A few weeks ago, after Ryan and I went to Kew Gardens, we went to the pub with a few friends. It wasn’t anything special, just a pint or two to relax with at the end of the weekend. While we were there I glanced over the menu and saw they had a butternut squash and beet burger with goat cheese. I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t order it, but I thought it sounded delicious.
I decided I wanted to try to make it for myself, and I decided the perfect time would be while Ryan was in South Africa. Along with Greek salad, veggie burgers are a food I eat when I’m by myself. I used to eat veggie burgers all the time when I lived alone and was in graduate school. They were cheap, quick, and easy to make and eat. My favorite was a black bean burger, and you can find the recipe on a blog my friends and I used to write together. But, I eat veggie burgers when I’m on my own, because Ryan tends to like something heartier for dinner. And I get it, for most people a burger has to have meat.
I have two reasons for liking veggie burgers. First, ingredients are inexpensive so you can make a lot without spending a ton. Second, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my body because I’m eating so many veggies at once. I also think burgers, meat or veggie, are a good way to get creative with flavors. You can throw in whatever herbs, spices, and sauces you like and as long as you can squish it all into a patty – you’ve got a burger.
This particular burger has a softer texture than a regular burger. However, it will hold its shape and when you take a bite it won’t fall out of the back of the bun. Isn’t that the worst? Taking a bite, having everything fall out, and then having to reassemble your food? Hate that. This burger isn’t like that. I like this burger a lot and I hope you will too. The shredded beets add a slight crunchy texture, the butternut squash is smooth, some goat cheese adds creaminess, and a splash of balsamic adds a sweet tang. So good. Try it. Forgo the red meat for this red burger.
Messy level: Beets make a big mess, there’s no getting around it. Your cutting board will get dyed when you slice off the ends and your hands will get dyed when you peel them. If you have a food processor, use that to shred the beets so that all the juice and mess will stay confined. If you use a box grater, you’re likely to spray tiny red bits everywhere.
- 2 cups cube butternut squash
- olive oil
- 2 medium beets
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 oz/2 tablespoons goat cheese, plus extra for crumbling
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 buns
- balsamic vinegar
- Heat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil. Toss until all the squash is coated.
- Put the butternut squash in the oven and roast until fork tender. This should take about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your cubes.
- While the squash is roasting, cut the ends off the beets, then peel them. Grate the beets and set aside. Use the large holes on your grater, the beets don't need to be finely shredded.
- Take the squash out of the oven and let it cool until you can handle it easily.
- Transfer the squash to a large bowl. Wipe off the baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Set it aside, you'll need it later. Also, don't turn the oven off. You'll need that too.
- Now back to the large bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the squash until ¾ smooth. It's ok to have some lumps, that adds texture and helps hold the burgers together.
- Add the shredded beets, garlic, salt, and pepper, to the squash. Mix it all together.
- Now add the goat cheese and panko to your mixture. Mix gently so that everything is incorporated but you haven't squashed up the goat cheese or bread crumbs too much.
- Make 4 large patties. Put them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the patties for 30 minutes.
- Remove for the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Place the patty on the bun, top with extra goat cheese crumbles, lettuce, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.