Healthy baked croquettes packed with Swiss chard, roasted tomatoes, ricotta, and quinoa.
Busy lifestyles demand food that's easy to pull together. And since I went mostly vegetarian 18 months ago, I find that it's even more important to have veggie dishes handy, or some components already put together. For example, I try to have some containers of cooked beans in the refrigerator and freezer at all times. Ditto cooked grains. If I don't, one of three things will happen: I'll either fill up on high fat or high carb junk that just happens to be vegetarian, not get enough to eat and fill up on desserts, or have some of my husband's meat.
This weekend, and today in particular, qualifies as busy. A close friend I've know for a long time is marrying the absolutely perfect woman for him, she's great!, and he's asked me to officiate the wedding. I'm so excited and honored to play a role in the festivities, and am a little nervous because I want to do a good job for them and have never actually done this before. Over the past month or more, I've been poring over books and internet sites garnering ideas for poems to quote, and words to articulate the fullness of emotions that embody a wedding of friends who have found each other in the chaos that reigns in the dating world.
So on a day that, without advance planning, was more likely to yield a latte and scone at Starbucks, instead I had tucked these little croquettes of vegetarian goodness to enjoy. I made them yesterday morning when I had an hour stretched out in front of me in the kitchen and just kept them refrigerated until today. I tossed together a quick tomato sauce and slipped the croquettes in the oven for a fantastic, light, warm lunch that will stand me well through all the wedding festivities until the reception this evening.
I don't include a recipe for a tomato sauce - just use your favorite one, even if it's out of a jar. The croquettes are great without it, but really just perfect with it, so it's worth the extra little bit of trouble. These might not be the croquettes you typically see, I should add, as they're baked instead of fried, and use a mixture of bread crumbs and cooked quinoa for the outside crust. All of which skinny up a croquette dish from my childhood.
Swiss Chard and Quinoa Croquettes
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups Swiss chard or kale
- 1 cup cooked quinoa divided
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion ½ medium-large onion
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon Dijon country mustard
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Several grinds of fresh pepper
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce [url]here's mine ∞http://thewimpyvegetarian.com/2013/08/homemade-roasted-tomato-sauce/[/url]
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and slide into the oven. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Remove the center stem from the chard or kale, and discard. Slice into thin slices across the width of the leaves. Wash thoroughly. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and slide the chard in. Simmer until thoroughly wilted, about seven minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze as much water out as possible. Set aside.
- Cook the quinoa using these instructions
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat one - two tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan and add the onion and shallots. Sauté until softened. Place in a large metal bowl. Add the chard and roasted tomatoes and ¾ cup of the cooked quinoa.
- In a separate bowl, whip together the remaining ingredients except the tomato sauce and bread crumbs.. When the onion mixture has cooled, stir in the egg mixture, and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs.
- Combine the remaining ¼ cup of cooked quinoa and ¼ cup breadcrumbs in the bowl that held the egg mixture. There is likely just a little egg remaining in the bottom of the bowl. Mix together.
- Form croquette domes with your hands and place on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet. Pat one to two tablespoons of the quinoa-breadcrumb coating on each of the croquettes.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve with tomato sauce.