Spinach-Coconut Chickpea Fritters with Guacamole
The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!
For the guacamole:
1 avocado, diced
1/3 cup white or sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1-2 limes, juiced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp fresh jalapeno, diced (optional)
1 small tomatillo, diced (optional)
salt + pepper to taste (start with a few dashes of each)
For the fritters:
1 – 16oz. can cannelloni beans, drained/rinsed, mashed
1 – 16oz. can chickpeas, drained/rinsed, half-mashed
1 1/4 cups frozen spinach or 3 cups fresh spinach (see notes)
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs (fold-in) + another cup for coating cakes
1 tsp agave syrup
3-4 Tbsp coconut milk from a chilled can (the hard white part after chilling)
1/4 tsp pink salt – or to taste
a few dashes fine black pepper
optional: a few dashes cayenne or 1 Tbsp diced jalapeno for heat
safflower oil for frying
cooked brown rice or quinoa for plating
garnish: fresh cilantro
Vegan, makes 1 1/2 cups guacamole and makes about 10 large or 20 small fritters
* If using fresh spinach, finely chop it and steam or wilt it on a saute pan so that when you fold it into the mixture it condenses into wilted form. You could also use thawed frozen chopped spinach.
Before: chill your can of coconut milk – just enough time so it separates a bit.
Prepare your verde guac and place in the fridge until ready to serve – the guac is nice when served slightly chilled alongside the hot fritters. (Prepare your brown rice or quinoa – you could also use easy pre-made rice packets for faster serving.)
Fritters: Add the chickpea and cannellini beans, nutritional yeast, coconut milk, salt, pepper and agave syrup to a large mixing bowl. Mash until the cannelloni beans are all smashed, and about half the chickpeas are smashed. Fold in the spinach and 1/4 cup Panko crumbs. Add in any additional spices like garlic or cayenne – other spices like curry or even Jamaican Jerk or Cajun spice blends would be nice accents as well.
Heat a skillet over med-high heat with 1 Tbsp of safflower oil.
Form patties by hand. Roll the bean mixture patty in the extra cup of Panko crumbs. Add to pan. Repeat until pan if filled – yet patties are spaced about an inch apart. (Baking Method: you can also bake the fritters for about 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees.)
Cook fritters on each side about 2-3 minutes. If your patties are thicker in size, cover with a lid for a few minutes to heat/cook through the center. When both sides are browned and crispy and insides seem firmed – remove from pan and allow fritters to cool on a paper plate or baking rack. They will be delicate upon removing from pan. Cooling will help bind them in texture.
Want more binding power: Add in a 1/2 cup sweet potato or butternut squash puree. Another good vegan binder is almond butter – as I leaned from you guys in these post comments. A “flax egg” may also help.
Serve fritter cakes warm over grains + guac. Store uneaten fritters in the fridge – they actually chill + firm up quite nicely and taste amazing too! And yes, these fritters even freeze well. You can re-heat in the oven.