Southwest Sweet Potato Falafel

by Quinn Asteak 

For mothers day, I wanted to share one of my mom’s favorite recipes, my Southwest Sweet Potato Falafel.  Moo, this one is for you! (Yes, I call my mother “moo”)

I’ve been making this for years and finally posted it on my website a couple months ago after I made them for a big meeting.  The person we were trying to impress said (and I quote), “these things are stooopid delicious”, which still ranks as one of my favorite food compliments ever.

Since my mom checks my site literally every 2.5 seconds, right after the recipe went live she called being like “I WANT THOSE!”.

The Southwest Sweet Potato Falafel are awesome because they have a great mix of unexpected flavors.  They’re perfect in a pita, on a salad or on their own, dipped in some great cilantro yogurt sauce (recipe below).

You bes’ believe that the next time I was at home I whipped up some of these spicy, sweet balls of goodness and my whole family noshed in delight.  I don’t think my mom called them “stooopid delicious” but they are definitely one of her favorites.

So, Moo, if you weren’t off on a business trip somewhere I’d be coming home on Mother’s Day to cook you anything you desire!  Thank you for feeding me my whole life (even if all I ever wanted was peanut butter on a spoon or chicken teriyaki).  When I’m teaching a newbie cook I always use your classic line “if you can read, you can cook”.  And let me just say: woman, you can READ 🙂

It goes without saying that as a perfect Jewish mother you made the best Jewish food, but watching you whip up things like Moroccan Tagines, Indian chutneys and roasting a whole goose like it ain’t no thang still serve as my inspiration to get bold and creative in the kitchen.

As I started really learning to cook, you were my first guinea pig and I never would have learned without your constant encouragement and constructive feedback.  These days, you are my favorite sous chef, dish washer and diner.  Not only that, but you’re also my my role model, biggest supporter and best  friend.  I love you like crazy.  Happy Mother’s Day!

And now…FOOD.

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Southwest Sweet Potato Falafel
Yield: about 18-24 (serves 4-6)
Total Time: 2 hours
Active Time: 15 minutes

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes/red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup sheep’s milk yogurt
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.  Scrub the sweet potatoes and stab in them the aid the cooking/heat venting.  Place them on a baking tray in the oven and let them cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until fork tender.

Allow the potaoes to cool, then peel off the skins.  Put the flesh in a mixing bowl with all of the other ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth (no large chunks).  Take a little taste and adjust accordingly.  Maybe it needs more garlic?  More salt?

Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies big time).

Reheat the oven to 400F. Using a couple of soup spoons or a tablespoon scooper, place balls on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for around 15-25 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

To make the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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