I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately that I really can’t explain. Perhaps the heat is getting to me?

I spent the entire day Monday wondering what the heck to make for dinner and wondering why the heck nothing sounded good. Maybe because I just returned from a long weekend in Jacksonville putting down copious amounts of seaweed salad, brisket and brie tacos, and grilled shrimp? I mean, what else compares? More on the Jax trip later.

It took until about 4pm that something finally sounded edible, and go figure, it was only one of the weirdest combinations ever. I didn’t dare mention it to Ben until 5 minutes per serving. (Times like these, I’m thankful he doesn’t ask what’s for dinner and just assumes it will be something good. The other 90% of time I want to pull his hair out for not caring. Good thing he doesn’t have any, that sexy bald guy of mine.)

During my little walks back and forth between the bench press and cable row station, I began to think about squash. And chickpeas. And these Sweet Potato Tahini Burgers I had pinned a while back, vowing to make. (You all know how that goes. But this time I was really gonna do it. Except that I can’t follow a recipe to save my life and I had to make it over with chickpeas and squash and a slew of seasonings the original recipe didn’t call for. But I’m sure it’s really good as written too!)

And then I decided there needed to be grapes involved. And avocado. See, I told you it was weird. And this stuff, I have no idea where it came from but thankfully I didn’t question it and just went with what my hungry gut asked for.

Only just know, as I started typing, I realized something. Maybe I hadn’t really left Jackonsville yet. Not in spirit, anyway. Because down in Jax I insisted that Dawn and I make that Warm Butternut and Chickpea Salad that I was still craving since the last time I made it, for Ben’s birthday dinner. And those brisket tacos? I *just* remembered they had a grape salsa too. And you better believe there was tons of avocado alongside all that grilled shrimp I speak of.

Crazy how that stuff works, right? And crazy how good this was. Seriously.

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Butternut Squash & Chickpea Patties with Grape-Avocado Salsa

Savory squash-based patties with the flavors of falafel, tucked into pita with sweet, crisp grapes and creamy avocado.


Butternut Chickpea Patties
3 cups peeled, diced butternut squash (about 15oz)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, divided
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey (use agave or maple syrup for a vegan option)
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
6 tablespoons chickpea flour
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup loosely-packed cilantro

Avocado-Grape Salsa

2 cups seedless red gapes, halved
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup loosely-packed cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

For serving (optional)

pita or wraps of choice*
baby spinach or other greens

*All ingredients used for the patties and salsa are gluten-free. The pita bread shown in the pictures is not. Please take care to choose a type of bread appropriate for your dietary needs.


Preheat ovent o 425ºF. Arrange squash and garlic on a nonstick, rimmed baking sheet. Mist with olive oil cooking spray. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until tender.

Meanwhile, combine all salsa ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Transfer the cooked squash and garlic to a food processor. Add half of the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, honey, cumin, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Process until nearly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides if needed. Add chickpea flour and blend again. Add remaining chickpeas, onions and cilantro. Pulse to combine, leaving the mixture a bit chunky.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and mist with olive oil cooking spray. Using a 2oz scoop or large spoon, spoon the batter onto the skillet. Flatten slightly using moist hands or a wet rubber spatula (wetting the spatula will prevent the batter from sticking to it.) Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a warm oven while cooking the remaining patties. You should get about 16.

When ready to serve, cut the pita in half and fill each half with baby spinach, 2 patties, and some of the salsa. Or, wrap the fillings in a large soft wrap or simply serve the patties atop your favorite greens.

Nutrition Facts:

Amount Per Serving (includes 4 patties and 1/4 of salsa; does not include optional bread or greens)
Calories 367.6
Total Fat 12.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 564.7 mg
Potassium 844.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 61.1 g
Dietary Fiber 15.4 g
Sugars 15.9 g
Protein 11.9 g