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Chickpea Croquettes (Gluten-Free) with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

 

I love chickpeas! There is so much you can do with them. A spicy hummus, roasted for a snack, throw them in a curry, in a pasta dish, on a salad, etc. They are a wonderful protein-packed ingredient that works great if you are vegan or vegetarian or is the perfect substitute for your weekly meat-less dinner. In our house we eat vegetarian most nights so I always have at least 4 or 5 cans of chickpeas and a pound or two of dried chickpeas in the pantry. The ideas on what can be done with them just keep coming and each is better than the last.

These croquettes are surprisingly easy to put together considering how fancy and intimidating they may seem. They mix up quickly and cook up just as swiftly and conveniently. Some croquettes and patties have a tendency to fall apart when they hit the pan, but these are very durable. Place the dollop in the pan and leave it be, don’t move it around or continuously press it, just let it cook and brown up. Don’t try to go bigger, as they may start to lose their structure. After the first side begins to brown, flip it over and allow the other side to cook, that’s it. So easy. You can have some fun with the ingredients, try a beautiful red bell pepper for some color, add shredded zucchini, red onion, etc. You can play with the spices and the flavor profile, serve them plain as an appetizer, over rice, or on baby greens for a meal. Top with different sauces or salads. Have fun with this recipe. I decided to serve these over baby greens tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette and I topped them with a citrusy cilantro yogurt sauce. This sauce can also be as difficult or easy as you wish, have fun with that, too. Obviously skip the yogurt sauce if you are vegan and if you aren’t gluten-free and don’t wish to buy chickpea flour, you can simply substitute 1 cup of whole wheat flour.

This is a simple and healthy weeknight dinner that satisfies that urge for crispy fried food without tipping your scale. Though I would hardly called these fried, they are cooked in just a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and are perfectly crisped without the greasy sludge.

 

Chickpea Croquettes (Gluten-Free) with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

1 handful fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 cup of greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, lemon juice, minced garlic and yogurt in a small bowl. Stir well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Chickpea Croquettes
adapted from Vegetarian Times. makes 8 patties

1 cup chickpea flour
3/4 cup hot water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
4 scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot shredded
1 habanero or jalapeno, minced (I left the seeds in)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, add flour, water, lemon juice, cumin and salt. Add more water if needed. Stir until well combined. Add in chickpeas, carrots, scallions, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro. Stir well.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil, over medium heat. Scoop (approximately) 1/4 cup dollops of chickpea mixture into skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. If the dollop is too much of a mound you can lightly press it down with the back of your spatula, just don’t press too hard. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. With a spatula, flip the patties and cook 3-4 minutes more. Repeat with remaining chickpea mixture (the finished croquettes can sit on a baking sheet in a 200º F oven). Serve two croquettes over field greens, topped with the yogurt sauce.

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