Misconceptions Squashed

squash-pattiesWe cut them up and then toss them to the curb uneaten, we use them as home decor, we even make containers and musical instruments out of them…but we don’t eat very many of them. I’m talking about squash. Poor, overlooked squash. It’s relatively easy to prepare – assuming that you have a sharp and heavy knife – and is inexpensive and tastes buttery-sweet. It pairs well with nearly any dish. Squashes come in all shapes and sizes, too, which makes buying them even more fun. And you can eat the seeds! Not many veggies offer that kind of two-for-one deal.

I used buttercup squash for this dish, but you can use whatever winter squash you like: pumpkin, butternut, acorn, etc. I prefer buttercup because it’s easier to cut up. Specifically, its squarish shape gives you nice flat surfaces (pumpkins and butternuts are more rounded), and since it has relatively smooth sides (unlike the fluted edges on an acorn squash), it’s easy to trim away the skin with a sharp knife. The grain is up to you, too – you don’t have to stick with the buckwheat I used. Quinoa, brown rice, millet, or any other medium-sized grain would work. (Amaranth and teff are a bit too diminutive for this recipe.

Squash, Buckwheat & Green Onion Patties

1 buttercup squash

3/4 cup raw buckwheat (despite the name, this has nothing to do with wheat and is gluten-free)

3 stalks celery, choppped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 green onions, minced

Zest AND juice of 1 orange

2-3 tsp. dried sage (I like a lot of sage, but you might not)

Pinch sea salt

1 egg, preferably from pastured hens

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the buttercup squash in half and scoop out the seeds, either discarding them or reserving them if you’d like to roast them later on. (Rinse well, drain, toss with unrefined peanut oil and sea salt, and spread them out on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Bake at 325F for about 7 minutes or until golden brown.) Place the squashes on a baking sheet with the cut side facing up. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft enough to be easily pierced with a knife. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

While the squash is baking, prepare the buckwheat: simmer in 1 1/2 cups water for 10 to 12 minutes or until the grains are tender to the tooth. Set aside.

Heat a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat and sautée the celery and yellow onion for 5 minutes or until onion is turning translucent. Add remaining ingredients except for the egg and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then stir in the cooked buckwheat. Remove from heat.

By now, your squash is probably cool to the touch. Scoop out the flesh with a large spoon, leaving the skin behind, and add to the buckwheat mixture. Add the egg at this point, too. Mix well and form into patties, each one about 4″ across.

Using the same skillet you used to cook the celery and onions, sautée the patties in batches, drizzling in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and cooking over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side. The goal is to have the patties turn golden-brown; you may have to cook them for more or less time depending on how hot your stove gets. I always find that the second batch cooks more quickly than the first.

Serve immediately. Leftover patties can be refrigerated for up to a week and eaten either chilled or re-sautéed. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making patties, you can simply stop one step before the patty-making and serve this as Mashed Buttercup & Buckwheat. See how easy it is to tweak a recipe?


Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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  1. Lisa, I love squash, and I used to grow when I had a house and a really nice vegetable garden. This is a really nice recipe, too; I like buckwheat and green onions. Thank you for posting this.

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