Ah Covid life. When you order groceries from a few different places and forget they are all coming within days of each other and all of a sudden you have broccoli and cauliflower to feed a small army…
Yup, this often happens these days with various things that I tend to *always* add to grocery orders (broccoli for one, but also paper towels and my favourite yoghurts, not knowing if they will be in stock but crossing my fingers they will be and ending up with more than I need!).
This happened the other week and coincidentally I also happened to be teaching five online classes in the space of 4 days which meant some serious organisation in the fridge and creative use of “bits and pieces”. Although I wouldn’t exactly call 2 heads of cauliflower and three of broccoli “bits and pieces” 😉
I was going to make soup but for some reason was thinking about the Vegetable Croquettes from In the French kitchen with kids and wondered about replacing the zucchini and potato with broccoli and cauliflower. It turns out this is not only possible but also delicious (and maybe a great way to get kids to eat some more veggies!).
It’s a little more work with these two veggies – I steam them a little bit then blitz them in the food processor before I mix them in with the other ingredients – but the concept is the same: veggies + cheese + breadcrumbs = crunchy, cheesy deliciousness!
- 1 small head cauliflower (400g trimmed)
- 1 small head broccoli (400g trimmed)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups (120 g) grated sharp cheddar cheese (you want something with a lot of flavour)
- 1/2 cup (42g) panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- sour cream
- chopped fresh parsely
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
- Steam the broccoli and cauliflower florets for a couple of minutes until they are just starting to soften.
- Allow to cool slightly then pulse the steamed vegetables a few times in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until it resembles large breadcrumbs/ rice. You should have around 4 heaping cups of processed vegetables.
- Once pulsed place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to the vegetables and mix well to combine, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Using a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop and packing the mixture in tightly, scoop out mounds of the mixture and place them about 1 inch (3 cm) apart on the baking trays. If you don’t have a cookie scoop this size, use a 1/4 cup (60 mL) measure filled about three-quarters full with the mixture, pressing it to pack it in the cup.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the trays from the oven. Use an offset spatula to carefully flip the veggie cakes, flattening them slightly as you do.
- Bake a further 15 minutes, until the veggie cakes are crispy and golden on both sides.
- Remove from the oven and serve, sprinkled with the parsley as a side dish or with sour cream to dip.
You can scoop these out on a baking tray and freeze them immediately if you don't want to cook them right away. Once they are frozen solid, transfer them to an airtight container and they will keep in the freezer. Bake them from frozen at 400˚F. They may take a few more minutes - Bake them for the 30 minutes first then continue to bake in increments of 2-3 minutes until they are done.
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Tips for the best veggie cakes
- Use a sharp cheddar or strongly flavoured cheese. None of the other ingredients have much flavour so the cheese is doing the heavy lifting here!
- Use Panko breadcrumbs – or, if you don’t have them, make your own by blitzing stale bread in a food processor. Regular fine breadcrumbs won’t do the same job here!
- Make sure the blitzed cauliflower and broccoli is cool before you add the rest of the ingredients (if the veggies are too warm, the eggs will cook!)
- Use a 3-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion these – it’s easier (and cleaner!), especially if you are going to freeze them before baking. If you don’t have one, use a 1/4 cup measure and pack it about 3/4 full.
- Use a digital scale to weigh your cauliflower and broccoli (“1 small head of cauliflower” is subjective). Once you’ve blitzed the steamed veggies you should have about 4-4.5 cups’ worth.
What about you – what type of “glut” have you experienced recently?
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