Everyone knows that cocktail hour is a huge deal. When planning a completely vegan or even mostly plant-based event, you’ll want to have the most delicious combinations of vegan foods known to man. After all, we want them to regret eating before they came because they assumed you would be strictly serving salads. (We love salads, but there will definitely more to eat than that.)
Now, not all vegans are activists, but I think that every vegan is in favor of others transitioning to a more plant-based way of life. This is especially true for people we deem special enough to invite to our event because we love them and want them to live their healthiest life. That’s why cocktail hour and the selection of appetizers we choose are so essential, particularly for a vegan event. We want to introduce as many variations of food as possible, embrace the endless spectrum of flavors, and keep our guests feeling satiated and happy. We want your non-vegan guests to be blown away, helping them to realize that we don’t have to include dead animals nor their secretions in their daily lives, and especially their large-scale and high-end events. Show them that gourmet and freshly selected plant foods is easy, filling, and healthier!
I came across this particular recipe a few months back, and while I served the final product, my guests exclaimed, “This should be served at a wedding!.” Let me tell you, these fritters are finger-licking good. While I personally feel they would be best suited as an appetizer for a formal occasion, they would also serve as a creative addition to the main dish for a sit-down event or as a hearty addition to the buffet line.
I would recommend cooking these in small batches. It always feels like there’s the most love in the dish when it’s made with tender, love, and care in small doses. It’s up to you to double up on all the measurements. As always, remember to test out your recipe and quantity you choose to cook at one time before the big day to anticipate any potential issues.
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa→ ⅔ cups uncooked quinoa will yield ~2 cups cooked.
- I prefer the tri-color quinoa, but you can use whatever you prefer. Rinse your quinoa thoroughly before cooking under cold water. If you have time, soak your quinoa to increase cooking time and digestibility, or you can buy sprouted quinoa.
- If using sprouted quinoa, add to pan over medium heat to toast. This will bring out the nutty flavor and add an extra crunch later to your fritters. Watch this carefully-you don’t want it to burn.
- If using either type of quinoa, add water and bring it to a boil. My favorite seasonings to add are salt, parsley, basil, and Mrs. Dash. It’s completely up to you what you choose to add. The only restriction I would place on your decision is to keep the flavoring savory. You can add some vegan butter and vegetable broth, too.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is gone. Stir often and season to taste.
- Set aside to cool and fluff often with a fork, leaving covered.
- 2 cups shredded sweet potato: you can leave the skin on
- Coconut oil for cooking
- Diced red or white onion (I prefer red for this recipe)
- Minced garlic cloves-I’m Italian so I use quite a lot of garlic
- 2 cups chopped kale or spinach- always use fresh greens for this recipe, frozen will make everything soggy and difficult to season.
- Flax egg (3): You can make flax egg by putting 1 teaspoon flaxseed and 2 teaspoons of water in a bowl. This recipe requires three eggs, and when I used three flax-eggs, it worked out perfectly. Mix thoroughly and set aside to coagulate. If too thin, add more flaxseed and if too thick, add more water. The longer it sits, the better.
- ½ cup flour blend: I used whole-wheat all-purpose flour, but you can use gluten-free flour or if grain-free you can opt for arrowroot or potato starch.
- Thoroughly wash your potatoes. Shred uncooked sweet potatoes with the coarse edge of a cheese grater or the grater attachment of a food processor.
- Prepare your flax egg and set aside.
- Heat a large, non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot add coconut oil, onion, sweet potato, garlic, and pepper. Sautee until softened and fragrant, usually 4-5 minutes.
- Add chopped kale and season appropriately. Cover to cook faster.
- Add your cooked veggies, cooled quinoa, and flax egg together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add your flour and mix thoroughly. You should have a moldable concoction. If too mushy and sticking to your hands, add more flour, a teaspoon at a time.
- Form into small patties, with the size of them being your preference. If serving as appetizers, keep them as petite finger-foods, perhaps quarter-sized. If you’re planning to have them as part of a main entree, then make them pancake-sized. Whatever size your choose, make sure they are thick enough that they won’t burn and not too fat that they won’t crisp up.
- Pan fry on a non-stick pan until golden brown. You don’t need any oil while you cook the fritters. Be patient and adjust the heat as necessary. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, opt for a cast iron skillet and use coconut oil to prevent sticking.
- Keep flipping to crisp up. The crispier the better!
Serve hot and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top for serving. You can also top with dairy-free yogurt, hummus, garlic, dill sauce, or fresh herbs.
Your guests will love this, especially with the crunch, and will definitely be asking you for the recipe. This recipe was adapted from theminimalistbaker to be vegan. I promise, the flax egg works!
When cooking vegan food for non-vegan guests, don’t be afraid to get creative and mess up! The more you cook, the faster you will learn which combination of spices work the best, how long things take to cook, and how to put together a 5-star meal in a short amount of time. I used to hate cooking because I would always mess up, waste ingredients, and be hungry because I didn’t like what I made. In time I evolved into a passionate cook who is constantly eating my amazing creations and consistently learning from others. Yes, I still make a bad dish here and there but it’s all a part of the learning process.
Happy vegan cooking!