Crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside – that’s how I like croquettes best. Unlike traditional croquettes, these croquettes are not made of potatoes but they are filled with a creamy vegan low-fat béchamel sauce made of plant-based milk and spinach. You do not need to deep fry them in much oil, you can simply fry them crispy with a little bit of oil in a pan or skillet. This recipe is easy to make and you can also choose the gluten-free option. These vegan croquettes are incredibly delicious and perfect for dinner or as a snack for a party.
Vegan croquettes with a creamy filling wrapped in a crispy crust
Croquettes have been one of my favorite snacks since my childhood. Especially, I always liked the Spanish croquettes. When we were on vacation, these treats always landed first on my plate. (Besides my beloved empanadas, of course 😋). Compared to the traditional German croquettes, which are made from potatoes, the Spanish croquettes are much creamier. And I love everything that is creamy! 😃 The secret behind it, is just the preparation. In Spain croquettes are namely filled with a creamy béchamel sauce. They are called “croquetas” and are usually served as a warm appetizer (tapas), by the way. Unfortunately, these croquetas are usually not vegan as they contain eggs and usually ham.
So now I have created a vegan version with a simple filling of healthy spinach and a creamy low-fat vegan béchamel sauce which is just made of plant-based milk, without any eggs. You do not even need to peel and cook potatoes for this recipe. The filling is quick to make with just a few ingredients. You can easily prepare the sauce one day before, because it should chill for a few hours (or best overnight) in the fridge before processing into croquettes.
If you are looking for a creamy vegan ‘cheese sauce’ made of potatoes, the recipe for my vegan Mac and Cheese might be perfect for you. Or maybe my vegan béchamel sauce made of white beans or my creamy vegan alfredo sauce made of cashew nuts.
Frying croquettes in a pan without using much oil!
Honestly, I do not really like frying in tons of oil. Not only because I’m too lazy to turn on the deep fryer or clean the pot, but also because I do not really like it when the food is full of fat. Also, I always find it a pity to “waste” so much oil. So I just fry these croquettes in a pan with a little olive oil or coconut oil. Of course, you can also use another kind of oil, but some oil is necessary. Fat is part of the croquettes, because only then they get a nice golden-brown crispy crust. However, you should also make sure that the oil is hot enough before frying, otherwise they will soak up too much oil. But it should not be too hot because they will darken too quickly. So best is medium heat.
Vegan dips and sauces
Since these vegan croquettes are so creamy thanks to their filling, you do not need any more dips or sauces. But because dipping is always so much fun for me and because dips are so delicious, I also like to serve them with guacamole or hummus or a vegan cashew cream cheese. Also a spicy ajvar (red pepper dip) or a homemade BBQ sauce is a great choice. Otherwise, you can simply serve them with a flavorful store-bought organic tomato ketchup.
- 250 g of spinach frozen
- 400 ml of plant-based milk unsweetened
- 120 ml vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter / margarine
- 1/2 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 75 g flour (optional gluten-free*)
- ½ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 135 g bread crumbs (optional gluten-free*)
- approx. 250 ml of plant-based milk
- coconut oil for frying
Thaw the spinach and express well.
Peel onions and garlic and finely chop.
In a jar, mix 400 ml of vegetable milk with the broth.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté. Once they are soft, add the garlic and sauté for further 1-2 minutes.
Then sieve the flour into the pan and always stir well, otherwise it will burn quickly. As soon as the mixture starts to turn light brown, gradually add the plant-based milk. Continue to stir until milk and flour are well combined to a smooth, creamy sauce without any lumps.
Add the squeezed spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Then let the béchamel sauce cool down and put in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours (best overnight).
For the crust, fill about 250 ml of plant-based milk in a bowl and in another bowl fill in the breadcrumbs. Then take about 1 teaspoon of the sauce and shape into croquettes. Roll them in the breadcrumbs first, then dip into the plant-based milk and finally roll again in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil for frying in a pan and fry the croquettes until golden-brown over medium heat. Afterwards, remove from the pan and place on a plate (or baking tray) lined with kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
Allow to cool slightly and serve.
- Instead of wheat flour or spelt flour and regular breadcrumbs you can also use gluten-free light flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- The croquettes taste fresh from the pan best, but they stay nice and soft even after cooling. So you can simply store leftover croquettes in the fridge and bake them briefly in the oven until crispy before serving.
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