Monday, March 12, 2012

Recipe: Baked Sweet Potato-Kale Falafel

So much kale, so many ways to adapt other recipes! Here is one where I easily substituted baby kale for spinach. Not that I don't love fresh spinach, but I prefer spinach where its sweet and distinctive taste can be highlighted and appreciated.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel with Kale (Recipe adapted from

Yield: made about 30 patties (3-5 falafel per serving)


• 2 medium sweet potatoes (I baked 4 so I will have extra to use later in the week)
• 1 teaspoon dried cilantro (could also use ~3/4 cup fresh cilantro - or parsley if you have family members who are particularly sensitive to, i.e. really dislike!, the taste of cilantro, like my husband)
• 4 cups loosely packed fresh kale leaves (without any thick stems - use entire leaf if using baby kale)
• 4-6 cloves garlic or more to taste, peeled
• 1-1/2 cup garbanzo beans (~ 1-15 ounce can, well drained)
• 1 Tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat flour, you do not want the mixture to be 'wet')
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
• Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
• Salt - just a pinch
• Ground black pepper - just a few grinds
• 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
• About 2 tablespoons sesame seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes several times. Place on a sheet of aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until just cooked but still firm. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.'s directions said to discard the skins. No, no! Please either compost or feed to your dog!
2. Combine sweet potatoes, cilantro, kale, garlic, garbanzo beans, flour, cumin, coriander, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor or blender; process until well mixed. The texture can be somewhat chunky or smooth, depending on your preference.
3. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, allowing flavors to blend and mixture to become firm.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees as you begin Step 5. Lightly oil a baking sheet or use parchment paper. Remove sweet potato mixture and check its consistency. It should be sticky but not wet. If necessary, add a few more teaspoons of flour.
5. Using a spoon or your hands, form about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a ball. With the back of a spoon, flatten the ball into a thin disk with a concave top (I did not bother with this). Place on the baking sheet. Repeat for desired amount of servings, about 3-5 patties per person. (Extra sweet potato mixture can be refrigerated as long as several days and baked as needed or bake it all now, which is what I did, and then use left-overs for meals later in the week or freeze for much later use)
6. Brush each disk lightly with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle sesame seeds on top. If a crunchier texture is desired, turn disks over and sprinkle seeds on the other side as well, then turn again so the concave side faces up (I did not bother with this extra step).
7. Bake until bottoms are golden brown, 20-30 minutes (set timer for 20 minutes then keep checking the bottoms.) Centers should still be moist.
8. Serve inside pita pockets, topped with tomatoes (fresh if in season or use dried), lettuce, spinach, or shredded cabbage, tahini, plain yogurt, or other vegetables and sauces of your choice.

Special note: Make sure that the cilantro/parley and kale leaves are dried well before adding them to the food processor.

(Photo: Baked Sweet Potato-Kale Falafel with flat pita bread, shredded cabbage, plain yogurt sprinkled with sumac, topped with picked (oops correction - that should be pickled!) whole garlic scapes - yum, yum!!)
Later in the week, I used some of the remaining falafel patties crumbled on top of a warm salad: warmed up left-over brown rice topped with shredded greens, olives, other bits of left-over vegetables, and crumbled falafel patties. Pour a dressing made from a combination of olive oil, vinegar, and a small amount of yogurt over all. Easy and delicious fast food. :)

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Matthew Germain said...


I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog. So much so that I made you the "Hero of the Week" on mine on March 15th. Thanks for being such a great resource of both information and inspiration

Kate said...

I made these last night and they were fabulous! Loved knowing I was eating healthful food that were tasty.

Anonymous said...

I made this as a baby food for my 11 month old twins, and they love them! Thanks for the post!