February 4, 2012

Spicy Butternut Squash Fries & Black Bean Quinoa Burgers.

“Americans will consume 1.25 billion chicken wings on game day alone. That’s over 100 million pounds of bird.”

It’s been high 70s and feeling like summer in Southern California so I’ve been itching for some of my favorite recipes that rival the classic, summer-timey BBQ burgers. I thought with the Super Bowl coming up, these could be the perfect game day dishes. And it’s all (basically) vegan. I add cheese to the burgers, but you don’t have to.

Spicy Baked Butternut Squash Fries 

Peel butternut squash. Cut in half and remove seeds (you can set the seeds aside, add some seasoning and bake). Slice in strips. Toss with extra virgin olive oil in a big bowl. Add some thyme, garlic salt, pepper and chili flakes. Pop in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes—flipping halfway through for even cooking—or until your desired done-ness, I like mine a little extra crispy.

Easy as that. Serve with ketchup, balsamic vinegar, bbq sauce, whatever dips get you going.

I play fast and loose when it comes to cooking and usually toss spices around so hopefully my measurestimates are close enough. But if you don’t like spicy, go for some dried oregeno, thyme, basil, salt and/or pepper, or keep it simple with limited spices.

Black Bean & Red Quinoa Burgers


1 Cup Quinoa (measured out when dried). I like using red quinoa or the tri-color blend, but any will work just fine.

1 Onion, chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 15 oz. Can Black Beans

1 Egg, Beaten (This could be substituted out for a vegan alternative. The egg helps bind the burgers together but a vegan alternative would work).

1 Cup Flour (Whole Wheat, Quinoa, or Buckwheat flour are my faves).


1 Tsp Cumin

1 Tbsp Chili Powder

1 Tbsp Chipotle Powder

1 Tbsp Chili Flakes

1 Dash of Cinnamon

1 4 oz. Can of Green Chilis

1 Handful of Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1 Tsp of Garlic Salt

1/2 Baked Yam (If you want to add the yam, add in the baked, chopped yam with the other ingredients in step 3).

1. Cook quinoa by following the directions on the package. Or if you buy bulk, bring two cups of water with one cup quinoa and a dash of salt to a boil. Add lid and turn heat down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the chopped onion in some olive oil, about 5-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic for the last few minutes, just long enough so it cooks slightly, but don’t let the garlic burn (it’ll get bitter).

3. Move cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl. Add drained and washed black beans (and chilis, if you’re using them) to the quinoa in a large bowl. Add the sautéd onion and garlic, and all spices and herbs to the quinoa mixture. Add egg and flour, mix everything together until well blended. (For smooth-textured burgers, you can mix everything in a blender or food processor).

4. With hands, mold quinoa mixture into burger-sized balls. Place balls on slightly greased oven pan and pop into preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Flip and cook for another 15, add slices of cheese on top of the burgers the last 5 minutes, if you want.

Top with greens, avocado, ketchup, mayo, mustard…anything you’d like.

This might not be traditional Super Bowl food, but to me, this beats chicken wings!

Bonus: Jalapeño Lime Cooler

I love this fun, spicy cocktail. Check it out at Tomato Tart.


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