Falafels are an Egyptian recipe consisting of bite-sized balls made with chickpeas and a mix of herbs and spices. They are an excellent addition to wraps or one-bowl salad meals, but because they are deep-fried, it's best to eat them sporadically. We love falafels, and we wanted to build on the classic recipe to make it healthier. So here's our easy recipe for oven-baked black bean and sweet potato falafels.
We choose black beans and sweet potatoes as these ingredients have richer nutritional profiles than chickpeas alone. Moreover, instead of deep-frying the falafels, we baked them in the oven. The curious can read more about what makes these falafels so wholesome; the hungry can skip straight to the recipe below!
Our objective was to make falafels with fewer carbs and more proteins than the traditional ones. We also wanted more vitamins and antioxidants, and more fibres, to make our falafels suitable for a weight-loss diet.
So we started by replacing chickpeas with black beans. Black beans have almost 15% more fibres than chickpeas, and they have just as many proteins but fewer carbs. Moreover, chickpeas have nearly 25% more calories than black beans, making the black legumes more nutritious in terms of proteins and fibres.
To reduce the number of carbs even further, we swapped half the beans with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes pack a lot of nutrients in very few calories. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins. Imagine that 100g of sweet potatoes gives you almost 400% of your RDI for vitamin A! Plus they have good traces of other vitamins as well, especially C and B.
All these wholesome plant-based ingredients make our black beans falafel both vegan and gluten-free. So almost everyone can enjoy them!
Go ahead and follow our recipe below. It's so simple you'll be munching on these goodies in no time. And if you are after more diet-friendly meals, take a look at our Smart-Search tool.
- Grated Carrots
- Sweet Potato
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Cooked Black Beans
- Fresh Parsley
- Buckwheat Flour
- Ground Coriander
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes. Then, season them with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and roast for 20 minutes at 200°C (390°F) for static ovens or at 180°C (355°F) for fan ovens (1).
Once they're soft and cooked through, mash the potatoes with a fork or potato masher in a mixing bowl (2).
Drain and rinse the canned black beans and transfer them to a food processor.
Add chopped onions and fresh parsley and pulse the ingredients just until you have a chunky dough rather than a smooth mix.
Combine the bean mixture with mashed sweet potatoes. Then, add buckwheat flour, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and lemon zest and stir until the ingredients are incorporated (1).
If you have time, refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes as, by doing so, the dough will easier to handle and shape into falafels.
Dust your hands with a bit of flour and scoop a handful of the falafel mixture. Roll it int the palm of your hands and then flatten it down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat until you have used all the bean dough (2).
Bake the prepared patties in the oven for 10 minutes at 220°C (430°F) for static ovens or at 200°C (390°F) for fan ovens.
Then flip the falafels and cook them for further 10 minutes or until nicely browned.
Divide lettuce and grated carrots among serving bowls and top them with the black bean falafels.
Finally, garnish with cracked black pepper and drizzle with lemon juice, vinegar, or olive oil.
If you don't have buckwheat flour, and would like to keep this recipe gluten-free, you can use coconut, almond or oat flour.
For perfect falafels, the dough should be a bit sticky and chunky.
Add a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the sweet potatoes mash for a healthy boost and extra flavour.