As I write this the weather is starting to feel a bit more fall-like. And by the time it publishes it will officially be fall. That means most people will be in full pumpkin spice mode…lattes, cookies, muffins, ice cream, cheesecake, candles, room freshener, potpourri…it’s pumpkin spice overkill if you ask me! I’m much more likely to usher in fall with a trip to an apple orchard than a pumpkin patch, or with a new recipe for something healthy and delicious featuring my fall favorite….butternut squash!
I’d like to take a minute to appreciate this perfect little squash…and to the woman at the grocery store who does not share my affinity for perfect produce…I apologize if I freaked you out with my enthusiasm for this little cutie! 😉
So…back to business. Today I’m sharing a recipe that continues our Cashew Cream Recipe Series, but also one that is perfect for fall because of the flavors and ingredients featured in these Butternut & Quinoa Fritters with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream! Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods because of it’s flavor, obviously, but also because of it’s versatility! It’s equally delicious as an ingredient in a savory dish as it is a sweet one. So while many people are celebrating the arrival of fall with a PSL from Starbucks, I’m celebrating by creating these simple and tasty fritters with another fall favorite – butternut squash!
These fritters are so easy to make because you don’t even have to pre-cook the squash! The ingredients for the fritters are cooked quinoa, raw shredded butternut squash, eggs, garlic, shallots, salt & pepper, panko, and fresh sage, with a little coconut oil for frying. The cashew cream sauce includes cashews, prepared horseradish, fresh sage, and salt & pepper. All in all it’s a pretty humble list of ingredients that yields fantastic fritters!
Sage is one of those herbs that I don’t use a lot, but whenever I do, I wonder why I don’t use it more! Sage has a very earthy and peppery flavor and it pairs perfectly with the butternut in these fritters. Plus the health benefits of sage are quite impressive. It helps keep skin healthy, improves digestion, it’s rich in antioxidants, helps in growth and development of bones, boosts cognitive development and the immune system, and helps to reduce inflammation and overall health! As for the horseradish – I think it’s a love it or hate it thing, and I happen to LOVE it! It’s got several health benefits as well including that it can aid in weight loss, help prevent cancer, and boost the immune system – just to name a few. So the combination of sage and horseradish is not only delicious, but incredibly healthful as well! I love learning about the health benefits of different foods and herbs that I use…it makes me feel even better about living the CEBH Lifestyle!
And if you think the sage and horseradish are packed with health benefits…just wait til I tell you about the rest of the ingredients! Butternut squash helps prevent high blood pressure, promotes regularity, improves eyesight, keeps bones strong, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation, and aids in weight loss! Quinoa is one of the most protein dense foods we can eat, it’s high in fiber, rich in iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin, and manganese. Coconut oil can help you burn fat, helps prevent infections, reduces hunger, improves cholesterol levels, acts as a natural sunscreen, and boosts brain function. WOW!!! Everybody to the kitchen…STAT….it’s time to make some Butternut & Quinoa Fritters with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream!
Tip: Peeling the squash is easily accomplished with a regular vegetable peeler. If you find it’s difficult to hold onto, rest the bottom of the squash in the sink drain while you’re peeling! After the squash is peeled, cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and then shred it. I used my food processor, but you could certainly get the job done with a box grater as well…and you’d get an arm workout at the same time! 😉
Bonus Tip: This recipe calls for 2 cups cooked quinoa which is easily made by combining 1 cup uncooked quinoa with about two cups water, bringing it to a boil, then covering the pan, reducing the heat to low, and simmering approximately 15 minutes – or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. For this recipe I make the quinoa earlier in the day and refrigerate it until I’m ready to make the fritters.
Making these little gems is super simple! Once the butternut is shredded and the quinoa cooked, all the fritter ingredients are mixed together and the fritters are pan-fried in just a smidgen of refined coconut oil until they’re golden and crispy, then set on a paper towel to drain any excess oil! The horseradish & sage cashew cream can be made while the quinoa is cooking, or, preferably it can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve the fritters.
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and shredded
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chiffonade of 5-6 fresh sage leaves
- 3-4 tbsp refined coconut oil for frying
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 2-3 hours, then drained
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
- 2 tbsp prepared horseradish (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
- Filtered water as needed to reach desired sauce consistency
- Combine everything except the coconut oil and mix well.
- In a non-stick pan, melt 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat. When oil is hot and shimmering pack a portion of fritter mixture into an ice cream scoop, gently release into hot oil, and flatten slightly.
- Fry fitters in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. I cooked 4 at a time.
- After 3-5 minutes, when the bottom side is golden brown, turn carefully and continue cooking the flip side another 3-5 minutes until it's golden brown.
- Remove from pan and drain on clean paper towel.
- Continue cooking in this manner, adding small amounts of coconut oil to your pan as needed, until all the fritters are completed.
- Serve immediately with Horseradish & Sage Cashew Cream Sauce.
- In a blender or food processor combine drained cashews, sage, salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp horseradish. Blend on medium speed, adding water a tablespoon at a time until the sauce smooths and is almost the desired consistency.
- Stop the blender and taste the sauce. Add more horseradish if desired, and water if needed, then continue blending until smooth and creamy. (I really like horseradish so I used about 4 tbsp total)
- Store sauce in refrigerator until ready to serve fritters.
- I found a regular sized ice cream scoop was exactly the right portion size for these fritters.
- You might consider making the horseradish and sage cashew cream a day in advance as it keeps well in the refrigerator, and the flavors develop over the course of 24 hours.
- Leftover quinoa would be perfect for this recipe - plan ahead and that's one less ingredient to prepare the day you make the fritters!