If you’re stuck for healthy lunching ideas, why not take a cue from Lily Simpson of The Detox Kitchen and give the classic falafel a colourful spin? We’ve already added this recipe from the The Detox Kitchen Bible (Bloomsbury Publishing) into our repertoire, as it’s quick and delicious and features one of our favourite skin foods — beetroot! Plus, it’s rather beautiful-looking (who doesn’t like a bit of pink on their plate?). Now, over to Lily…
This recipe is the result of a heroic number of falafel trials. The main reason falafels go wrong is taking a short cut and using tinned chickpeas. This always results in wet, mushy, sad-looking falafels. But if you start with dried chickpeas, you will end up with wonderfully crisp, round, textured falafels. We’ve added beetroot to these for its bright red colour. Beetroot is a rich source of folate, which is used in the production of red blood cells and helps ward off anaemia.
385 calories per serving
200g dried chickpeas
2 raw beetroots, peeled and finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
50g cashew nuts
30g home-shelled pistachio nuts
1 tsp olive oil
½ red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sesame seeds
For the yoghurt dip
3 tbsp plain soya yogurt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp tahini
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely sliced
A pinch of ground cumin
A pinch of salt
Iceberg lettuce, separated into leaves
Fresh mint leaves
- Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight. The next day, drain and place them in a fresh pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 50 minutes until soft. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Place the chickpeas, beetroot, carrot, cashew nuts and pistachios in a blender and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add them to the bowl along with the rest of the ingredients (except the sesame seeds). Mix together well.
- Shape the mixture into small balls and roll them in the sesame seeds to coat. Place the balls on the baking tray and bake in the heated oven for 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dip by mixing together all the ingredients for it.
- Serve the falafels with the dip, lettuce leaves and mint. To eat, place three mint leaves on a lettuce leaf, set a falafel on this, add a dollop of yogurt dip and wrap up.
Rich in: Vitamins B1 (thiamin) and B6 • Folate • Potassium • Iron • Magnesium • Beta-carotene • Phytoestrogens • Beta-sitosterol • Nitrates
Lastly, name a favourite recipe from the book…
I’m not a baker, I’m more of a hob person who throws in spices and herbs spontaneously, however my current favourite recipe (it varies sometimes!) has to be the banana bread, which I previously mentioned. It’s so easy to make, and the cinnamon, nutmeg and orange zest highlights the sweetness of the bananas perfectly!