After two years of filling this space on the day before Thanksgiving with my recipe for pumpkin seed croquettes, I failed to do so last year.
And my faithful readers were not happy.
Logging into my email that morning, I was greeted with desperate pleas for the recipe that had quickly become part of the holiday tradition in other homes. I can relate. Ever since I developed this recipe four years ago, it has become my go-to vegan entree for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
By combining familiar holiday flavors with a crunchy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside croquette, this dish tends to find its way onto the plates of both the vegetarians and omnivores alike.
I serve the croquettes with my shiitake mushroom gravy and a side of tangy Maine cranberry sauce, so I provide those recipes here, as well. But feel free to experiment and integrate it with the sauces and sides which make up your menu.
Should you be lucky enough to have leftovers, slather whole grain bread with gravy and cranberry sauce and use a couple croquettes (cold or hot) as filling for a quick, Thanksgiving-style sandwich.
It’s one more thing to be thankful for during a holiday where whole foods and plant-based dishes overflow from festive tables everywhere.
PUMPKIN SEED CROQUETTES
3 cups organic carrots, grated
2 cups raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to saute onions
2 gloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ cup water
3 cups cooked sweet brown rice
3 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried celery seed
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup tamari or soy sauce
Preheat oven to 400. Grate carrots. Add pumpkin seeds to food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely ground. Then add olive oil, garlic, tamari, sesame oil and water to the food processor. Process until the mixture has a creamy texture. If it’s too sticky, add more water. Add pumpkin seed mixture to a bowl with brown rice, carrots and seasonings. Mix together until well blended. Saute onion until caramelized and add to mixture in bowl.
Oil a large casserole dish or baking pan. Take roughly 1/2 cup of the mixture into your hands and form a ball. Then roll it into a slightly oval or oblong croquette. Press the croquette onto the oiled baking pan. Repeat until the pan is full.
Whisk together the baste ingredients and brush it over each croquette. Place the pan in the oven and bake 50 to 60 minutes until the croquettes are crispy on the outside. Baste the croquettes again after 20 minutes.
Serve with gravy and cranberry sauce. Makes 20 to 24 croquettes.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOM GRAVY
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 2½ cups shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
¼ cup tamari or soy sauce
1 cup hemp milk or other nondairy milk
½ cup water
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ cup whole grain flour, such as spelt, rye or wheat
Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan and saute the onions in olive oil until they begin to brown. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 to 10 minutes. Then add tamari, hemp milk and water. Stir until well blended. Mix in seasonings and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Slowly add flour until the gravy is thick and doesn’t easily run off a spoon. Serve hot. Leftover gravy can be kept in refrigerator and reheated for up to a week. Or freeze leftovers and when you thaw and reheat, add extra hemp milk and water to thin the gravy.
TANGY MAINE CRANBERRY SAUCE
2 cups fresh or frozen Maine cranberries
2/3 cup Maine maple syrup
¼ teaspoon Maine sea salt
1¼ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Combine first three ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally before reducing heat to medium low.
Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until cranberry skins break apart and cook down.
Turn off heat. Stir in vinegar. Serve hot or cold.
Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: [email protected]