Butternut Squash Apple Burger

You know what is awesome about eating plant based? All the endless possibilities of food you get to eat! I eat more of a variety now than I ever did while eating animal foods. Just take the burger, for example. I mean, sure you could top a meat burger with different things. But stripped down, a burger is a burger is a burger when you are eating one made from a cow.

But VEGGIE burgers?! You can make them so many different ways, and in doing so, you get an abundance (and variety!) of nutrition all while still enjoying what has become a staple food, at least in America it has.

Recently I saw an idea to use butternut squash and apple to make a burger. I was intrigued! My first attempt, though it tasted amazing, was kind of a fail, because it was more like a sloppy joe than a burger. I guess that’s ok, if a sloppy joe is what you’re after, but I wanted something that stayed together and had the consistency of a traditional burger.

I find that this burger is a bit softer than all-meat burgers or veggie burgers but with the recipe below it will stay together and not crumble out of the bun (like a sloppy joe). And the taste is incredible!

What I love about eating veggie burgers is that with every ingredient there is nutritive value to it. It is working for you. With meat burgers, there really is no nutritive value to them (and could even be doing the body harm – working against you. Just read The China Study if you want more information about the damaging effects of animal protein.).

Yes, animal protein is a “complete protein”, however, that just means more work for your body! Since these amino acids are already built up into a complex array of complete protein strains, your body needs to break it all down into separate amino acids before utilizing them. This significantly slows down digestion, and forces your body to work harder on breaking down protein than it should have to. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and romaine lettuce, for example, are rich in ready to use and easily absorbed amino acids. When you fuel yourself on foods that are easier to digest, your body can direct more energy into healing and repairing your body.

So what good is there in butternut squash? Why did I want to give that a try?? Butternut squash has 500mg of potassium per 1 cup serving. That potassium can help prevent high blood pressure. And with 7 grams of fiber per serving you are sure to stay regular. And did you know that 1 serving of squash has over 350% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A? Talk about good for your eyesight! Butternut squash has 17% of your RDA in manganese which helps maintain a healthy bone structure and assists the body in absorbing more calcium. The vitamin C in squash takes part in the production of collagen which is also important for building bone mass. (Other minerals found in squash, such as iron, folate, and zinc, all contribute to bone health and protect against osteoporosis.) Vitamin C also boosts immune function. And because of the antioxidant content in squash, it may even reduce inflammation. Inflammation leads to disease and ageing, so reducing inflammation is a big deal. You don’t need me to tell you that animal proteins cause inflammation. See what I mean, these veggie burgers can work for you, not against you.

As you can see, there are so many reasons to make your meals out of plants! With this dish pictured, I topped our burgers with homemade ketchup, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and caramelized onions and served it along side some oven roasted asparagus. A simple and delicious meal!

You can find the recipe for the buns here.

Burgers:

2 cups brown rice, cooked

3 cups diced butternut squash

2 cups granny smith apples

Himalayan sea salt & pepper, to taste

2 tbsp dried thyme

1/4 cup brown rice flour (alternatively you could use gluten free bread crumbs)

  1. Slice, peel and dice butternut squash and roast in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes on a baking sheet.
  2. While squash is roasting, dice apples. After the squash has roasted for 15 minutes, add the diced apples to the baking sheet and roast another 30 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool. Once cool, place squash and apples in a food processor and pulse it a few times. Then add the cooked rice. I generally cook my rice ahead of time in a crock pot so it’s ready when I need it. Pulse a few more times.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the flour, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  5. Shape into patties and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side either in a large skillet or on a griddle.

Roasted Asparagus:

1 bunch asparagus spears

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Place asparagus in a mixing bowl and toss the spears with remaining ingredients.
  3. Place on baking sheet and and bake for about 12-15 minutes, until tender.

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