“Orange is the happiest color.” ~ Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (1915 – 1998)
How about a really healthy and delicious alternative to meatballs and burgers? And, if by chance you need to put a little orange on your plate this weekend, well, we’ve got you covered!
Even though we don’t use mixes very often, dried falafel mix is a pantry staple at our house. We buy it in bulk (keeps practically forever), and just have it sitting in a jar at the back of the shelf, waiting patiently for when we need it. Once rehydrated, the falafel mix can be shaped into burger-size patties, mini patties for dipping, or balls (use a cookie scoop!). Deep fry, pan fry, or bake until the outside is crispy.
Falafel, a middle eastern favorite, is primarily made from garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas or cici beans), garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. Pretty simple, and great to make from scratch if you plan to use a lot or have freezer space. For those times when you just need a little, or when you want some falafel without a a lot of clean-up, a mix is invaluable. The organic varieties have nothing in them to complain about.
That said, don’t limit yourself to just what is in the box! Use your imagination and pursue a combination of flavors that you love. For us, that means adding creamy sweet potatoes, which makes the falafel moister. You can fry them, if you prefer a super-crispy crust, but we like the firmer texture throughout that baking provides – not to mention the bonus of lower fat.
Sweet Potato Sliders
Time: 45 minutes (30 minutes of time can be prepared day ahead)
1 medium sweet potato
¾ cup dry falafel mix
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (to taste)
½ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Cook the sweet potato in the microwave oven until it is very soft, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool until you can handle it comfortably.
Meanwhile, mix the falafel mix, ground chipotle pepper, and water together. Let sit to rehydrate the dried ingredients, about 15 minutes.
When the potato is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and mash with a fork. Stir in the falafel mixture until the ingredients are evenly distributed. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate until just before needed (can be prepared up to one day ahead). Then proceed…
Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Form into patties of whatever size you prefer.
Brush the patties with olive oil and arrange on the baking sheet, allowing at least 1 inch between. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn and bake for 10 more minutes, until surface is somewhat crispy. Serve while hot with condiments of choice. My favorite is barbecue sauce.