Sweet Potato Falafel

This falafel recipe is based on Leon’s and the pumpkin falafel recipe in The Extra Virgin Kitchen. Deep-frying falafel may taste good, but isn’t recommended for our waistlines and arteries. Shame. More alarmingly, deep-frying food can make our mouth feel like a camel’s armpit. Luckily Leon designed theirs to be baked.

Here’s a quick video of me cooking them live on TV3.


Sweet Potatoes

This vegetable’s buttery flesh is stuffed with goodness. There’s potassium for hangovers, vitamins A and C to slay superbugs (think Uma Therman in Kill Bill) and even extra carotenoids for those who can’t afford to keep up their Botox installments.

That’s a lot of ammunition for an oul spud.

This morning I found 6 sweet potatoes for 1.20 in my local four-letter German supermarket, so I splashed out on dried mulberries and goji berries too. You’ll dig the unexpected nuggets of chewiness these superfoods bring to falafel (as well as their stash of nutrients).


falafel ingredients susan janesweet potato falafel mulberries


around 500g cooked & mashed sweet potato

125g-200g of chickpea flour (aka gram or garbanzo flour)

2 handfuls wild garlic leaves, finely chopped*

squeeze of lemon

2 tablespoons chopped spring onions

Fistful of dried mulberries and goji berries (optional nonsense)

1 tablespoon sweet curry powder

Pinch of dried chilli flakes or 1 diced red chilli

black sesame seeds, to garnish

fresh coriander, to serve


Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F.

This recipe isn’t a science. You’re aiming for the falafel to be one-third chickpea flour. It’s really that simple, so use whatever amount of sweet potato you have, and adjust the recipe as appropriate.

We regularly bake a tray of sweet potatoes in their jackets at 200 Celsius (180 fan) for 40-80 minutes, depending on their size. They will keep cooked for 3 or 4 days in the fridge, or will freeze once mashed. Just make sure the potatoes are overcooked rather than undercooked.

First, line a baking tray with parchment or grease with a lick of olive oil.

Using clean hands, mash all the falafel ingredients (except the black sesame seeds) together. Keep the onions and garlic out if toddlers intend on looting the batch.

Put the falafel mix in the freezer for 15-30 minutes to firm up. Mould into falafels and place on the lined baking tray. I find an ice cream scoop is the best way to shape falafel. If you use teaspoons and patience, you’ll double the portions and halve the baking time. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cook in the oven for 20-45 minutes, depending on their size.

Try serving alongside coconut or Greek yoghurt, smooth hummus or a big bowl of peas. The messier, the better.


* if you can’t find wild garlic leaves by a river near you, or in a savvy deli this time of year, grate some raw garlic cloves instead and add fresh coriander or smashed coriander seed. That should do the trick! 




This article has 7 comments

  1. Mairéad

    Made these yesterday! Truly scrumptious! An amazing mix of flavours. Served them with homemade goji berry mayonnaise, feta, rocket and sourdough bread. A really tasty dinner 🙂

  2. Jacqueilne Breslin

    Sounds so good! I am obessed with falafels. I make simular with tinned chick peas rinsed and whizzed up with the sweet potatoe and herb mix, roll the mix in flaxseed then fry in coconut oil. Any advantage to using the chickpea flour?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *