The area of London that I work in – King’s Cross, is a bit of a culinary black hole of London. So when a branch of the lunch chain LEON opened in the new station a while back, my entire office got a little over excited. Leon offer a great array of healthy lunch options, and in particular a rather scrummy sweet potato falafel superfood salad. I’ve enjoyed this plenty of times in the last few months!
I had a group of friends over for a dinner a few weeks ago, and since it was after work I wanted to serve up something that could be prepared in advance, or the day before. – A perfect opportunity to try out making some sort of falafel and other bits to form part of a huge spread. This recipe belongs to Leon, so I take no credit! The magic ingredient here is Gram flour. Gram flour, is a naturally gluten free flour, made from ground chick peas. It’s used in this recipe instead of actual chick-peas so you get a really good texture on the falafel, without having to deep fry them as you usually would need to. These are baked in the oven. They do take a while to construct, since you have to roast the potatoes, cool them, mix with flour, then rest again before baking, but perfect for a bit of Sunday afternoon cooking therapy (made even more enjoyable by singing along to my favourite tunes throughout….)
Since I bought the Gram flour a few weeks ago I’ve also been experimenting with Socca/Farinata (a flat bread dish), but more on that in due course. Chick pea is of course a legume, so if you prefer to keep them out of your diet for whatever reason (Paleo folk tend to avoid them because they can for some to irritate the digestive tract), then I think you should be able to substitute with ground almonds.
Ingredients (makes 25 falafel)
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 bug handfuls of fresh parsely (or preferablycoriander but my guests banned it)
- juice of half a lemon
- 150g Gram flour
- olive oil
- sesame seeds
- Pre-heat oven to 220C and roast the potatoes (skin on) for up to an hour. Leave to cool.
- Scoop out the flesh and add to a bowl with the cumin, garlic, ground coriander, parsley, lemon juice and gram flour. Season with salt and pepper. Mash together into a dough.
- Place the dough in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
- Re-heat the oven to 200 C and line a baking tin with foil, and lightly oil in preparation.
- Take the dough from the fridge and with your hands, roll slightly smaller than golf-ball sized balls from the mixture and place on the oiled baking tray.
- Once done sprinkle the falafel with sesame seeds, drizzle with little olive oil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Served with; Sliced Chorizo, Houmous, Greek Inspired Meatballs (with lamb), butternut squash roasted in garlic and rosemary, a superfood salad of spinach, watercress rocket, broccoli, pumkpin and butternut squash seeds dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and a pot of olives.