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Easy Vegetarian Quinoa & Cheese Croquettes
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“Easy Vegetarian Quinoa & Cheese Croquettes”

Did you know that Quinoa is actually pronounced “Keen-wah”?

Quinoa is a grain-like food with high protein and fiber content, and it’s light, fluffy texture makes it a good alternative to rice or couscous. It is a high protein grain that has been cultivated for centuries in the Andes mountain regions of South America.

The typical cooking method for Quinoa is to bring two cups of water to a boil for each cup of quinoa, and cook at a low simmer for 15-20 minutes. You could also make it in a rice cooker.

Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food stores (and most grocery stores!) throughout the year.

We like it with black beans, corn, onions and cilantro however, when we are feeling really adventurous we try other Quinoa recipes. That’s where this post comes in. Today, I’m sharing a delish recipe with you. Don’t be afraid of Quinoa, I promise you will either love it or hate it :)

Vegetarian Quinoa & Cheese Croquettes

These quinoa croquettes are made with cooked quinoa and parmesan cheese. YUM. Crispy on the outside and soft and crumbly inside, you may think of them as a South American hush puppy type of snack. They make a delicious warm appetizer, especially served with salsa or with ranch dressing.

Prep Time: 2 hours | Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes about 15 golf-ball size croquettes.

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter or oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup bread crumbs
4 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
Vegetable oil for frying

optional: 1/3 cup finely diced ham or crumbled bacon

Preparation:

Place quinoa in a saucepan and cover with the vegetable broth. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer quinoa until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Turn of heat and leave pot covered and undisturbed for 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaf.

Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat, and cook the onions and garlic (with optional chile pepper/paste if desired) until soft, about 8 minutes.

Stir the onions and garlic into the quinoa, along with the parmesan cheese, ham (optional), parsley, bread crumbs and cream cheese. Stir in two eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chill quinoa mixture for at least an hour, or overnight.

Break two remaining eggs into a shallow bowl and whisk in a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Place the bread crumbs into another shallow bowl or dish.

Shape the quinoa mixture into small balls or oval croquettes. Dip each croquette into the egg mixture, and then into the bread crumb mixture to coat. Set aside on a plate until all the croquettes are breaded.

Heat 2 inches of oil to 350 degrees. Fry croquettes in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Croquettes can be kept warm (or reheated) in a 200 degree oven for up to an hour.

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