BAKED BEETROOT FALAFELS
My resolution to cook healthier and more nutritious meals is going strong and in the past couple of months, some recipes have become weekly staples. These baked beetroot falafels are one of those. I still remember vividly the first time I had a falafel: I was studying in Paris and a good friend took me to the Jewish Quarter in the Marais for lunch. We got our (huge) falafels in Rue des Rosiers and ate them in a small public garden nearby under the sunshine – pure bliss!
There are plenty of falafel recipes out there. The real falafels are fried but why not bake them? They’re less of a calorie bomb and just as tasty. I also added beetroot and herbs to make them juicier and more colourful. Red beetroot will do the trick but I went for golden beetroot instead as I find it less sweet. If you like spicy flavours, feel free to add a bit of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika too.
Make a large batch of these beauties, freeze them and bake them little by little. I like to serve them warm inside wholemeal pitta bread with sliced veggies and tahini sauce but you can also eat them with tabbouleh or on their own. Easy to make and filling – they’re great for a quick lunch and packed with vitamins and flavour.
▸ 3-4 raw golden beetroot
▸ 400g tinned chickpeas (drained, rinsed and dried)
▸ 2 tsp quinoa flour
▸ 2 tsp ground cumin
▸ 1 tsp paprika
▸ 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil and a bit extra for brushing
▸ 1/2 tsp garlic flakes or 1 peeled garlic clove
▸ 2 tsp chopped parsley
▸ 2 tsp za’atar
▸ pinch of salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Peel and chop the beetroots into small chunks, then place them on the baking tray and cook them for around 40-45 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave them to cool.
Place the beetroots together with the chickpeas, flour, garlic, cumin, paprika and salt into a food processor. Pulse until it reaches a smooth paste. Chop roughly the parsley and add to the paste. Roll into balls, press them down into mini patty shapes. Place them on the baking tray and sprinkle them with za’atar.
Bake in the oven on one side for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes. Your falafels will be ready when the exterior is golden and crispy.