It’s snack time and I wanted to show you that falafel’s don’t have to taste as dry and tasteless as a cardboard bun. And the dip is a trip. This falafel recipe is very tasty and also vegetarian!
– 450g butternut squash or sweet potato, peeled and cubed
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tsp allspice
– 1 tsp chilli flakes
– 2 tsp ground coriander
– 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
– Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
– Juice of 1 small lemon
– 1 tsp nigella or onion seeds
– 3 tbsp plain flour, plus extra to coat
– 5 tbsp sunflower oil
– Salt and freshly ground black pepper
– 150g thick Greek yoghurt
– 100ml buttermilk
– 3 tbsp milk
– 1 fat garlic clove, crushed
– 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
– 4 tbsp pickled jalapenos, to serve (optional)
– 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– 3 tbsp tahini paste
– 1 large garlic clove, crushed
– Zest and juice of 1 lemon
– 1 large ripe avocado
– 2–3 tbsp cold water
– 1 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
– 4 flatbreads or wraps
1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/fan 180oC/gas 6.
2. In a large roasting tray, toss the squash or sweet potato with the oil, allspice, chilli flakes and ground coriander. Season to taste.
3. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until just cooked.
4. Place 1 tin of the chickpeas, the roasted squash and half the coriander leaves in a food processor and blitz several times to create a rough-textured mixture.
5. Transfer to a bowl and blitz the remaining chickpeas in the food processor to a coarse texture. Add to the rest of the mixture and stir through the flour, most of the remaining coriander leaves and lemon juice. Season to taste.
6. Form the mixture into 12 balls, flatten gently with the palm of your hand and sprinkle with the nigella seeds.
7. Set aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
8. Make the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the yoghurt, buttermilk, milk, garlic and parsley. Season to taste and set aside.
9. Next, make the hummus. Blitz the chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon zest and juice together in the small bowl of the food processor.
10. Scoop the flesh out of the avocado, add to the chickpeas and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir through enough of the water to create a dropping consistency. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the oil.
11. Now, return your attention to the falafel. Sprinkle some flour onto a plate and dip each falafel into it, making sure each one is evenly coated.
12. Heat the sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
13. Add the falafel and gently fry on each side for 5 minutes. Set aside on kitchen paper then transfer to a baking sheet and place in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
14. Meanwhile, warm the flatbreads in a low oven for 5 minutes.
15. Assemble the flatbreads with the falafel, a good drizzle of the sauce, a spoonful of hummus, the remaining coriander and some pickled jalapenos, if you like.
In 2015, DIY SOS star Nick Knowles was feeling unhealthy, out of shape and on the verge of burning out. Determined to change his lifestyle, he travelled to Thailand with a camera crew and fellow DIY SOS stars Billy Byrne and Julian Perryman for a detox, involving a week-long fast followed by a purely vegan diet. A year on, Nick eats a vegan or vegetarian diet, with the odd day off, and is slimmer, healthier and fitter than ever. Now, he is on a mission to help everyone discover the joy in a meat-free meal without having to give up a Sunday Roast at the in-laws or a bacon buttie at the footie. Proper Healthy Food is packed with 100 mouth-watering and surprisingly easy recipes.
Extracted from Proper Healthy Food by Nick Knowles (BBC Books, Paperback, £14.99). Photography by Andrew Burton.