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Baked Sweet Potato Falafel December 11, 2012

healthy cocktail party appetizer

My crop-share doled out a ton of huge sweet potatoes this fall and I was in need of an appetizer to serve a crowd.  Scrolling through Pinterest for ideas, I came across a pin for a baked sweet potato falafel from the Leon Cookbook featured on 101 Cookbooks.  I doubled the recipe and added a yogurt sauce to complete the dish (as my husband would say, isn’t everything better with a dipping sauce?!?).  These baked mounds of goodness are topped with sesame seeds to make up for the crunch lost from baking instead of frying.  This recipe is now in my regular weeknight rotation, but is tasty enough to serve as a cocktail party appetizer.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds total)
2 small cloves of garlic

1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 ½  teaspoons ground coriander

½ bunch fresh cilantro

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup chickpea flour

Olive oil

Small handful sesame seeds

1 tsp. Kosher salt + more for yogurt sauce

fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

1 (6oz) container Greek yogurt (such as Fage 0%)

To make the falafel:

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wrap pierce sweet potatoes several times with a knife, then wrap each potato in tinfoil.  Place wrapped potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Roast until just tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Let potatoes cool, then peel them and discard the skin.

2.  Mince garlic in the bowl of a large food processor, then add sweet potato flesh, cumin, coriander, cilantro, ½ lemon juice, chickpea flour, 1 Tablespoon salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth, with no large lumps.  Refrigerate mixture for about an hour, giving it time to firm up.  The mixture should be sticky rather than really wet.  Add a additional chickpea flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies).

3.  Reheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Using a spring-loaded scoop or a couple of soup spoons (scoop up a heaping spoonful of mixture in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides), make the mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are slightly golden brown and the balls are firm to the touch (but not hard – they should give a little).  Serve in whole wheat pita with yogurt sauce.

To make the yogurt sauce:

Combine yogurt, remaining ½ lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.  Serve with falafel.

Serves 4-6 (makes about 18 falafels)


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