I really do love falafel and will happily tuck into a pita filled with those little parcels, along with garlic sauce, hot sauce and pickled veggies. Grilled to perfection and wrapped in wax paper ready to sink your teeth into. However, said wrap is a pretty indulgent treat and when deciding to tuck in, I know that it is, essentially, a fast food meal. By no means do I kid myself into thinking I'm doing my body a favor. Now don't get me wrong, there are certainly worse things to choose from ~ BUT, people tend to believe that becuase falafel are vegetarian, they are healthy. Unfortunately my friends, this is not the case. They are deep friend and covered in creamy sauce, and I hate to ruin it for you but a falafel wrap can carry up to 750 calories and 30 grams of fat. Ouch.
So yes, there is (maybe) a time and a place for those falafels. But worry not, you can enjoy another version, guilt free, anytime, anyday, and it doesn't have to count as a "treat". Of course they taste slightly different, and naturally they would, as there are no chickpeas and they aren't fried. But once you get the hang of these, I think you'll manage to satisfy your cravings!
These are a little tricky to work with as the water content in sweet potatoes is quite high (and varies enormously) so the dough is, and should be, quite sticky. This is one reason why I roll mine in seseame seeds ~ it helps along the process. Additionally, it adds to the crunchy deliciousness. Think of it as the frying layer, if you will. So, the amount of flour you use from batch to batch could vary substantially, depending on the water content of the potato. It is fine to keep adding until you have a workable dough, but you don't want to add too much, otherwise the falafel will end up a bit dry. It's easy to manage, I just want to explain why you may need more, or less flour.
Using garbanzo (chickpea) flour, ultimately helps give this version the falafel "credentials" we are looking for. You can pick this up at almost any grocery store (including my small sobeys). Bob's Red Mill carry a version, which is what I used.
Play with the recipe ~ if the first batch you try end up a little dry, try again. If they take longer to firm up and are a bit wet, try again. But either way, the "mistake" batches are still really reallly good and should be enjoyed down to the last bite!
1 large sweet potato
1-2 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped corriander (cilantro)
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs corriander (ground)
1/2 lemon (juice of)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sesame seeds, white or black or both, your choice
Heat the oven to 425F, and roast the potato, whole, for 45 mins. Allow to cool slightly before handling. If the potato is quite soft you can cut it in half and scoop the flesh into a bowl, otherwise peel the potato. Add all other ingredients (except the sesame seeds) into the bowl and combine until no lumps are left. Start with 1 cup of flour and add more as necessary. You do want the mixture to be sticky - you aren't going for pizza dough consistency. Place the bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes, which will allow the mixture to be more manageable. Either using 2 spoons, or your fingers, make about 12-16 little falafel balls, either rolling them in sesame seeds or just sprinkling with them at the end. Place on parchment paper and bake in the over for 15 mins. Flip them and bake for another 5-10 mins.
Serve on top of a salad with tahini dressing, in a wrap, as part of a mezze, with a side of aioli..... You get the idea!