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

by Julie on November 4, 2010

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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
Method
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
Method
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!

Update:

I neglected to remind you that almonds are best metabolized and provide maximum energy to your body when they are sprouted as they wake up and their living force is alkalizing and very powerful when transferred to your body.  However, it is still incredibly beneficial to eat raw unsoaked nuts over roasted nuts and yet again still healthier to eat roasted nuts over deep fried potato chips and snacks.  Choose what’s right for you for where you are in your journey.  Most importantly, being conscious of your choice and understanding the benefits or the drawbacks is what matters most.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie November 8, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Hi Jules, thanks for reminding me about this recipe! Very Yummy! I love the smoked almond cream! I will be on the look out for the organic Spanish almonds.
(Great photography too!!!)

Julie November 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Leslie, let me know how it turns out if you make these. I bet your kids will also enjoy it. Do remember it makes a big batch so it’s nice for a quick easy lunch the next day or you can freeze some too!
The Spanish almonds will usually be refrigerated so look in the store coolers. Good luck.

Collette November 17, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I am drooling just looking at the beautiful plating of this meal. I wanted to reach in and eat it. Your photography is gorgeous and the colours and presentation do make it really appealing. I am a little surprised at one thing though. Why are you heating up olive oil. Wouldn’t you rather use a higher flash point oil since it’s a ‘no-no’ to heat up olive oil? Just curious.

Julie November 17, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Thanx for your comment Collette. Olive oil is completely fine to use for cooking as long as you use it over lower temperatures and you do not fry or broil at high temperatures. It has a smoke point of about 190 celsius. In this recipe while sauteing the onion mixture the water content of the veggies keeps the temperature down and when browning the croquettes the ingredients are already cooked and just need to be gently heated thru so the temperature can be medium or low. Ideally, coconut oil is the safest and most stable of all oils with the highest smoke point of 230c and can be used in place of the olive oil for safe measure if one chooses. The smoke point of almond and avocado oil is 220c and macadamia oil at 210c. Sunflower is 170c, safflower is 160c, hazelnut and sesame at 150c– so olive oil is still on the higher side of the scale but one should be well aware. Thank you for pointing this out.

Caitlin November 25, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Hey Julie! :)
I just made these for dinner and they were amazing! I didn’t have all of the ingredients so I made some substitutions (didn’t have any peppers, and used lemon instead of lime) but they turned out so well, and were really delicious. Thanks for the recipe :)

Julie November 26, 2010 at 1:07 am

Oh thanx for letting me know Caitlin, it’s such a delight to hear that people are actually making up some of the recipes I post. This one is easy to play with, so glad you enjoyed it.
Don’t you love that there’s usually left overs? hugs xoxo

Alex November 28, 2010 at 2:28 pm

REALLY nice photos and recipe
I like to cook the quinoa, add flavors and veg then I simply add a bit of flax and dehydrate them to make burgers. It’s a nice fusion of cooked and raw.
Thanks for the info on Almonds, will have to relate to some friends!

Julie November 30, 2010 at 12:04 am

Hmmmmm….. Alex, that sounds interesting to mix the cooked with the raw and then dehydrate, might have to experiment. Thanx for sharing and for stopping in.

Sarah May 31, 2011 at 7:45 am

Julie,
I just found your website today and I’m excited to dive in. Can you tell me more about hemp seeds? I am assuming you would use shelled ones in this recipe, but I really know nothing about cooking/working with them. Any insight you could offer would be helpful. Thank you!

Julie June 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

Hi Sarah, sorry I’ve been out of town but this recent post has more info and yes the hemp seed are shelled so they are called nuts or hearts. They are best left in their raw state to preserve the nutrients. Glad you found the site, hope to see you here often:)

Sarah August 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm

I finally got around to making these and they were a big hit. The only major problem was that I couldn’t get the darn things to stay together! This may have been helped by more sweet potato but I’m not sure. I ended up having to add a couple beat eggs (i know that probably goes against all the rules) but then they stuck together pretty well! The flavor is fantastic. They were a bit laborious but I’d make them again.

Julie August 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hey Sarah, thanx for your feedback on the croquettes. Yes you do need more sweet potato and they stay together best when the potato has a chance to come to room temp or be chilled. The last time I made them I used a pastry blending tool or potato masher to mash the mixture together well which made it stick together better. Yes they are fragile, but so darn tasty. Even as a crumble on greens they are delish! I don’t do eggs so I just handle them with care, sliding them out of the pan right on to the dinner plate. I find that breaking up the prep by steaming the potato the day before while I do dinner and chilling it makes prep quicker the next day. I appreciate your feed back so thanx kindly for stopping by and sharing:)

Annette August 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Dying to make these, is there anything I can sub for the hemp seeds? Can’t buy those in Australia :(

Julie August 28, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Hi Annette, the hemp nuts won’t be missed in this recipe except for the benefits of the protein and the omega oils. They will still be fine with out them. You could add some ground flax seed if you like. These are a little tricky to hold together so the flax will help but I find chilling the mixture prior to forming and heating the patties helps as well as turning them out on to your dinner plate so they don’t need to be transferred too many times. Otherwise you will fall in love with this recipe like most others have! Make them and freeze them and you’ll have a yummy, quick meal at the ready. Let me know how you do:)

Annette September 4, 2011 at 2:46 am

Thanks. Instead of hemp nuts, I used 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds. But it’s funny, I have NO IDEA what people are talking about – these held together like an absolute dream! I chucked all the ingredients in the food processor and only pulsed it a couple of times to blend things a little more but still keep it chunky and textured, and they were the easiest croquette/pattie mixtures I’ve ever handled, no kidding.
For my family who are still adjusting to my “healthy” food eating, I rolled them into cigar shapes, coated them with almond meal and lightly pan fried them before serving with a beetroot relish and stir-fried broccoli and leeks. They were absolutely devoured, and my family loved the texture. So thanks for the recipe! :)

Serena October 11, 2011 at 7:05 pm

These look AMAZING. I can’t wait to try them – I’ll be back to post once I’ve made them and eaten them up :)

Barb December 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Hi Julie! This recipe is a regular for us now. I make a hummus dip to go with them if I have not soaked almonds overnight. Thanks again for all your recipes – I will be making the stuffed spaghetti squash recipe next week! Merry Christmas to you!

Gabrielle February 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe! My mouth is watering as i type…i really want to make these for a picnic i am having with my friends. do you think they will be equally as delicious served as a cold entree?

Julie February 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Gabriel, this recipe I have made many times, it’s really yummy and addicting! Making me want to have it just thinking of it. It is perfectly delicious at room temp or warm, preferably over serving chilled. You can make the mix a day ahead and then form into patties the day of. They also freeze well. However, sometimes they are tricky to get to stay together after frying esp if transporting them, maybe use extra sweet potato to assure a stickier mixture. Enjoy:)

Ingrid February 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hello,

Thank you for your amazing recipes.

My husband is allergic to almonds, can I substitute with pecans or cashews for the Veggie Quinoa Croquettes?

Thank you !!

Julie February 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Ingrid, no problem substituting other nuts, it will be fine. Let me know how you like the recipe:)

Ingrid February 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

Thank you Julie.
I love your website! How nice of you to make it look so pretty and appealing.

I will try this croquettes this week. I will try to subsitite the almonds with pecans.
My husband is slowly accepting more alkaline in his diet, but still resists me some. Last year I was extremely sick and doctors could not give me any answers or solutions. I got tired of them and started to research information on my own. When I started to add more alkaline to my diet and started to juice … voila!! all of my problems started to fade away. I have noticed that if I eat something that is not a whole food or organic … my old symptoms slowly come back.
I love your recipes ! I’m hooked to your webiste. THANK YOU !!

Lisa Adinolfe March 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm

I’m not sure how I got to your site, but it was a blessing. Thank you, this was the best things I have ever eaten! I’m so glad it made a ton as I plan on eating it all myself! Eventually.

Janine April 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

Hello!
Thank you for this recipe. I made it for my family the other night and everyone, including my 2 and 5 years olds LOVED them . My daughter especially loved the smoked paprika almond cream to go with it.
I was just researching almonds, though, and found this to be interesting:
“The eating and soaking process are practically useless if the almonds are pasteurized or roasted since both processes destroy the almonds healthy enzymes.”
This is from the goodhealthwellnessblog.com
It states that even the ‘raw’ almonds that you find in health food stores are pasteurized. Do we have the same law in Canada, do you know? (That all almonds have to be pasteurized?). I hope not – otherwise I better look into one of the online stores to start buying my nuts, where they come in true raw state.

Thanks again for the amazing recipe and all of your great tips on living a healthier way!!

Julie April 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi Janine, further down in the post for this recipe I do mention about pasteurization or roasting of almonds in the US-you just may have missed it:) Apparently the Spanish almonds are truly raw and you can totally taste the difference. They are sweeter and almost taste like almond extract. Health food stores sometimes actually understand the difference and they chill their nuts for optimal preservation of the sensitive oils. Otherwise yes, take a peek on line, I like this company a lot. So pleased that everyone including the little ones enjoyed the croquettes:)

Caitlin June 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Thanks so much for these recipes, this one is delish! I’m so glad I found your blog: I have a personal chef client who is switching to a nearly all alkaline diet, so your recipes will save me a ton of work in terms of creating foods that she can eat. Thank you!

Katie October 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi!
I just started an alkaline diet recently, and I made your croquettes with almond cream last night. Now I know I can do this. OMG they were so delicious and packed with flavor. Even my 7-year-old son, who ate the croquette as a veggie burger topped with the cream, absolutely loved it. Thanks for a such a fantastic recipe – we will be eating it regularly!

P.S. I am going to be putting the almond cream on everything I eat. SO good!

Mary February 16, 2014 at 2:52 pm

I made these for Valentine’s Day, along with your Rainbow Cauliflower Soup and Raw Coconut Cream Pie. Everything was absolutely delicious and even my meat-eating boyfriend loved the meal. I look forward to trying more of your recipes!

Julie February 22, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Mary, so pleased you enjoyed the recipes:)

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Disclaimer: The content on this site is not written with intentions to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatments. Our content is for information purposes only and should not be used to diagnose or treat health issues of any sort. Our information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Copyright Julie Cove and Yvonne Becker, 2009-2010. Please do not use or copy any information, recipes or photos without permission or without noting its origins on your blog or website.