Detox yourself in the most delicious way with simple, beautiful beetroot & cashew falafels…

I love cake. Like seriously love it. I love soft, squidgy, fudgy, damp crumb on my plate and inch-thick, sweet, buttery frosting on my fork.

I also love ice-cream. I love melty spoonfuls of creaminess with fat chunks of brownie, chocolate, nuts, cookie…well, you get the dangerously-close-t0-diabetes-if-I-don’t-exercise-a-little-self-control picture.

Then there’s cheese. Bread. And let’s not even go down the slippery wine lined slope, you know, the one with the chocolate pit stop on the way…?

Anyone else out there feel like a split personality when it comes to food? Because as well as all of those things, I also really love avocado and spinach and chickpeas and kale and bulgar and salmon and goji berries and almonds (yes, even the non-chocolate covered kind) and all the things that we’re told day after day are good for us. So what’s a girl to do?

Everything in moderation people, everything in moderation which is why, if you’re anything like me and aim high for goodness while sometimes low and falling hard and fast into a plate of pumpkin doughnuts or the latest Honest Burgers incantation, this recipe for beetroot falafels from the Detox Kitchen is exactly what you need.

Plus, on a day like today when there’s nothing but an ocean of grey outside as far as the eye can see, these vibrant, Middle Eastern sunset hued balls of sesame seed studded goodness from the Detox Kitchen Bible are just the thing to bring a little sunshine to your plate…

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The aim of the Detox Kitchen is simply to bring into your life a ‘healthy balanced diet rich in plant based foods and lean protein’. Their aim is to take out of your diet the foods that leave you feeling sluggish & lethargic and to introduce those instead which leave you feeling energized & revitalized and heaven only knows, if you ever feel anything like me in your day to day life – frantic, stressed & hurriedly always trying to pack a million things into 24 small hours – anything that can help you feel better & more in control has got to be worth a try.

The Detox Kitchen Bible is the kind of cookbook that you could dip in and out of, surfacing with something different, delicious and nutritious every time. Eschewing wheat, dairy & refined sugar, the dishes here offer a different take on dinner that you might begin feeling somewhat sceptical of but then find yourself falling in love with. I personally eat wheat and dairy so making these falafels wasn’t a deliberate choice after searching for recipes that were free of those things; rather I was seduced by the simplicity of detail, the amazing health benefits of the humble, earthy beetroot – rich in iron and high in antioxidants which help clean your liver – and the beauty of the photographs.

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 which J and I happily devoured over 2 nights)

  • 1 can of chickpeas (FYI it’s worth checking the world food aisle in your supermarket for chickpeas that are cheaper, look more authentic and taste fantastic)
  • 2 raw beetroots, diced (we used 4 small cooked beetroot here to save time)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 80g plain cashews (originally this recipe calls for 50g cashews & 30g pistachios but we used all cashews & it tasted fantastic)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 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 (make sure you have extra sesame seeds on hand as we needed more than just the suggested 1 tbsp as our mixture was quite wet)

FOR AN ACCOMPANYING DIP:

  • 3 tbsps plain yoghurt (the recipe calls for plain soya yoghurt but we used the plain, regular, low fat kind)
  • grated zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • a pinch of ground cumin
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1 cucumber, peeled & seeded & finely diced

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
  • Line a large baking tray with grease-proof paper.

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  • Drain & rinse your chickpeas and place them in a food processor with the beetroot, carrot & cashews; pulse until everything is well combined and finely chopped (I stopped every few seconds to give it all a bit of a stir with a spoon to ensure a thorough mix)

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  • Heat your oil in a frying pan and gently cook your onion & garlic until soft and slightly golden.
  • Place the onion & garlic in a large bowl with all your chopped ingredients from the food processor.
  • Add into that same bowl the egg, lemon zest, cumin & paprika and mix really well.

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  • Tip your sesame seeds onto a flat plate and spread out.
  • Shape the mixture into roughly golf balls sized orbs – they do not have to be perfect! – and then roll each one in the sesame seeds.

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  • Place each ball onto your lined baking tray and bake in the oven for approximately 50-60 minutes; we had enough balls for 2 trays so I checked on them every 15 minutes or so to ensure nothing was getting too well done and to rotate my trays if needed.

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  • Make the dip by mixing together all of the listed ingredients.

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  • We served these with skin-on, sweet potato wedges baked in the oven alongside the falafels on an additional tray because really, what doesn’t go with sweet potato wedges? Nothing. The answer is nothing. The only correct answer is nothing. Them’s the rules on this blog…

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Sweet from the beetroot & carrot, nutty from the cashews & chickpeas, fragrant from the cumin & paprika…these fafalel are outrageously good. They’re filling without being heavy and the yoghurt dip adds a cooling, creamy tang to each deliciously, crumbly bite.

I might have started this post by extolling the wonders of cake & ice-cream like the chubby cheeked gal at a 5 year old’s birthday party but I’m going to end it by glorifying these little globes of goodness that will leave you feeling virtuous, satisfied and checking the nearest mirror for the healthy glow you just know must be bursting forth from every pore.

Be brave to your palate and be kind to your body by introducing it to these beauties tonight…

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