Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Hokkaido Fries & Black Bean Burgers
I got home very late today and was busy with study work, so I wanted dinner I could make in the oven and that would involve a minimal amount of dishes and chopping.

I got this beautiful Hokkaido squash at the veggie festival last weekend...

While Hokkaido squash can be stored for a really long time, even in room temperature (last year I had one sitting on my kitchen counter from September until February, and it was still good!), this one had a couple of small bruises on the skin, and I was afraid it would start going bad. Good excuse to use some of it for dinner today! I love Hokkaido squash because it is so easy to prepare: it is easy to cut (unlike many of the harder varieties, such as Butternut), it cooks fast, and - most importantly - you can eat the skin.

I started by washing the squash properly, and then cutting it in half lengthwise. I saved the bigger half for later, and used the smaller half to make fries for two people.

Hokkaido "fries" are one of my favorite things to make whenever I get a Hokkaido squash. They are very tasty, and most of all, extremely easy to make. Start by scooping out the seeds and the stringy pulp in the center, and remove the stem (still attached in the picture below).

Cut the half into u-shaped pieces, about 1/2 inch thick.

Now you can simply place these on a baking sheet and spray with oil. Since I don't have an oil mister (one of those things I didn't want to carry when moving abroad, and that I still keep postponing to buy), I either place the squash pieces into a bowl or a freezer bag, along with the oil and spices, and mix to coat. For spices, I used garlic powder, pinch of black pepper, and some sesame salt. You could also add other peppers, chili powder, regular sea salt, or whatever spices you like on your fries.

While the fries were in the oven, I prepared "Lazy Girl's Bean Burgers". You can use any beans and vegetables you have on hand. I frequently make these with kidney beans or brown or green lentils.

Just mash the beans with a potato masher, but not too mushy. There should be a few whole beans in between. It should look about like this:

This time, I was tired and only added a couple of grated carrots; but I would often use bell pepper, grated zucchini, or some mushrooms as well. Mix in the spices and bread crumbs, and form into patties. This amount makes about 6 smallish ones, but you can also make them bigger or easily cut the recipe in half, if you're only cooking for one or two people. I like to make a bigger batch so I can eat them for lunch the following days, and they also freeze quite well.

Since I call these the lazy girl's burgers and hate frying and watching over anything, I usually make these in the oven. However, this time I had the Hokkaido fries occupying my small oven, so I cooked them in a frying pan instead.

Hokkaido fries  
(3 portions)

  • One half of a Hokkaido squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 1-2 gloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • sesame salt or sea salt
Wash the Hokkaido squash, and scoop out the seeds and pulp.
Cut into u-shaped wedges, about 1/2 inches (about 1,5 cm) thick.
Place the wedges into a bowl or a bag, add the oil and spices, and mix well to coat everything.
Spread the pieces evenly on a baking sheet, and bake in 225 C oven for about 25 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Serve immediately.

Lazy Girl's Bean Burgers
(6 small or 3 big patties)
  • 1-1/4 cups beans of choice (black beans, kidney beans, brown lentils or green lentils work well; if using chickpeas, add some of their liquid and mash them a little more than you would other beans)
  • 1/3 cup spelt bread crumbs 
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worchestershire sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha or other hot sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp thyme
  • pinch of black pepper 
Mash beans with a potato masher (or a fork), and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Wet your hands and form the mixture into patties the size you want.  Place them on a baking sheet and bake in 200-225 C oven for about 20 minutes, flipping them midway through. If cooking on a frying pan, spray the pan with cooking spray and let cook on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes on each side, until brown and firm.

*You can replace all the spices with those of your own choice, but please note that if you replace the liquid seasonings (tomato, soy sauce, Worchestershire sauce, chili sauce) with dry seasonings, you should also reduce the amount of bread crumbs accordingly, probably to 1/4 cup or so, or add a couple of tablespoons of water.

*200 C = about 400 F
*225 C = about 450 F
(The right temperature will depend on your oven. My oven is small and not so powerful, so I often use a little higher temperature than I'd use in a "normal" oven).


I assembled the burger on some organic Finnish rye bread I got in Sweden (my favorite rye bread - and I have tried quite a few. Strangely enough, this is made in Finland but apparently not sold in Finland; and sadly, not sold in Denmark, either). 

I used a little ketchup on the bottom, and topped with cucumber, tomato, fresh basil, parsley, and avocado. Often I would also use some chili mushrooms, jalapeno, bell pepper, or any other veggies I have on hand. 


Good night to you all! :) 
posted by Seglare at Wednesday, September 01, 2010 | Permalink |


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