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Veggie Quinoa Croquettes w/ Smoked Paprika Almond Cream and Benefits of Almonds

Posted Nov 04 2010 10:19am 2 Comments

I think I am almost done with the jet lag from my Moroccon adventure but now I have the darkness of the early morning with rain pouring down that makes JUMPING out of bed full of vibrant energy a little trickier.  But this weekend should change that for a while after we turn the clocks back.  My one week in Marrakesh, waking up to the distant crow of the rooster with golden sunshine pouring thru my window and a vivid blue sky wrapping everything in site feels like it was a dream.  This is the way I would love to wake up every morning. How about you–sounds nice, doesn’t it? If only.  I keep saying, “One day”. Perhaps we may just choose to live where this could be a reality, one day.

In the meantime, I’ll do my best to find the joy in the 4 seasons we have, sleep in the coziest flannel sheets I can find, and wake up to the falling rain drops.  I really do love how our seasons come and go and the changing visual images that they deliver every day, but what I do crave is the light.  I am highly energized by the brightness of the sunshine.  Do you find you are also energized by the sun? It motivates me to no end, that when I am deprived of it, I feel like I can’t move my legs, like I have the heaviest of weights on the bottom of my feet.  It takes me a lot longer to get a move on and since I am such a doer, it feels strange to not have the motivation I usually have.

However, after realizing my passion for this blog, sometimes all I need to do is climb out of bed, grab my fuzzy house coat and place my fingers on the key pads and I am off in another world, writing what ever exits my finger tips.  Having this blog and inspiring healthy living couldn’t make me more excited about climbing out of bed in the morning.  Who knew?  I sure didn’t.  I just knew I had to share.  I had to share the healthy food and life style that I love that motivates me to write this blog, so here I am again.  I hope you like this next recipe as much as I do!

Mama Meeeah!  I can’t believe I was dining on these croquettes once again.  Do you ever do that, eat something you love, repeatedly? And even as I eat it one more time I still get the same pleasure as eating it the first time.  Now that has to be a yummy dish, don’t you think?  The size of this recipe is good for repeat dining, you can invite some friends, or you can freeze it and have it handy in a jiffy for the croquette craving and a quick’n easy meal.  I found this recipe at the beginning of the summer originally by Dreena Burton, however she no longer has it available online (I couldn’t locate it anywhere).  She has a few cook books, one of which I own, called “eat, drink & be vegan” .  I have made this croquette recipe many, many times and it has since morphed into a slightly more simplified version that is even yummier and more personalized each time I make it.  Feel free to fiddle with the recipe as you may come up with something even tastier than I did.

Veggie Quinoa Croquettes w/ Smoked Paprika Almond Cream
Yield: Approx 16 croquettes
For the Croquettes
1 cup dry quinoa, cooked in 2 cups water, yielding 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled- see method here if needed
1 very large sweet potato, peeled, diced, steamed, mashed: yielding 2 cups mashed sweet potato
1 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup finely diced red pepper
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp to brown the croquettes
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 – 14oz tin pinto beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
juice of one lime
1 tsp celtic sea salt
In large mixing bowl place cooked quinoa & mashed sweet potato.   Saute onion, red pepper and crushed garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil for 2-3 mins til translucent but not browned.  Allow to cool and then add to mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients to bowl.  Stir or use hands to combine.  Heat olive oil in saute pan on medium heat and form mixture into croquette and gently turn into pan.  Heat thru while browning gently on both sides.  Remove from heat and slide directly onto dining plate.  Repeat until you have enough for you and your dinner crowd.  These patties are tender and fragile so handle them the least possible by turning onto dinner plate directly from saute pan if you can for the nicest presentation.

Here is the sauteing of the veggies- until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are nicely translucent but still rather al dente.  Cool slightly and add to the bowl of ingredients ready for mixing and forming the croquettes.  The mixture below is soft because of the steamed sweet potato and everything binds together nicely but doesn’t become firm.  It forms a tender moist, rather fragile pattie, which is oh so yummy this way.  Chilling the mixture does make it a little firmer to work with but you will need to saute a little longer to heat the croquettes thru, so watch your temperature, keep it low, or they can get too browned or even burn.  If your pattie decides to crumble, just go with it, and sprinkle it over your greens.  It is still delightfully yummy!

For the Smoked Paprika Almond Cream
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic crushed
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
optional; pinch of cayenne pepper
Combine above ingredients in blender and combine til creamy and smooth, adding 1-2 tbsp additional water for consistency only if needed.  Serve on the side with the croquettes or drizzle on top.  Enjoy.

I always serve the croquettes with a salad, and this one here was a really tasty yet quick version.  I used arugula, heirloom tomatoes layered with lots of chopped basil topped with a tomato half all of which I drizzled with really good olive oil and crushed garlic seasoned with sea salt and pepper.  I can’t get enough of simple salads like this especially when I can find all of the above, local and fresh, in season at the market.  I find myself salivating all the way home.  Right now I am craving all these goodies and the best I can do is local hot house tomatoes and basil with organic mixed greens if I am lucky.  Soooo, to those of you who live in a climate where farmers markets are abundant all year, listen to me.  Be grateful for them…. everyday, especially if you are a veggie person like me cuz I am soooo envious!!  Alright, I got it out, phew!  So where was I?  Ah yes, this delicious salad that accompanies the croquettes is a must to balance out your alkaline portion of the meal.  I wrote about the benefits of quinoa here if you haven’t explored this yet.

If you have any left over mixture, I recommend forming the patties, wrapping and freezing them individually so you can sneak out one or many, defrost and then give them a quick browning in the saute pan.  And voila, dinner in minutes with a few mixed greens.  I found that the nut cream froze quite well too and it also kept well in the refrigerator too– up to 3-5 days.

For this recipe I substituted the raw almonds for the nut cream knowing that the benefits of almonds are endless.  If I can boost the nutritional value of a recipe while maintaining or improving the flavour then I know I have a winner that I must share.  Hopefully my taste buds are a good measure for tasty healthy food, other wise I suppose I would hear about it.

The benefits of Almonds Raw almonds have to be one of the best things that you can eat.  Including a high proportion of raw almonds in your diet is a smart choice.  I find that raw almond butter is a really nice alternative to always munching on the nuts.  Our alkaline chart is here if you need to reference it.
Almonds have an alkaline value of +3.6 meaning they leave an alkaline ash once digested which is beneficial to your body versus an acidic ash.  Brazil nuts are the next most alkaline nut with at value of +0.5.  Cashew are on the other end of the spectrum at -9.3, way more acidic.  Finding a balance even in the nut department is important.
• The monounsaturated fats–the good fats found in almonds have been shown in studies to not only reduce LDL cholesterol, but also lower the risk of heart disease. This is the same “good” fat that makes olive oil such a good choice on a salad.
• Over twenty different flavonoids (natural antioxidants) are found in almonds, primarily concentrated in the skin rather than the meat of the almond. This is one reason why it’s healthiest to eat raw, whole almonds, rather than roasted ones.
• Almonds are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin, vitamin E, and are a good source of vitamin B2.
• Studies have shown that people who regularly eat nuts such as almonds have a lower risk of weight gain. It also appears that munching on almonds as a snack can lower unhealthy abdominal body fat and reduce waist circumference. Even though almonds are relatively high in calories, their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fat content makes them quite filling and satisfying.
• Almonds are an excellent, easily digested protein but are an incomplete protein. Combining almonds with legumes and vegetables is a great way of enjoying the benefits of a quality plant-based protein.  This site here is chalk full of info on the protein of almonds and makes for very interesting reading.
• Almonds also provide essential minerals such as zinc, manganese, magnesium and calcium.
• If you are a serious raw foodie, do note that most raw almonds are not actually really raw especially if they are US almonds as pasteurization at temperatures higher than 135F are used for this process.  If you can find organic Spanish almonds you will be quite surprised at the sweet delicious flavour of these completely raw nuts.  It’s like night and day if you do a taste test.

Ahhhh the sun came out so I am ready for a day filled with brightness and energy.  I hope you have a wonderful day and let me know if you attempt this yummy recipe or if you have a pattie or croquette recipe that you favour cuz I might, just maybe, tire of this one, and need a new one to explore!

Comments (2)
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HoneyBNutrition, thanx for stopping in, they are a crowd pleaser and it makes a big batch so you can even form the croqettes and then freeze them.  The sauce freezes well too!
Those look so good! And healthy! My husband will love them too! 
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