We have a bit of thing for falafels in this house. It’s one of our weekly staples – they’re easy to make, taste amazing and can fill up even the hungriest of teenage boys. Lunch, dinner or snack, there’s always a good time for a falafel! I’ve had my basic recipe up on the blog for a few years now (see http://thesensitivefoodiekitchen.com/fabulous-falafels/), so time to add in some extra flavour, and nutrients, with my sweet potato version.
If you saw my last post with the pretty infographic (having discovered canva.com, there will be more of these!), there are loads of reasons to add sweet potato into your meals. The downside of falafels is that they can sometimes be a little dry; adding in sweet potato takes that risk away. You end up with a moist and tasty little bite that benefits from being baked rather than fried (as so many shop or restaurant bought falafels are).
Initially, I steamed the sweet potato but this just added texture rather than flavour, and extra effort. By baking the sweet potato, you just need to plan a little more. If you know that falafels are on your menu in the week, and you have the oven on for something else, wrap the sweet potato in some foil and pop it in to bake. Once ready and cooled, just keep in the fridge until it’s time to make your falafels.
To mix it up a bit more, you could use butter beans or even cannelloni beans; they still have great amounts of fibre and minerals, but I tend to still to good old fashioned chickpeas. And if you’re up for some experimentation, remember to save the fluid drained from the tin; this is known as aquafaba and is an amazing egg white replacement (I feel another infographic coming on!).
I like to serve these lovely falafels wrapped in some crisp lettuce with salads and plant based mayo on the side. Or you can go for wholemeal pitta breads or wraps if you need to fill hungry tummies! So give these gorgeous little bites a go – they’re dairy free, gluten free and fully plant based. And, of course most importantly, taste delicious.
Sweet potato falafels (makes 12)
1 medium sweet potato, baked, cooled and peeled
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls fresh coriander and/or parsley, leaves and stems
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 clove garlic, crushed or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chickpea/gram flour
salt and pepper
Place the cooked sweet potato, chickpeas, herbs, spices, garlic and seasoning into a food processor and pulse a few times until combined – you want a little texture. If the mix is too wet, add the chickpea flour to thicken.
Shape into small patties and place on a baking sheet. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to set.
Heat the oven to 180ºC. Remove the falafels from the fridge and bake in the oven for 8 minutes. Turn, then bake for another 8-10 until lightly browned and firm.
Can be served hot or cold.