Monday, January 17, 2011

Burgers with Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onions

This week's building block recipe is caramelized onions. The batch makes enough for two meals, this one and the pork tenderloin with caramelized onions. If you're like me, you just can't get enough of the onion's gooey sweetness. This burger was moist and full of flavor. I combined nitrate-free Italian sausage with grass-fed ground beef, mixed in a few ingredients I had on hand, and added just a bit of spice. It was a great balance to the sweetness of the butternut squash and caramelized onions. If you are making this when you don't have caramelized onions on hand and have no time to make them, just substitute grilled onions--any type will work, but Vidalia is probably the best substitute. I also made the butternut squash in advance--you can make it a couple days ahead and just warm it up before serving. Enjoy any leftover butternut squash mixed in with your eggs at breakfast or top with cinnamon and eat it with a spoon for a snack. This is a hearty burger with all of the meat and veggies in the main course. I just added a few raw carrots on the side. Enjoy!

Serves 6.

1 lb nitrate-free, bulk Italian sausage
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1 tsp (2 cloves) minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 egg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Toppings and Garnish
1 small to medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 - 1 cup caramelized onions
large lettuce leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a large, rimmed baking dish. Add butternut squash and toss gently to coat.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
  4. Process in a food processor until pureed.
    NOTE: This can all be done in advance. Try to get it done the night before or morning of the meal to simplify your life.
  5. While squash is cooking, preheat grill to medium high. Mix sausage and ground beef in a large bowl until they are well combined.
  6. Add garlic, onion, red pepper, egg, and red pepper flakes. Stir with a spoon or use your hands to thoroughly combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide mixture into 6 patties. Drizzle each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  8. Grill burgers to your desired degree of doneness, about 5 minutes on each side.
  9. To serve, divide lettuce leaves evenly among plates. Top with a burger. Spoon pureed squash on top and then add caramelized onions.


  1. I got to try this particular meal and I must saw I did not even notice it had no bun. I cannot even begin to describe how good this burger was.

  2. Beth from Crossfit FreedomAugust 18, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Round #3 for burgers with butternut squash and carmelized onions this week!!! Our favorite! I can just eat the carmelized onions like candy! I even make a double receipe when I make it for leftovers the next day for lunch:) The best combo ever! Thanks again, Pam.

  3. Thanks, Beth! You are now a bigger pro at making this recipe than I am! The onions are dangerously good, aren't they? Maybe they can take the place of your G&P craving? ;-) I really appreciate the great comments!

  4. Beth from Crossfit FreedomNovember 13, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Pam, always my pleasure! I do not think anything can take place of the G&P craving? Although the craving is fading:))))

  5. Amazing burger! Best I've ever had!

    1. Thanks, Anon! I can't even tell you how much I love this burger! I'm glad you do, too. Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Can this get any better? Yum-O!So thankful to have found your site!

    1. Hi, Tasha! This is hands-down my favorite burger. Glad you like it, too! Good to hear from you. :)