I was super excited when I was recently asked by a publishing company to create, style and shoot six everyday superfood recipes for a new book they were producing. Chance to hideout in my kitchen for a few days and conjure up lots of tasty dishes and play with my camera? Ooh go on then.
Being partial to a falafel (or three) I’ve learned to accept that unless they’re fresh out of the kitchen they’ll probably be a bit of a dry and limp flavoured letdown. If you want to eat the tastiest falafel in town you either need to get yourself to a middle eastern restaurant or street food stand, or get busy in the kitchen and make your own — which is actually really easy.
There are lots of tweaks on the traditional to try, including giving them a superfood injection as I have here with the humble beetroot. Full of goodness and touted as a way to improve exercise performance and reduce blood pressure, beetroot lends itself well to falafel making on account of its coarse texture and earthy flavour which takes on spices and seasonings well.
I like to serve them hot and inside wraps as it makes them more of a meal, but you could eat them on their own or with a grain salad instead, such as tabbouleh, topping them with a simple yogurt sauce, a chilli sauce or a drizzle of tahini (or all three together).
Make a large batch of these beauties, they freeze well and just need thawing before cooking through. Not only can they be a fast midweek meal, their jewel like appearance is a happy ray of sunshine on cold and grey winter days.
For 4 to 6
- 250g fresh beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
- 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
- 1 level tsp salt
- 150g wholemeal breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 handful fresh coriander, stalks included
- Coconut oil
- 200g full fat Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced/grated
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salad such as shredded cabbage or spinach
- Fresh coriander
- Finely sliced radishes
- Diced cucumber
- Gently fry your onions until soft, add the garlic for a minute or two, then take off the heat and leave to cool.
- Into a food processor place 2/3 the grated beetroot, 2/3 of the chick peas, the onion, cumin, coriander, salt, coriander, breadcrumbs and egg, whizz until fairly smooth. Add the remaining chick peas and blend for just a moment.
- Turn out in to a bowl and mix in the remaining beetroots, then by hand form them in to balls, around golf ball size, and place them on a plate. Once all done cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours to firm up before cooking.
- To make the yogurt dip, in a bowl place the yogurt, garlic, lemon and a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly and refrigerate until needed.
- To cook, preheat your oven to 180°C and place a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in to the bottom of a roasting tin, place it in the oven for 5 minutes until the oil has melted and heated up, then add your falafels, making sure to not overcrowd the tray (you want them to bake rather than steam).
- Put in the oven for 15 minutes then remove and turn them over, adding more oil if you need to, and baking them for another 10 minutes.
- Remove and leave to cool while you assemble your wraps and salad, giving the yogurt dip a glug of extra virgin olive oil when you’re ready to serve.
This is one of six recipes I created for Superfood, The Essential Guide — available in shops now.