Spanish Spinach Croquettes

Olive, spinach and spring onion 'no bread' muffinsThe difference between Spanish croquettes and other varieties of croquette is that the filling is made from a thick béchamel sauce to which you can add whatever flavouring you want. In order to make a smooth and creamy béchamel, you need to stir, stir, stir!
The filling then needs to be chilled for several hours or overnight in order for it to firm up to a consistency that you can handle and roll into a croqueta shape. Forming the croquettes one by one and dredging them in breadcrumbs before frying is the final time-consuming step but a great one to recruit your kids for!
These Spanish spinach croquettes are a typical tapa in bars all around Spain. They’re simple to make, packed with flavour and make a great vegan party finger food or appetizer!
So you’ll definitely need to be determined to make Spanish croquettes but you’ll be rewarded with a tasty tapa at the end! As I mentioned before, once you’ve got your béchamel filling ready, you can add any flavouring that you want.
Typically, croquetas would be made to use up any leftover bits of meat and veggies from the night before. For this recipe, I’ve made one of the common vegetarian options for Spanish croquettes: spinach. I then veganized it by using plant-based milk and oil in place of butter.
These Spanish spinach croquettes are a typical tapa in bars all around Spain. They’re simple to make, packed with flavour and make a great vegan party finger food or appetizer!
So coming up with a vegan recipe for Spanish spinach croquettes was really hard. No joke, every cook does the béchamel differently! The proportions of flour to fat to milk were different in every single recipe I checked.
That means that you can feel free to adapt this recipe to your tastes. If you want a creamier, but harder to work filling, add a bit more milk. If you don’t like spinach, try sautéed mushrooms or finely chopped vegetables instead.


These Spanish spinach croquettes are a typical tapa in bars all around Spain. They’re simple to make, packed with flavour and make a great vegan party finger food or appetizer! via @cilantroandcitr
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Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 oz) frozen spinach
  • 2 ¾ cups (650 ml) unsweetened plant-based milk, divided
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (75 grams) flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 ½ cups (135 grams) bread crumbs
  • Oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Boil the spinach according to the package directions. Refresh under cold water and drain. Squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Set aside.
  2. Combine 400 ml (13 fl oz) of the plant milk with the stock in a small pot and heat it gently over low heat.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. When they are soft, add the garlic. Once soft, sift the flour into the pan. Mix well. Fry, stirring from time to time, for a couple of minutes to remove the taste of raw flour. Once the mixture begins to turn light brown, add a ladle of the milk-stock mixture. Stir well until incorporated then add another ladleful. Continue this way until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
  4. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Transfer to a dish and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the filling and put it in the fridge for at least a couple of hours or overnight.
  5. Put the remaining 250 ml of plant milk in one bowl and the breadcrumbs in another. Take about a teaspoon of the filling and use your hands to roll it into a small log shape. Dredge it in the breadcrumbs, then into the plant milk, then again into the breadcrumbs.
  6. Heat oil for frying in a small pan. Fry the croquettes in batches of 5 or 6 until golden brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to cool slightly then serve.

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