to be exact) and it came up short. Either I or the chickpeas cracked under the pressure, and I’ve been skeptical ever since.
I can see now that the major elements that were missing back then (other than, oh, about a decade more of culinary experience…) were some rock-solid binders.
As the oats get to know the roasted vegetables and egg – an uber-classic binding agent – they become saturated, and thus, more elastic, puffy, and gooey.
This may not sound wildly appetizing at this point, but I find it fascinating to know why certain things work in the kitchen and others don’t.
If there was ever a statement that would shock my high school science teacher, that is it.
The moisture from the egg keeps everything from getting too dry, while the small amount of flour in the mix adds just enough stickiness and volume.
Next up, if you’ve already taken a peek through the ingredient list below, you may have been surprised by the addition of pistachios.
Don’t be afraid. I would never steer you wrong.
Nuts are a killer substitute for breadcrumbs as they not only replicate the texture and consistency of these starchy standbys, but they bring a little sweetness and chewiness of their own. Pistachios add a sweet, woody flavor, and more color too.
Feel free to grind them to your heart’s content if you’d rather they be practically indiscernible in the final product, or go my route. I give them a quick rough chop so some bites of burger have a little crunch.
Also, nuts are naturally gluten-free, so if you’ve taken these vegetarian patties in that direction, you’re already one step ahead.
As far as our star goes (take a bow, winter squash), I snagged the delicata variety with no problems. Other excellent backups include hubbard, butternut, pumpkin, kabocha, and acorn. Just keep in mind that the level of sweetness (and texture, and water content) will vary slightly from one to the next.
Not to toot my own recipe horn, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make these stupid-good bread and butter zucchini pickles right around the same time as these patties. And I took full advantage of the duo.
When topped with briny, tart, pickled slices and slathered in mayo, cheese, and ketchup, this meal may as well have been a Big Mac. But when simply dolloped with a tangy scoop of sour cream and served over mixed greens, the versatile patties took on a whole new personality.
Raise the curtain. One more bow, winter squash.Print
Packed with sweet roasted squash, pistachios, and smoky chili powder, these flavorful patties take veggie burgers to the next level.
- 2 small winter squash (about 3 pounds), such as hubbard or delicata
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (or gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup diced shallot (about 1 medium)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped raw unsalted pistachios
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder blend
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel, seed, and dice the squash into 1/2-inch cubes. You’ll end up with about 3 cups. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Spread the cubes out onto the parchment paper in a single layer.
- Roast, tossing once halfway through, until the squash is tender and a sharp knife slides right through the flesh, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and re-line the baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.
- Allow the squash to cool slightly, then add the oats, flour, onion, pistachios, egg, chili powder, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the bowl. Mash until thoroughly combined.
- Using a 1/3-cup scoop as your guide, form the veggie mixture into six flat, burger-like patties and arrange them on the parchment paper. Drizzle evenly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Bake, flipping the patties once halfway through, until the outsides are crisp and lightly golden-brown, about 30-35 minutes.
- Serve hot on hamburger buns with your choice of toppings, or with a dollop of sour cream on a bed of fresh greens.
- Category: Vegetarian
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: winter squash, veggie patties, meatless
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep the Squash
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
I used delicata, but you can substitute hubbard, or any other type of winter squash you can easily find.
Keep in mind that the texture, water content, and sweetness will vary slightly among the different varieties, with butternut being sweet yet firm, for example, and acorn being sweet and a bit softer and stringier.
If you can only find larger options that will make more than you need for this recipe (about 3 cups), freeze the remaining cubes for future recipes.
Slice the squash lengthwise down the middle, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Discard or toast them.
Lay each half on its flat side and slice into strips. Place several of the strips on top of each other and dice into half-inch cubes.
Since the cubes are getting mashed, they don’t need to be perfectly diced, but you want them to be similarly sized so they’ll cook evenly.
Step 2 – Bake the Squash
Toss the cubes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Spread onto the parchment paper in a single layer.
If the cubes are too crowded on the pan, they will steam instead of roasting and you won’t get the same caramelized, golden-brown hue and added sweetness. Since the squash is getting mashed into a patty and re-baked, this doesn’t matter too much, but you’ll get more flavor if it’s roasted correctly.
Roast, tossing once halfway through, until the squash is tender and a sharp knife slides right through the flesh, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Step 3 – Prep and Measure the Remaining Ingredients
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and re-line the baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.
Dice the shallot, roughly chop the pistachios, lightly beat the egg, and chop the parsley.
Allow the squash to cool slightly, and then add the oats, flour, shallot, pistachios, egg, chili powder, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the bowl.
To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute gluten-free oats, flour, and buns (if you serve them as burgers).
To create a vegan version, substitute a flax egg for the chicken egg. For 1 flax egg, combine 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons water, and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes before adding it to the bowl.
Mash until thoroughly combined.
Step 4 – Form and Bake the Patties
Using a 1/3-cup cookie scoop or measuring cup as your guide, form the veggie mixture into six flat, burger-like patties of equal size, and arrange them on the parchment paper.
To make them into sliders instead, use a quarter-cup scoop. You’ll end up with closer to 10 that you can serve as appetizers.
Drizzle the tops evenly with the remaining olive oil and then bake, flipping the patties once halfway through, until the outsides are crisp and lightly golden-brown. This will take about 30 to 35 minutes.
Serve hot on hamburger buns with your choice of toppings, or with a dollop of sour cream on top.
Squash Boring Veggie Burgers
Just because I keep referring to these patties as burgers doesn’t mean you have to. I think they’d work like a charm tucked into a toasted pita with tzatziki, crumbled feta, and shaved red onions.
If you’ve guided them down the gluten-free path, you’ve probably already thought to swap in your favorite GF rolled oats and flour, and your favorite wheat-free buns if you’re going the burger route.
The chili powder blend brings a subtle smokiness, but a dash of cumin would also do the trick. How will you spice up these squash patties?
Share your tasty tricks in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
For more flavor-packed recipes where veggies take center stage between bread, give these hearty handhelds a shot:
- Chickpea Veggie Burgers
- Spicy Roasted Portobello Sandwiches with Bell Peppers and Camembert
- Sauteed Mushroom and Thyme Pine Nut Butter Sandwiches
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on October 21, 2015. Last updated on November 29, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”