Today we want to share our delicious vegan version of the famous Japanese pumpkin croquettes, also known as kabocha korokke.
These filling kibbles with kabocha squash filling and panko breading are sweet and soft on the inside and super crunchy on the outside. So delicious!
And the good news is that our croquette balls are dairy-free, oil-free and oven-baked instead of fried.
So make a large batch of these for the whole family – or just for you!
Kabocha is a type of winter squash that is widespread in Japan. It’s sweeter than other squashes like butternut squash, with dark green skin and bright orange flesh.
You should be able to find it at your local Asian grocery store, but if not, we’ve got some tips on how to swap out kabocha in the FAQ section.
Japanese croquettes, called Korokke (コロッケ) are similar to western potato croquettes, but are usually coated with panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs. That means they’re a lot crunchier and crunchier!
To make our recipe vegan, we swapped buttered onions for oven roasted onions.
Then we mixed them with kabocha squash puree, which is made with roasted rather than steamed kabocha, for added flavor.
Since kabocha is more starchy than other squash, you can easily shape it into balls and make croquettes out of them.
As for the coating, we’ve replaced the classic egg wash with a simple “flaxseed egg wash” made with just flaxseed and water.
No flax? No problem, you can find some substitutions in our FAQ section.
Then simply roll the korokke in panko and bake these beauties in the oven until crispy. Et voila!
Enjoy your vegan kabocha squash croquettes hot with some dipping sauce on the side. Yummy!
What is Japanese Kabocha Korokke?
Kabocha korokke are Japanese fried croquette balls made with a filling of kabocha pumpkin mash instead of the more common mashed potatoes.
Kabocha (かぼちゃ) is a type of Japanese winter squash Korokke (コロッケ) the Japanese say “croquettes”.
What is kabocha?
Also called kabocha squash or Japanese squash, kabocha (南瓜) is a Japanese variety of winter squash.
It is a round squash with rough, deep green skin and bright yellow-orange flesh.
Kabocha is sweeter and starchier than other cooked squash like butternut squash.
Some say its flavor and texture is a cross between a pumpkin and a sweet potato.
In Japan, kabocha is used in a variety of dishes such as soups, tempura, croquettes, and even desserts.
What can I use instead of kabocha to make Japanese korokke?
If you can’t find kabocha, you can use butternut squash to make Japanese korokke.
However, since butternut squash contains less starch and more water than kabocha, we recommend roasting it in the oven rather than steaming it.
This way you will get rid of the excess moisture.
If the butternut puree is still too soft and watery to form the croquettes, you can thicken it with a little starch or flour.
Butternut squash korokke tastes a little less sweet than the kabocha one.
So if you want, you can optionally add some maple syrup or use half butternut puree and half sweet potato puree. However, we tested the recipe with both types of pumpkin and found it unnecessary.
How do you make korokke vegan?
You can make kabocha korokke vegan by substituting vegetable oil for butter and using a vegetable alternative to eggs like flaxseed egg for the coating.
Japanese croquettes are usually coated in egg water before being coated in panko breadcrumbs.
Instead of egg wash, you can make a quick “flaxseed egg wash” by mixing 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 4 tablespoons of water.
Alternatively, you can make a flour dough by whisking together 160 mL (5.5 fl oz) of cold water with 100 g (3.5 oz) of plain flour.
Are These Japanese Pumpkin Croquettes Healthy?
Our vegan and oven-baked Korokke are a healthy alternative to the classic Japanese pumpkin croquettes.
They’re lower in fat, saturated fat, and calories because we substituted oil for butter, flaxseed for eggs, and baked them in the oven instead of frying them.
Is korokke the same as croquettes?
Yes, korokke are the same croquettes. The word Korokke (コロッケ) is how Japanese people write and spell the English term “croquettes”. katakanatheir alphabet for words of foreign origin.
Can you bake Japanese korokke?
Yes, you can bake Japanese kabocha korokke instead of deep frying them for a low-fat, oil-free recipe.
How to make kabocha pumpkin croquettes from scratch?
Making kabocha pumpkin croquettes from scratch is super easy.
All you have to do is sauté or steam pumpkin pieces until soft, puree to a puree and coat with panko breadcrumbs.
Then either bake the korokke balls in the oven or fry them in hot oil until crispy on the outside.
What can I serve with kabocha croquette balls?
The best way to enjoy kabocha croquettes is to serve them piping hot with a squeeze of lemon and a dip.
Try them with our Spicy Vegan Sriracha Mayonnaise, Egg-Free Cashew Mayonnaise, or Classic Tonkatsu Sauce (a sweet and savory Japanese sauce made with soy sauce).