Vegetarian Burger with Winter Squash & Greek Fava


Veggie burgers have a bad rap because they are usually tasteless. Not so this burger, with greek yellow split pea puree, called fava, and winter squash. There is an underlying natural sweetness in the burger thanks to the squash, onions, and mint. TFor a lovingly curated array of Greek ingredients to pair with this recipe, check out my online store here.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated fresh pumpkin Calabasa or other winter squash
  • Salt
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups greek Fava yellow split pea puree
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped (about a cup)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin or more, to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup crumbled Greek feta
  • 1 large egg slightly beaten
  • 1/2 - 1 cup breadcrumbs or ground walnuts as needed

For the Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups liquid from draining the pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cumin
  • 1 tablespoons balsamic

For Garnish

  • Crumbled feta and any green of choice such as arugula, microgreens, or valeriana
  • Olive oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Make sure the pumpkin is grated on the coarse side of a hand grater or by using the coarse grater attachment on a food processor.
  2. Place the pumpkin in a colander and place the colander over a bowl. Sprinkle and knead the pumpkin with about 1 1/2 teaspoons of coarse salt. Leave it to drain for at least an hour or up to 3 hours, pressing it occasionally. Do not discard the liquid.
  3. Combine the grated, drained pumpkin in a mixing bowl with the fava*, herbs, onion, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Add crumbled feta and the egg. Mix everything and slowly add either breadcrumbs, or, if you want to keep the dish gluten-free, the walnuts, in increments of 1/4 cup, until the mixture is dense enough to hold its shape when formed into a 3-inch/7.5-cm in diameter burger.
  4. Shape 4 to 6 burgers with the mixture.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. WHen the oil is hot, place 2 - 4 burgers (as many as will fit comfortably) in the frying pan. Cook over medium heat, covered, until the bottom is golden and crisp. Carefully flip each burger with a spatula to cook on the other side. Total cooking time is about 15 minutes.
  6. While the pumpkin burgers are cooking, make the sauce. Place the pumpkin juice, brown sugar, orange juice, salt, cumin and balsamic in a small sauce pan and heat over medium flame, stirring frequently, until the mixture cooks down to the consistency of syrup. You can make it thin or more viscous, depending on your own preference.
  7. To serve: Serve with or without a burger bun or piece of toasted whole-wheat or regular pita bread. Garnish with the greens and sprinkle with feta. Drizzle the sauce decoratively around the plate.

Notes

Check out the recipe for Greek fava here

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