The pairing of burger and squash doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as peanut butter and jelly. Yet operators are experimenting with squash-topped burgers and squash patties using a variety of gourd types, including spaghetti squash, kabocha, butternut, pumpkin and zucchini.
According to Technomic’s Burger Consumer Trend Report, three in four consumers would be more likely to purchase burgers and burger ingredients that are considered premium, and about half say they would be willing to pay more for these items (47%). After high-quality meat, high-quality vegetable toppings is the attribute that consumers most associate with premium burgers.
Why squash on burgers now? Since the veggie noodle boom, there’s certainly been a lot of focus on innovative gourd usages. Plus, it’s relatively cheap in season and provides flavor and texture variations to burgers depending on the type and preparation of squash.
Here are five burgers showcasing squash.
Ruby Tuesday’s Big Sur Turkey Burger featured a turkey patty topped with red onion, tomato, avocado, spaghetti squash, field greens and Italian dressing. The $6.99 burger was offered Oct. 3-9 as part of the chain’s Burger Road Show promotion, which spotlighted one burger a week from Sept. 19 to Oct. 30.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Hopdoddy Burger Bar’s The Great Kabocha Burger Special featured two different squashes in two versions—a kabocha patty and pumpkin butter. The patty was topped with jalapeno slaw, pepper jack cheese, spicy pumpkin butter, tomato, cilantro and chipotle mayonnaise on a wheat bun. The burger was available Oct. 24 through Nov. 6.
Left Bank Burger Bar; Jersey City, N.J.
The New Jersey restaurant spotlighted its In Gourd We Trust burger for October. The burger featured a beef patty, mozzarella, fried spaghetti squash, roasted tomato, kale, red onion and garlic-herb mayonnaise. By frying the spaghetti squash, Executive Chef Joon Han added crunch with an unexpected ingredient.
Kuma’s Corner; Schaumburg, Ill.
In its Schaumburg, Ill., location, Kuma’s Corner featured a Squash Bowl Burger as its burger of the month special for October. The burger featured a beef patty topped with fried butternut squash shavings, a seafood and cheese cake with seasonal vegetables, and a raspberry-maple aioli.
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe’s Cauliflower Burger features a patty made with cauliflower, garlic, egg, goat cheese, oregano and breadcrumbs, topped with zucchini, yellow squash, Monterey Jack cheese, arugula, tomato and aioli on a brioche bun. While the cauliflower patty and goat cheese are new SKUs, the remaining ingredients are cross-utilized. For example, the zucchini and squash accompany Hard Rock’s core veggie burger, the Veggie Leggie. The burger goes for $10.95, $4 cheaper than all of the chain’s other burgers. As part of the chain’s limited-time vegetarian menu, the Cauliflower Burger is available Oct. 3 through Nov. 13.