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!
- 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
- 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.)
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.
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!
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.