Last night my book club met at my house so I needed to come up with some new appetizers. Now, these women are discriminating when it comes to both books and food, so I needed to find something worthy of their expert palettes. Based on the comments and requests for the recipe, I think the Cauliflower-Sweet Potato Croquettes made the cut😋. They are healthy, vegan, really tasty and book club approved!
These little patties or Croquettes have a sweet spicy flavor (from the sweet potatoes), a crunchy coating (thanks to Panko) and a soft interior. You can serve with a homemade or store bought sauce/dip if you like though they are good all by themselves, too. I did not have time to make a sauce so I served them with my favorite spread from Trader Joe’s – Roasted Red Pepper Spread. Good stuff!
I found the basic recipe for these in a Better Homes & Garden magazine so don’t get full credit for inventing it, but I made some modifications to make it vegan and changed the spices completely so here is my version of the recipe. It may sound like a long recipe but you can make the mixture ahead of time, fry them and let them sit for as long as you want, then just bake for 20 minutes before serving. A very convenient recipe, especially if you are making other things, arranging flowers or cleaning your house in between cooking appetizers😃.
RECIPE for CAULIFLOWER-SWEET POTATO CROQUETTES (makes 25-35 croquettes, depending on their size)
- 1 small head cauliflower
- 4-5 small sweet potatoes
- 1 onion (red or white)
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 egg for non-vegans (optional)
- 1 TBSP smoked paprika (you can use less but it’s my favorite spice so I go heavy with it)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne red pepper
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- S & P To taste
- 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup peanut oil (for frying)
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- Wash and core the cauliflower, cut into florets, toss with a bit of olive oil and spread on a roasting pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until they start to brown. Remove and set aside.
- Peel the sweet potatoes (I did mine after roasting but it was a pain), cut into chunks, drizzle with olive oil and spread on roasting pan in single layer. Roast at 400 degrees until they are just tender, NOT soft like mashed potatoes. Remove and let cool.
- Cut onion in chunks and peel the garlic cloves. Pulse together in a food processor until finely chopped. Put into a large bowl and set aside.
- Add roasted cauliflower to food processor and pulse until finely chopped, add to the onion/garlic mixture.
- Pulse the roasted sweet potatoes in the processor until diced but not puréed. Add those to the mixture.
- Stir the diced veggies together, mixing well. Add whole wheat bread crumbs, flour and all the spices, chopped thyme, salt and pepper. Taste and add more seasonings if you like.
- Put the mixture in the fridge for several hours or up to a few days.
- When ready to make them, take out of fridge, form small balls about 3 inches in diameter. The mixture will be pretty wet and sticky. If it seems too wet (i.e. they won’t hold their shape), add more flour and bread crumbs). I found smaller is better than bigger because they cook through faster and are a nice size for an appetizer.
- Put Panko crumbs in a shallow bowl, next to a large frying pan. Add about 1/4 cup peanut oil to the pan and heat until the Croquettes sizzle as soon as you put them in the oil. Dredge each patty in the Panko crumbs, really rolling them around to coat well.
- Cook in small batches of 5-6 for about 5 minutes on each side. You might need to turn the heat down if they brown too quickly. Remove them from pan, place on paper towel-lined racks. When you have cooked as many as you plan to serve, set them aside for as long as you want while you do other things! Any left over mixture can go back in fridge for a few days or freeze it for longer.
- About 30 minutes before serving, place all the Croquettes on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in a preheated 350 oven for about 20 minutes. Remove, let cool a few minutes or longer (they are still good at room temperature, or even the next day, guess what I had for breakfast this morning?) Serve with a dipping sauce if you want, but not necessary. NOTE: You can skip this step of baking them after frying but the baking cooks the insides more, crisps up the outside and makes them less oily- all pluses in my book. it also means you can do the frying step early in the day and just reheat them before serving. Very convenient and your house doesn’t smell like fried food👍
Make sure to serve with a GOOD BOOK!