Butternut Squash Burgers

Butternut squash adds a touch of sweetness to this vegetarian burger as it compliments the nutty chickpeas, toasted walnuts, fried sage leaves and blue cheese. This hearty burger pairs well with a simple side salad.

Veggie burgers are so easy to make and these homemade patties taste a million times better than any of the frozen varieties. If you have never had a homemade vegetarian burger, you are in for a treat. And speaking of frozen patties, leftovers freeze well for a quick meal down the road.

1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon butter
7 fresh sage leaves
1 can (15.5 ounces) no salt added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup quick cooking oats
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces blue cheese crumbles
¼ cup mayonnaise
⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
Spring mix lettuce, for serving
8 whole wheat buns


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. On a large baking sheet, add butternut squash and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to evenly coat before arranging squash in a single layer. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes until tender and lightly brown, flipping with a spatula halfway through cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a food processor, combine the squash, chickpeas, egg, garlic, oats, walnuts, salt and pepper. Crumble the fried sage leaves into the mixture. Pulse until thoroughly combined, and form into 8 patties.
  4. Spray a nonstick skillet, grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook the burgers for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Top with an equal amount of blue cheese crumbles after you flip the burger, this will allow time for just enough melting to keep the cheese in place.
  5. While butternut squash burgers cook, whisk together mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar. Set balsamic mayo aside until ready to serve.
  6. Serve butternut squash burgers on whole wheat buns spread with balsamic mayo and topped with desired amount of spring mix lettuce.

Serves: 8

Winter Vegetable Tacos

These vegetarian tacos, featuring winter squash, are comfort food you can feel good about devouring. I use butternut squash, but any winter squash would work well paired with Tex-Mex spices and heart-healthy beans. Enjoy as a meal or serve as tapas for your next gathering. Leftovers are excellent the next day or could be transformed into a delicious salad served over your favorite leafy greens with a few crushed tortilla chips for a little crunch.

Taco Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1(14.5 ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 lime
¼ cup chopped cilantro
12 soft corn tortilla shells

Topping Ingredients:
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
4 ounces cotija cheese, crumbled


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place squash cubes on a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and toss to evenly coat. Roast for 20 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, make smoky cream sauce by combining sour cream and yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Add smoked paprika and garlic, stirring until well mixed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Add beans to roasting pan with squash and toss to combine. Continue roasting for 5 more minutes, until beans are heated. Drizzle the juice of one lime and sprinkle cilantro over squash and bean mixture.
  4. Warm a couple of taco shells at a time in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Fill corn tortillas with an equal amount of squash and bean mixture and top with smokey cream sauce, avocado and cotija cheese.

Servings: 6

Broccoli Cheese Curd Frittatas

Cheese curds are delicious nuggets of freshly made cheddar cheese that actually squeak in your mouth, when you eat them soon after they are produced. There are cheese factories throughout Wisconsin where you can find warm cheese curds made daily. All cheddar cheeses actually begin as curds before they are formed into blocks or wheels and aged.

After a recent Wisconsin visit, I brought home some cheese curds and decided to explore cooking with them. I paired these with broccoli and eggs for individual frittatas with gooey gobs of fresh cheese in each one. If you cannot find cheese curds, you can substitute cubed cheddar.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and chopped
1½ cups cheese curds
8 eggs
1 cup skim or low-fat milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté a couple of minutes, until it starts to soften. Add broccoli and sauté until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. You may need to add a couple of tablespoons of water to the skillet to prevent sticking.
  3. Break large cheese curds into bite size pieces and place in a medium bowl. Stir vegetables in with cheese curds and fill the muffin tin with an equal amount of the mixture.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and cheese curds, filling each cup to the rim.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until frittata tops are lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: An ice cream scoop is a great tool to use for adding the frittata mixture to the muffin tins. Fill each cup with one scoop and avoid messy spills.

Servings: 12