Being from Brazil, you might think that it’s pretty difficult to be a vegetarian/vegan when most of your typical dishes are made with pork, red meat and seafood.
Well, I am not going to lie to you that being a pescatarian for 23 years has been an easy ride, especially being a teenager in Brazil in the early 90s. It wasn’t a struggle to stop eating red meats and other animals (other than fish), because that came naturally to me. There are no vegetarians in my family, and my choice of becoming a pescatarian was solely mine. It was harder (I think) for my friends and family to adapt to my new (and barely known then) diet.
It took my mom a while to adapt her cooking to my lifestyle (to stop using, for example, meat stock in everything). Eventually, she determined that I would have a separate pot with a vegetarian meal for me whereas everyone else in the family would have “normal people’s” food.
As I grew older (and my mom trusted to have me in the kitchen while she cooked – I’m kind of clumsy), I began to watch her how she prepared each meal. Such zeal for the family! A different meal every day, my mom would get up at six in the morning, and start cooking the meals we would have that day. Breakfast and lunch are the main meals in Brazil, or for most Brazilian families. Hence, cooking starts early in the day.
By watching her, I began to think about ways I could transform one of the “normal people’s” meals into a vegetarian version. It wasn’t simply about adding vegetables instead of meat. Adding flavor to the dish was the most important thing; otherwise, it’d be a plain vegetable dish.
I began to take note of the spices my mom used and then creating my own version of her non-vegetarian meals.
Honestly, I think it’s worked beautifully! With time, practice, and lots of friends and family members as guinea pigs, I began to create new dishes and to adapt some of the traditional Brazilian dishes to a vegetarian and (challenging) vegan palates.
So, here’s my vegan version of the Brazilian meat croquette. The traditional meat croquette is deep fried. It’s a popular afternoon snack. I chose to bake it instead of frying it in order to make it healthier.
I can make some for you, or I can teach you (in person) how to make them yourself! Wouldn’t that be grand? I am Anna, your personal cook 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
1 cup of nuts (mixed nuts, or almonds only if you prefer)
2 table spoons of coconut oil
2 table spoons of tahini (sesame oil, the same you’d use to make hummus)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 table spoon of garlic flakes (or as much garlic as you like)
1/2 red capsicum
1 medium size bay leaf
Gluten-free bread crumbs
Leave the nuts soaking overnight. Put the nuts in a processor and, with the steel blade, puree the nuts (similarly to when you make peanut butter).
Then add the chopped onion, the halved red capsicum, the garlic flakes, the bay leaf and blend everything until it becomes homogeneous.
Later, add the coconut and tahini oils, salt and pepper and the juice of 1/2 lemon and blend everything again for half a minute or so, or until everything looks uniform.
Roll the croquettes on your hands, then on the gluten-free bread crumbs.
Pre-heat the oven for five minutes before you place the croquettes on a baking tray (no need to oil the tray or to use a baking paper, as the juice and oil from the croquettes will do the job).
Bake the croquettes at 200° C for 30 minutes or until they look golden.
Serve the croquettes with a green, tomatoes and beetroot salad.
© Anna Paula Rodrigues and LetMeCook4U.blog, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anna Paula Rodrigues and LetMeCook4U.blog appropriate and specific direction to the original content.