Packed with goodness, homemade vegetable croquettes make delicious party appetizers, toddler finger food, or an everyday side dish. These spiced croquettes were my twin boys’ favorite veggie dish once I moved on from purees, plus they are perfect for batch cooking and storing in the freezer.
Seasoned with cumin, coriander and tumeric, this kid-friendly recipe is packed with goodness with a hint of Indian inspired flavor. Tumeric is one of my baby superfood ingredients, and whether you’re young or all grown up these veggie croquettes will be sure to please.
Children & Spices in Recipes
I am a big believer in introducing young ones to interesting flavors. The more they are exposed to, the more they will be willing to explore new foods in the future. When I’m cooking for my kids I go easy on the salt, but if you’re cooking these for adults you can be a bit more heavy-handed with it, personally I love vegetable croquettes a little salty.
“If you look at India, the Middle East or Latin American countries, people add a lot of variety in their baby food. Using a variety of spices to make food taste good will expand the child’s palate, and also cut down on the sugar and salt that we often use to make foods taste better.”Sheth, V. 2013. 5 Experts Answer: Is It OK to Give Babies Spicy Food? LiveScience.
What Veggies Go Into Vegetable Croquettes?
You can make croquettes with most vegetables, so have a dig around your fridge and see what you have on hand. I would stay away from anything with high water content such as squash or tomatoes because you could end up in a mushy mess. The recipe I offer below uses potato, carrot, mushroom, onions and brocolli. A colorful mix which works wonderfully.
Making the Vegetable Croquettes
Get ready to get your hands messy! Once all the veggies are cooked, mixed and spiced, you’re going to form the croquette shapes in your hands. Don’t be too precious with the shape, they look prettier once breaded! I find keeping my hands moist helps with the sticky texture. I’ll rinse my hands every so often during the process to make it easier.
Baking the Croquettes
Fully cook the vegetable croquettes, even if you’re going to freeze them. I have experimented with freezing before baking but they are too soft and lose their shape. I pre-brown the breadcrumbs in a pan to get a lovely golden color to the coating, but this wouldn’t be necessary if you are using Italian breadcrumbs rather than panko or homemade breadcrumbs (I use panko).
Spiced Vegetable Croquettes Recipe
- 2 large potatoes
- ¼ cup milk (ish)
- 3 tbs butter
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 carrots
- ½ a shallot
- 3 mushrooms
- 3-5 broccoli florets
- ½ tsp tumeric
- ¼ tsp corriander
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 2 tbs olive oil (optional for the golden crispy look)
- 1-2 eggs (I just about made do with one large)
- 1¼ cups panko bread crumbs
- Peel and chop the potatoes into large pieces and boil for around 15mins until soft enough to mash. Mash the potatoes together with a little milk and butter (1tbs).
- Finely chop all the vegetables. You may want to grate harder veg such as the carrot or broccoli stalks if you want the croquettes to be super mushy. My boys are ready for a little texture so I chopped to no bigger than a pea. Saute the chopped veg in the remaining butter (2tbs) for 5-8mins until it softens.
- Mash the veg in with the potato and add the spices.
- Once cool enough to handle, take heaped tbs sized balls and roll into cylinders the size of a fat thumb. You should be able to make around 20 croquettes that size but you can make them any size or shape you like. I found rinsing my hands every 4-5 croquettes made the sticky mix easier to handle.
- Put the croquettes in the freezer for 20mins to firm up a little and make the breading process easier.
- Toast the panko breadcrumbs in a pan with a little olive oil. This step is optional but does give the breadcrumbs that lovely golden color. Otherwise, you can fry the croquettes instead of oven baking, or use whole wheat panko which are darker in color. Baby will also unlikely care if you bake the white breadcrumbs just as they are, it's only us adults that expect breadcrumbs to be golden!
- Remove your 'fat thumbs' from the freezer, dip in a egg and roll in the breadcrumbs to complete each croquette.
- Bake for 20mins on a tray lined with parchment paper, turning at half time.
- Wait for them to cool before serving to those hungry babies! I fed them cold to my boys straight from the fridge the following day and froze the rest for another time.
Reheating from Frozen
The croquettes are a little labor-intensive, but they freeze so well, I highly recommend making loads! I then just reheat from frozen on a baking tray. I reheat at 400℉ for around 20mins until hot in the center. It’s good to know I always have something healthy the little ones will eat, ready to go in the freezer. I’ve been freezing them in the pint-sized Ball jars (check the labeling as to which jars are freezer friendly) which make a good batch size for heating up.
I’ve made these so many times now I can do it with my eyes closed and they are totally worth the work!