Brown Rice, Spinach, and Fig Croquettes

Posted by on Jul 24, 2013 in Main Dishes | 4 comments

… aka Flavor-full Fritters!

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Brown Rice, Spinach, and Fig Croquettes

Croquettes are little rounds of chopped mixtures of ingredients. Creations of your liking, then traditionally rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

Fritters are similar to croquettes … little rounds of chopped mixtures of ingredients, i.e. meat, vegetables, fruit, cheese, then traditionally dipped in a batter and deep fried.

Mine are a twist of both. No rolling in breadcrumbs. No batter-dipping. And more of a pan sear or sauté than deep frying, though they are cooked in a very shallow bit of oil.

Brown rice. Fresh spinach. Sage. Figs. Dried Cherries. Minced oats. Faux Ricotta*. Yes, yes, yes. A bounty of flavors, colors, and vitamins that keep me going back for more … or at least wanting to. Crispy, golden, crunchy exterior. Al dente chew, sweet, tart, savory inside. All gluten-free. All dairy-free. Vegetarian, but not vegan. As delicious the next day as they were the previous.

These croquettes were inspired by a recipe I found in the article, Gluten-free Satisfaction, in Vegetarian Times magazine, June 2013, featuring Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, aka Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern. Thanks for the inspiration, Shauna and Daniel.


Brown Rice, Spinach, and Fig Croquettes


No Shell Fish Bug No Peanut Bug No Soy No Dairy Bug No Gluten BugPrep time: about 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes


Ingredients for Faux Ricotta: (this will make a little more than you need)

1/2 cup raw pine nuts

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1 Tablespoon water

 *Faux Ricotta recipe contains nuts. If nut-free is required, the Faux Ricotta can simply be eliminated from the croquette recipe. This ricotta recipe is slightly altered from the original recipe Rich & Nutty Ricotta by Alisa Marie Fleming of Thank you, Alisa, for all of your dairy-free brilliance!


Ingredients for croquettes:

2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice – I use Lundburg

1 medium red onion, about 1 1/2 cups chopped

1 clove garlic

3 large eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons fresh sage, finely diced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup finely ground quick-cooking oats – I use Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Rolled Oats – these can be quickly ground in a food processor

1/3 cup Faux Ricotta

3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

6-8 fresh figs, stems removed, finely chopped (see note below)

1/4 cup dried cherries, finely chopped

2 Tablespoons corn flour (not corn meal) – I use Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil



Combine pine nuts and cashews in a food processor and pulse beginning to cream. Add lemon juice, salt, oil and water and puree until smooth. Set aside in a small bowl.

Combine rice, onion, garlic, eggs, sage, salt, oats, faux ricotta (if using), spinach, figs, cherries, and corn flour in a large bowl. Stir very well to combine. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Check mixture for “stiffness”. Scoop a little in your hands and see if it will gently roll into a ball. If it is too wet, add corn flour (a tablespoon at a time), stir into mixture and let sit for a minute or so. If the mixture is too dry, add water (a tablespoon at a time), and mix.

Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture at a time into palm of hand, then roll into a ball. If the ball won’t hold together, the mixture is too wet. Place balls on a plate.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat. I used my high-walled Dutch oven to reduce the splattering of oil.

Add 1/2 of the croquettes to the pan and cook until golden and crispy (they’ll release from pan easily when cooked), about 5-7 minutes, then turn and cook on other side. Be sure to keep the heat just high enough so they crisp on the outside but still have plenty of time to cook thoroughly on the inside since they contain eggs. If the exterior browns too quickly, reduce the heat a little to allow for a longer cooking time. My medium setting was a bit high. Remove from pan and set on a plate. Continue with the rest of croquettes. (Hint: If you try to cook them all at once, it is difficult to turn them, and they don’t cook as well if they’re overcrowded.)

Serve hot. These are delicious with a crisp green salad adorned with fresh tangerine segments and sliced avocado.

Note: I found it very easy to get a fine chop on the figs and cherries by pulsing them together in my food processor. Once these were finely chopped, I added in the spinach leaves and gave it a quick pulse, three times, to coarsely chop it. Worked perfectly – and very fast.

Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™

Other recipes you might enjoy: 

Grilled Stuffed Baby Portobella Mushrooms

Grilled Stuffed Baby Portobella Mushrooms

Beef, Black Rice, and Apple Medley

Beef, Black Rice, and Apple Medley

Gluten-free Dairy-free Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup

Creamy Homemade Tomato Soup



  1. nice recipe , thanks for sharing

    • Hi Virginia! Kind of a different and fun recipe, right? I’m happy to share it with you. Thanks for stopping by! xConnie

  2. this is so cool, can not wait to taste it

    • Hi Nadine! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you try them and they become a favorite of yours too. They’re a bit different – which is one of the things I love about them. Be sure to let me know your thoughts once you’ve tried them. xConnie

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