Adrienne Gajownik


Sesame sweet potato falafel

This week's Food Matters Project recipe is spinach tofu burgers by Matt + Claire. I love a good veggie or bean burger, but I don't cook with tofu much. I decided to use sweet potatoes as the main ingredient since they're so plentiful this time of year.
This recipe was inspired by a dish I created in my Natural Chef classes last year. Our final exam was to create a dish using sweet potatoes (that was vegan and gluten free), and I ended up making sweet potato cakes. Instead of sautéing them, I decided to bake them this time around. I think they're closer to a falafel—instead of a cake or burger—because of their small size and crunchy sesame seed crust.
I had baked a sweet potato a few nights earlier, in hopes of making muffins, but neglected to do so. I decided to whip up these falafels to enjoy with a large salad for lunch instead. These guys would make a great finger food at your Halloween party.

Sesame sweet potato falafel
Makes 14-16 small falafels
~2 cups cooked sweet potato, cut into small cubes
1/3 c almond meal
1 tbsp garbanzo bean flour
half a red onion, diced small
1 small stalk of celery, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp cilantro
1/2 c sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put sweet potato chunks into a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork before adding the almond meal and garbanzo flour.

Heat olive oil over low-to-medium heat. Add the red onion and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent and the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and all the spices. Cook for another few minutes and remove from heat. This should make about half a cup. Mix the vegetables into the sweet potato mixture along with the lemon zest and cilantro.

Pour sesame seeds onto a plate and spread out in a uniform layer. Using a spoon, scoop out about a tablespoon worth of filling and use your hands to shape into a ball. Roll the ball through the sesame seeds until coated well. Put onto the baking sheet. Repeat until you're out of filling. Press each ball down with the back of a fork.

Bake on one side for 12 minutes. Flip over and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Lemon yogurt sauce
1/3 c plain yogurt
1 tbsp minced red onion
1/2 tsp lemon zest, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp zaatar
pinch of salt
1/2 c celery leaves or cilantro

Mix all ingredients together. Top each sweet potato falafel with a dollop of yogurt and a celery leaf.