These are mini logs of creamy vegan ground ham coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried to crispy, crunchy, golden-brown perfection! I like to serve them as a side for breakfast, as a snack, or as an appetizer. These vegan ham croquetas are pretty easy to make, too!
What are croquetas?
Croquetas are breadcrumbed and fried rolls of food leftovers often bound together with bechamel sauce or mashed potatoes. They are a staple on Spanish tapas menus, and you will most definitely find them offered throughout the country. There are many different varieties, but I decided to re-create the classic croquetas de Jamon, AKA Spanish ham croquettes!
This recipe is easy, but it requires time and patience!
Making the ham filling is very easy! It is the rolling, breading, and frying that require time and patience. These bad boys are slightly fragile and sticky, so you need to work fast when rolling and breading them.
After I make the filling, which I mainly make from gluten-free flour, almond milk, and vegan ham, I let it chill in the fridge for AT LEAST three hours. However, I prefer to let it rest in there overnight; that way, it will be nice and firm. Then, I quickly mold the “dough” into little logs, lightly wetting my hands with cold water between each new log I roll. The water helps to prevent the dough from sticking to my hands!
I then batter one at a time, in liquid Just Egg and then in a gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumb mixture. Then I let them re-chill in the fridge while my pot of oil heats. Finally, I carefully drop them into the oil and let them fry until they’re perfectly golden brown and crunchy.
These vegan ham croquetas are ADDICTING!
The vegan croquetas are savory, salty, and have a hint of tang. The insides are insanely creamy, similar to the texture of creamy cheese mashed potatoes, and the outsides are perfectly golden brown and crunchy! Yes, these do fry up nice and crunchy even though they’re made with gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs! Then, when I eat them, I always squeeze a generous amount of lime juice on top before each bite for extra flavor and tang. They’re SO tasty and quite frankly addicting! The saltiness and tang will have you reaching for more and more!
Please read my “tiparooskis” below the written recipe for some important information and tips!
If you make my vegan ham croquetas, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make Vegan Ham Croquetas
- 1 quart vegetable or canola oil
- Cooking oil spray, neutral-flavored
Vegan Ham Filling/Dough
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 2 tbsp yellow onion, minced
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp gluten-free flour (I used Bob's Red Mill's 1 to 1 Baking Flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
- 1 1/2 cup vegan ham, FINELY chopped (I use one whole bag of Sweet Earth's Apple Wood Smoked Plant-Based Ham)
- 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 limes cut into wedges
Vegan Ham Filling/Dough
- Place a large saute pan over medium/medium-low heat.
- Once hot, add in the butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the onions and saute them for 1 minute.
- Then, add in the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Next, add a third of the milk into the pan and stir until evenly combined, creating a thick paste. Then, add in half more of the milk and stir until well combined. Lastly, add in the last portion of the milk and stir until well combined and smooth.
- Add the white wine vinegar and finely chopped/ground vegan ham into the pan. Stir well and cook for one minute.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool down somewhat. Then, scrape the mixture into a container and place it in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours. I prefer to let it rest in the fridge overnight, so it's at its firmest texture and most accessible to mold.
How to Bread and Deep-Fry the Croquetas
- Place the liquid Just Egg in a wide, shallow large bowl.
- Place the gluten-free flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs in another wide, shallow large bowl. Stir to combine the two evenly.
- Line a large sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease it with cooking oil spray.
- Wet your hands with cold water and then quickly mold flat 1/4 cup portions of the ham filling into small logs about 3 inches long and 1 inch wide.
- Place the logs on the prepared baking sheet and set them in the fridge to keep cold, so they are easier to work with.
- Bread one log at a time and continue holding the others in the fridge. First, coat it in the liquid Just Egg. Then, using your other hand, coat it in the breadcrumb-flour mix. Place the breaded log back onto the sheet pan in the fridge and bread the rest of them.
- After all of the logs have been breaded (continue holding them in the fridge, so they stay firm), bring a medium-sized saucepot of the vegetable oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. USE A THERMOMETER to gauge the temperature accurately!
- Carefully drop no more than two logs into the pot of oil and deep fry them for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
- Gently remove them from the oil with a pair of metal tongs or a slotted metal spoon and then place them on a wire rack lined sheet pan.
- Serve with lime wedges and squeeze the juice on top before each bite!
Welcome to my tip section of the vegan ham croqueta recipe! Here I provide my top tips to help you perfect the recipe. Sometimes, I also give substitute suggestions that I think you may find helpful.
- My biggest tip for making these croquetas is to have patience, yet work fast! If you work slowly, the dough will get sticky in your hands, making it hard to roll, batter, and fry them! Allow them to chill in the fridge for as long as they need to between each step until they’re firm enough to re-handle. Also, lightly re-wet your hands as often as you need to if the dough begins to stick to you.
- I created the base of this recipe using gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs. However, the vegan ham I used does contain vital wheat gluten. So, if you have a gluten allergy, you will need to use a gluten-free, vegan ham of your choice.
- I haven’t tried making this recipe not gluten-free. I also have only made this recipe using the specific gluten-free flour I wrote in the recipe. So with that being said, I can’t guarantee the recipe will turn out the same if you use a different brand of gluten-free flour or regular all-purpose flour. If you give my recipe a try using another brand or type of flour, I’d, of course, love to hear how it worked for you!
Check out these other delicious appetizers!
- Baked BBQ Cauliflower Wings
- Vegan Salsa Con Queso
- The Best and Easiest Vegan Taco Dip
- Vegan Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits
- Italian Vegan Cheesesteak Sliders