Poor pumpkin. Often underestimated and under appreciated, this winter squash usually makes a short debut each year. In October, it sits on a porch, gutted and glowing, only to be oogled, not to be eaten. Then in November, pumpkin gets a promotion and takes center stage on tables in the unrivaled meal of all meals: Thanksgiving.
It is the star performer in the climatic ending to the feast, leaving many of us holding up our lighters begging for an encore! And then, like a one-hit-wonder it is soon forgotten becoming a distant memory until the following year.
It is truly a shame to enjoy this edible orange orb only once or twice a year. Pumpkin is an incredibly nutritious vegetable, loaded with vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene), known to protect against certain cancers, heart disease and early signs of aging. Pumpkin is also filled with fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins C and E. Despite its rather high carbohydrate content, it has an incredibly low glycemic index load. And when plentiful in the fall, it can be canned or frozen and stored for later use.
In these Vegetarian Tex-Mex Patties pumpkin acts more like a back up singer, not really taking front stage with flavor but certainly adding incredible moisture and texture to the dish. These patties are kid-friendly and a terrific option for a fast meal. You can place uncooked patties in the freezer in a zip-top bag. When ready to prepare, grab a few out of the freezer and pop straight into a skillet to brown and serve. Enjoy these Vegetarian Tex-Mex Patties over a bed of lettuce for a satisfying vegetarian meal or serve as a side dish.
Vegetarian Tex-Mex Patties
- 2 slices leftover bread (I used bread from Breadsmith Bakery, St. Louis, MO)
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped (or yellow or orange if you want to disguise in patty)
- 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (hopefully saved from the summer harvest from your local grower)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (I got mine at Maude's Market, St. Louis, MO)
- 1 tsp. each chili powder and cumin
- 1 egg (Spark's Farm, Warrenton, MO)
- 1/2 cup pureed or canned pumpkin (Hilty's Bee Yards, Bowling Green, MO)
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 pat butter
- Crumble bread slices by pulsing in a food processor until course bread crumbs form.
- In a medium sized skillet, heat oil and saute onion, pepper and corn until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook for one more minute; remove from heat.
- Meanwhile in a medium bowl, mix together the bread, parsley and cheese. In a large bowl mix together egg, pumpkin and ricotta. Add in the bread mixture, salt and pepper.
- Carefully shape about 1/3 cup of mixture into six-seven patties. Dredge patties in breadcrumbs and refrigerate for at least one hour (or freeze for later use with wax paper between patties to separate).
- When ready to enjoy, melt butter in large skillet and fry patties until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side (or 4 minutes each side if frozen).