Recipe: Winter Squash Patties

About this time of year, most of us have some winter squashes kicking around, waiting to be used up before spring.  Here’s a great way to put them to good use.  Simply roast up a double batch for dinner one night and then, a couple nights later, you’ll be set to make patties.

Two Recipe Formats for Your Convenience  While this recipe is written in the usual detailed form, it is first written in an abbreviated format that shows how simple cooking can be with a few healthy cooking basics under your belt.  No need to struggle through a lot of details if you already know how to roast squash, saute aromatics, fry in a healthful amount of oil and so on.  With the “details struggle” eliminated, presto!  Healthy cooking becomes easeful and enjoyable.  Interested in  this kind of cooking?  Join one of our Whole Kitchen meal making classes where we learn helpful “cooking Legos” that can be mixed and matched to make hundreds of easy, delicious, wholesome dishes.

Basic Recipe Offers Lots of Room for Innovation  This recipe is also what we call a “recipe basic.”  The advantage of a good recipe basic is that it can easily be varied to make 10 or 20 recipes.  E.g., this recipe can easily be varied into an Indian style dish by substituting Indian for the savory spices called for.  The patties can also be topped differently for variety.  See below for a couple suggestions.  Learning to customize and vary recipes is another skill we learn in our Whole Kitchen meal making classes.

What Kind of Squash to Use  While any of the winter squash will work, the sweet flavor of kabocha and butternut make a very nice dish.  Acorn and carnival can be fairly dry and bland, so if you must use some up, try to mix in some of the more flavorful varieties, like the kabocha, butternut, delicata or dumpling.  Also, be sure to adjust the seasonings depending on the flavor (or lack thereof) in your squash.  Stronger flavors and more salt can help perk up a unexciting squash.

Squash Patties (Abbreviated Version)

Saute aromatics until onion is lightly browned and celery is tender but still a little crunchy.  Then saute garlic, herbs and spices for another minute or two.

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 med onion, diced to 1/4”
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced to 1/4”
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. dried leaf thyme
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 2 shakes cayenne pepper

Mix sauteed aromatics with the following in a large mixing bowl:

  • 2 cups lightly packed, roasted squash pieces, roughly 1” square
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup dry, whole grain breadcrumbs (plus 1-2 Tbsp. additional if needed)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Form mixture into 3″ patties, adding an extra tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs if mixture is too runny.

Fry patties in olive oil, then serve with one of the optional toppings, as desired.

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, as needed for frying
  • Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce (optional topping)
  • Salsa (optional topping)

Makes 12 to 15 patties to serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish

The “Unwritten Code:”  These are the kind of healthy cooking basics we learn in Whole Kitchen meal making classes that make healthy cooking not only easy but delicious:

  • How to heat a pan and saute in minimal amounts of fat for magnificent flavor
  • What kind of pan is good for sauteing:  size, shape, kind
  • The order in which to add ingredients
  • How to bring out the best flavor of garlic, herbs and spices
  • How to avoid burning them
  • How to roast squash for best flavor
  • How to easily cut and seed hard winter squashes.
  • How to quickly remove the flesh of a roasted squash
  • How to adjust spices to make a dish perfectly suited to your tastes
  • How to modify a dish for variety

Without this unwritten code, recipes must be more detailed (and still don’t cover all the tricks and tips for the most flavorful cooking!)

Squash Patties (Detailed Version)

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus an extra teaspoon for garlic and spices
  • 1 med onion, diced to 1/4”
  • 2 large stalks celery, diced to 1/4”
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. dried leaf thyme
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 2 shakes cayenne pepper

Saute Aromatics and Herbs  Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat until fairly hot but not smoking.  Add onion and saute about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until just becoming translucent.  Add celery and continue cooking and stirring about 8 to 10 more minutes, until onion is lightly browned and celery is tender but still a little crunchy.

Push vegetables to sides of pan.  Into the open center of pan pour the additional teaspoon of oil and warm.  Add garlic to warmed oil and cook another minute.  Add spices and cook just another minute or two, then stir everything together and remove pan from heat.

  • 2 cups lightly packed, roasted squash pieces, roughly 1” square
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup dry, whole grain breadcrumbs (plus 1-2 Tbsp. additional if needed)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Make Squash Mixture  In a large mixing bowl, lightly mash squash pieces with a large fork, leaving a little texture.  Make a hole in center of squash, add eggs and beat well.  Add breadcrumbs and salt and pepper along with vegetable-spice mixture, then stir well to combine everything.  If possible, allow to sit for 15 to 30 minutes for flavors to meld.

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil, as needed for frying
  • Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce (optional topping)
  • Salsa (optional topping)

Form and Fry Patties  When ready to form patties, stir squash mixture thoroughly, adding an extra tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs if mixture is too runny.  Form mixture into 12-15 patties, about 3” in diameter, and lay on a couple dinner plates.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan or griddle over medium heat, then brush with oil and continue heating until a small amount of batter sizzles when poured onto pan.  Lay a single layer of patties in heated pan, being careful not to crowd them.  Cook 3 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, then remove to a plate.  If desired, keep in a warm oven.  Repeat, using more oil as necessary, until patties are all cooked.

Serve  Serve patties on a platter, with a topping or two on the side, if desired.

The Toppings:  While a ready made cranberry sauce or salsa can be served with good results, this dish can go gourmet by serving with our Cranberry Fig Relish or Orange Tomatilla Salsa.   Email for the recipes.

Make as an Appetizer  Make 2” patties for a healthful appetizer that doesn’t rely on the usual blend of bread and cheese for good taste.

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