Toasty Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters!

These easy, Toasty Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters are tender and moist on the inside - toasty on the outside. A light, crisp layer of panko breadcrumbs coat a cozy fall-inspired filling of mashed chickpeas, rich golden pumpkin, nutty hemp seeds, garlic, a hint of maple and a splash of bright cider vinegar.

These lovable little cakes are delicious served on their own in bite-sized morsels - or even as a festive fall patty for a veggie burger. I like to serve them alongside a big salad for dinner - a swirl of my sage cream sauce on the side. Super simple for fall!..

What is a fritter? Hmm, as I tried to name these tasty little cakes, I couldn't decide on naming them fritters, croquettes or just cakes. Well I settled on fritters since "fritter" seems the most flexible for a fried cake of filling with some sort of coating as the surface. Croquettes (one of my fave words ever) seem to be slightly the same thing, except they are usually shaped into round-rectangle shapes - almost like extra large dates. Cakes would have worked too, but I just love the word fritters :)

Substitutions Note: if you'd like you can change up the pumpkin for butternut or acorn squash. Even sweet potato will work for a slightly different flavor. You can also change up the bean. Cannellini of even nutty lentils will work nicely.

If you don't have hemp seeds - you can sub with other seeds like sunflower. But those buttery hemp seeds are lovely!

And I must say the rustic combo of chickpeas and pumpkin was pretty fantastic as is..

I've made these fritters many times already - check out what happens when you add in extra pumpkin, use fine bread crumbs instead of Panko, and light fry. Here is the result (softer, cake like patties - yum too!)..

Sidenote. Random news to smile about - did you hear that celeb Russell Brand is now proudly vegan thanks to the must-see documentary Fork Over Knives? Details over at one of my fave sites FitSugar.

Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters
vegan, makes 6-7 small round fritters

1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree (canned)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
a few dashes of pepper, cayenne and salt to taste

optional: 1-2 tsp flour to assist in binding if needed
1 cup panko bread crumbs for coating
1/4 - 1/2 cup safflower oil for frying

*baking note: you could also bake these little cakes instead of fry them if you'd prefer! Bake on parchment paper or a lightly greased baking sheet at about 350 degrees for about 20 minutes - or until toasty. BUT the panko bread crumbs are really made for a light fry. So if you can't fry - perhaps use a finer, moister bread crumb.

To Make:

1. Add the chickpeas and pumpkin to a large mixing bowl. With a large fork or potato masher, mash the beans until at least 75% of them have been mashed together with the pumpkin.
2. Add in the spices, apple cider, hemp seeds and optional flour. Fold together until a moist mixture forms.
3. Preheat a few tablespoons of safflower oil in a large skillet.
4. When the oil is hot, for the mixture into golf ball sized balls and roll in your panko crumbs until well covered - pat down into flatter cakes and place int he hot oil - carefully.
5. Continue until the pan is full - leave about an inch space between each cake for easier flipping. Cook on each side only about 1-2 minutes - or until toasty brown. Try not to burn, although a bit of crisping is nice.
6. Transfer cooked fritters to a paper towel to cool. Serve in about 5 minutes after cooling a bit.
Store in the fridge and reheat in the oven if desired. You can freeze as well. However, these fritters are best hot off the skillet!

Sage Cream Sauce of the side (super easy)

I blend up 4 fresh sage leaves with 1 cup silken tofu, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 heaping spoonful of vegan mayo and a pinch of fresh parsley. For a spicy sage sauce I add in either cayenne or a Tbsp of chopped jalapeno.

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