Cheese croquettes! I have eaten a lot of these in the old days, but since going vegan have only had a couple of occassions where I could eat vegan cheese croquettes. Vegan cheese croquettes are not so easily found in shops (at least not around here). I had bought some at vegan shop SHAVT (now only webshop) and also eaten these at a bistro in Louvain, but the SHAVT webshop doesn’t sell these cheese croquettes any more.
DIY it is!
And yes, I call these cheese croquettes! Even if there are no animal ingredients involved. I simply consider ‘cheese’ to be a processed product, that just as well can be made from cashews, coconut or other plantbased materials!
Up till now, we have always used cheese from the brand Wilmersburger to make these, but any other firm cheese, with a neutral taste, will probably do. Wilmersburger can be bought in most organic shops around here.
Agar agar is a plantbased gelling agent, made of sea weed. This is used to stiffen the cheese sauce. I use agar agar powder in this recipe, but you can also use agar agar flakes (but then you need to use more).
This recipe for vegan cheesecrosuettes is based on a recipe for cheese croquettes from the TV-show Dagelijkse Kost (Belgian TV). The eggs have been replaced with agar agar (to stiffen) and with corn starch (to make the crumbs – chapelure – stick to the croquettes).
Important note! This recipe requires preparation (one can’t just makes this in the morning and expect to have them for lunch). The cheese needs to stiffen for several hours in the fridge. And the croquettes also bake more easily if they have been frozen.
Ingredients vegan cheese croquettes
- 200g plantbased butter (the sort that is used to bake and fry)
- 400g plantbased cheese (Wilmersburger natuur, in bloc or shredded)
- 200g all purpose flour
- 1l unsweetened soy milk (divided in 2 portions: 900ml and 100ml)
- 1dl soy cream
- pepper and salt
- 4g agar agar powder (2 teaspoons)
- app. 100g flour (a couple of table spoons)
- 2 table spoons corn starch
- 200g bread crumbs
- (cheese) grater or something else to grate the cheese (not neccesary if buying pre grated cheese of course)
- parchment paper and cling film
- whisk beater
- wooden spoon
- a square oven dish (about 34cm x 24cm, the cheese sauce needs to be 2,5cm thick before going into the fridge)
- fryer or oil in pot (to fry them)
- a cutting board that is at least the same size as the oven dish
Making vegan cheese croquettes
- Coarsley grate the vegan cheese (see video ). Put aside.
- Mingle the agar agar powder with 100ml soy milk, and put aside.
- Put parchment paper in the oven dish (this is so you can easily remove the stiffened cheese sauce from the oven dish).
Make the cheese sauce
- Cut the plantbased butter in pieces and softly melt in pot (be careful that it doesn’t burn!).
- Gradually add the flour to the melted butter. Mingle with whisk. Be careful so it doesn’t burn! (If necessary, remove occasionally from heat)
- Stir until it becomes a nice roux.
- Add the 900ml of soy milk to the roux, meanwhile keep stirring, until the sauce thickens (when it has thickened and there are no more lumps, start using a wooden spoon instead of the whisk). This results in a nice thick bechamel sauce.
- Now gradually add the grated cheese, while stirring. Be careful that it doesn’t burn (if necessary, remove from heat once in a while). The sauce is simmering.
- Stir in the soy milk with agar agar and let simmer for a while.
- Add pepper, salt and nutmeg to your own taste.
- Pour the cheese sauce in the square oven dish (lined with parchment paper). Make sure it is spread evenly.
- Cover the cheese sauce with cling film. This is to prevent a ‘crust’ from developping while cooling.
- Put the oven dish in the fridge for a couple of hours (eg over night). The cheese sauce will now cool and stiffen.
Making the croquettes
- Sprinkle the cutting board with flour.
- Remove the oven dish with the cheese sauce from the fridge. Remove cling foil.
- Turn the oven dish onto the cutting board. Try to remove one solid cheese bloc from the oven dish! Remove the parchment paper.
- Sprinkle some flower on the stiffened cheese bloc.
- Cut the bloc with a large sharp knife (squares or rectangles app. 4cm by 4cm, of 4cm by 5cm, but beware: the larger, the longer they have to fry, and the more risk of bursting in the fryer).
- Keep your knife clean by occassionally rinsing it with lukewarm water (it can become a bit of a sticky affair, but you need to try to attain smooth and straight cutting edges).
- Mingle the corn starch with some water (or soy mik) in a small bowl. Place the bowl with the crumbs by its side.
- Cover each surface of a croquette in the corn starch solution, and directly afterwards in the crumbs. Do this one by one, a croquette at a time. Each croquet must be completely covered in crumbs.
- Place the croquettes on a dish, preferably not covering/touching each other.
Tip: You can now freeze the vegan cheese croquettes! Place in a sealed container, if possible seperate the layers with some parchment paper, so they don’t freeze and stick together.
- Heat the fryer to 170-175 °C
- Don’t fry too many croquettes in one turn (this depends on the size of your fryer, I can put about 3 croquettes in one go).
- Bake the croquettes for app. 4 minutes. Keep an eye so they don’t burst! The frying time also depends on whether you are frying them freshly made or frozen (we prefer the latter).
- Remove from fryer, dap with some kitchen towel. Ready to eat!
Previously posted in Dutch on my other blog Graswortels.
Recept vegan kaaskroketten: https://www.graswortels.org/2018/recept-vegan-kaaskroketten/