Purple Sweet Potato Falafels

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Having read about their health benefits in connection with the Okinawa diet, purple sweet potatoes have been the object of my curiosity for many months now (for more on this scroll to the very bottom). Once I finally got my hands on these elusive tubers I knew I wanted to make something special. Inspired by the sweet potato falafels from the MaE deli and a sweet potato falafel wrap from Crussh, I set out to create my own, and thus, these purple patties of pure perfection (or so I claim) were born.

These sweet, starchy gems are so satisfying with their soft mushy texture and the lovely flavors of the coriander, garlic and hint of chili coming through. And – as all my recipes 😉 – they’re quick to make (especially if you cook the sweet potato beforehand). Perfect for when you want to try something a bit different, without spending ages at the stove.

So let’s get right to it!

Ingredients:

  • 200 g cooked purple sweet potato
  • 200-230 g chickpeas (drained, rinsed)*; my carton was 380g before draining
  • ca. 2 heaped tbsp flour (I used wholemeal spelt)/ as much as you need to bind mix
  • salt
  • chili powder
  • half a 30g bunch of fresh coriander, chopped (the rest you can sprinkle on top)
  • drizzle of garlic-infused oil**
  • coconut oil, for cooking

* I take the skin off the chickpeas as they’re easier to digest that way, but feel free to skip this step if that’s not something you’re concerned about. (Although, I have to say, there’s something strangely satisfying about popping out the chickpeas!)

**If you don’t have this you should be able to just use regular olive oil and some fresh, crushed garlic. I use it as an alternative because I sadly don’t tolerate garlic (or onion) very well, and infused oils seem to be less problematic, the critical components not being soluble in oil. (See here for more information if this affects you too.)

Method:

Mash the chickpeas in a large flat bowl with a fork (or use a food processor, but don’t over-process; they should still be crumbly and a bit chunky), add the sweet potato and mash as well (or again, if you’re looking for less manual labor just purée – I was lazy and wanted to avoid cleaning another piece of equipment, but it didn’t take very long at all). Add in your flour and season with salt and chili, before adding the chopped coriander and a drizzle of garlic-infused oil into the gloriously purple mess. Mix together with your hands (yes, they will get purple!)

Now, the fun part: roll the mix into evenly-sized balls. I made 11, but this will obviously depend on the size you prefer. I also flattened mine a bit at the end, as I didn’t want them perfectly round. Next, simply heat some coconut oil in a pan and cook the falafels on both sides for a few minutes. It’s basically just about warming them up and getting a bit of a crisp on the outside.

 

Serving suggestion:

While the falafels are sizzling away in a pan, cook some buckwheat noodles (the ones I use by King Soba only take 5 minutes) in salt water. A minute or two before they are done, add in some courgetti or other quick-cooking veg. Drain and serve with your lovely purple falafels. Drizzle with a nice oil, or create a quick little sauce by combining tahini, honey or maple syrup, lemon juice and water. (I used this lovely black tahini, by Sun and Seed, as it contrasts so nicely with the purple!). Finally, sprinkle with white sesame seeds and more coriander to finish off the dish.

Hope you enjoy!

xoxo

 

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Feel Good Fact: Like their orange cousins, the purple sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber and vitamins. Additionally they contain anti-inflammatory anthocyanins (notably also present in blueberries 😉 ), which are linked to heart health and improved eyesight, to pick out some of their benefits.

Interesting Fact: Purple sweet potatoes made up a large part of the traditional diet of the Okinawa Japanese, whose life expectancy was among the highest in the world, with a lower occurrence of heart disease and certain types of cancer (e.g. breast cancer and prostate cancer). For more on the traditional Okinawa diet check out this short, informative video.

 

Turmeric & Ginger spiced Quinoa

This is one of my absolute staple dishes that I make all the time. It’s so incredibly simple and makes me feel great every time I eat it. It takes literally 2 minutes to prepare, ca. 15 minutes to cook and all you’re left with is one pan to clean – not quite as convenient as shoving a pizza in the oven, but almost 😉  It’s a very useful little dish to have on your radar for when you’re feeling lazy, uninspired or simply have no time but still want a warm and nourishing meal.

I like making a big pot of this and taking some to uni throughout the week, having it as it is or adding whatever else might be in my fridge that needs eating. It would also make a great side dish as part of a larger spread for guests (I’m thinking with some falafel, hummus, salad and roasted aubergine for summer, or a warming chickpea stew in winter…mmm), and you can easily jazz it up by adding some pomegranate seeds, for example, like in the picture below.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 200g quinoa, uncooked
  • ca 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ca 1/2 tsp ground ginger (or even better: grate some fresh ginger)
  • veg of choice (I’ll usually go for some combination of carrots, peas, bok choy, broccoli and flower sprouts)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Add the quinoa to a pan and cover with water (I tend to just eyeball it. If you add too little you can always add more while it’s cooking and if you add too much you can drain it after, so you can’t really go wrong), adjusting to high heat.
  2. Add salt and pepper and the spices (feel free to add whatever else you desire, like some chili, or coriander is also lovely in this) and leave to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and fluffy and no longer has that hard grainy center. (I find it can help to just leave the quinoa on the warm stove for a few minutes to fluff up, after the liquid has been soaked up).
  3. Note: Depending on the vegetables you choose you’ll be adding them in the beginning (the carrots for example), or in the last few minutes (the peas, bok choy or flower sprouts).
  4. Once everything is cooked, stir in the coconut or olive oil – this is so important as it makes the quinoa wonderfully silky and it really brings out the flavor. It also increases your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the lovely veggies.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Feel Good Fact #1: Both turmeric and ginger contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds and are said to have anti-cancer properties.

Feel Good Fact #2: Quinoa is a great source of plant protein – 100g uncooked (as is the serving size here) containing around 13g – and dietary fiber. Both should help keep you full and provide you with slow-releasing energy.

Lentil pancakes

So excited to share this recipe as I’m absolutely loving it! It came about really spontaneously and I had no idea whether it was going to work, but it did and omg I have been craving these pancakes ever since.

The inspiration originally came from a meal I had at Sagar, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Covent Garden (that interestingly has a garlic- and onion-free menu; fellow IBS sufferers rejoice!). My boyfriend and I had different versions of lentil pancakes – I had a very thin, crêpe-like one and his was thick, with a strong coconut flavor – and I liked the idea. My version is nothing like the pancakes I had there though, so if my recipe doesn’t sound or look appealing to you, don’t let it put you off from trying Sagar! 😛

This is a very basic recipe, so feel free to adapt it by adding your favorite spices, such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, coriander etc. etc. I just wanted something very plain, but comforting, that I could adapt according to my wishes (stay tuned for a possible sweet version!). As to the texture, they aren’t airy or fluffy, but wonderfully soft and mushy. Real comfort food, especially as we’re going into winter now. Another great thing is that they’re so quick to make!

Ok, without further ado, I present to you, my lentil pancakes:

Ingredients:

  • cooked lentils (380g; drained 230g); used Sainsbury’s SO Organic green lentils in water
  • 3 heaped tbsp wholemeal spelt flour (or sub brown rice, buckwheat or another flour)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • salt, to taste
  • coconut oil for cooking

Method: Purée the lentils with the water, chia seeds and salt, then stir in the flour. Heat some coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the pancakes on each side for a few minutes, until nice and crispy on the edges but still soft and mushy on the inside. I found it makes 4 small-medium pancakes. Serve with salad or stir-fried veggies and enjoy!

Feel good fact: Lentils are full of fiber and protein and help stabilize blood sugar even hours after consumption! (the so-called second meal effect)

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