Falafels need to be reinvented, redefined, and remodelled. Even though you may find a few places where they are preparing them in a healthy way, this once healthy food has now become synonym of that greasy junky food people eat because they feel less guilty than eating a burger. Usually eaten in a wrap, I am today offering you another way to enjoy those little balls of happiness: a Buddha Bowl. There is not real definition of what a Buddha Bowl is. What you’ve got to know is that a Buddha Bowl basically is a bowl which you throw a whole lot of goodness in, drizzle some sauce on top and parachute a few seeds or sprouts. Here you are.
I am not trying to be bold by saying I’ll revolution them. But I am almost certain you’ll find something delectable in those. This amazing recipe transforms the sweet potato in a crispy yet mushy treat, which is not deep fried in very questionable oil but simply baked. It keeps the fat content quite low so that people that are trying to cut on fats a little may still enjoy them. They are super-healthy and you will not even make the difference!
Just so you know, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (with their high beta-carotene content) and vitamin C. They are powerful anti-oxidants (reducing the severity of inflammations – from asthma to arthritis) and even have healing properties, eliminating free radicals from the organism. Free radicals are chemical substances that damage cells and are usually associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and so on. And guess what? Beta-carotene and vitamin C have both been shown to help fighting those conditions. And if you start your beta-carotene therapy quite early, you might be lucky and develop a better tan over the summer!
Spring Equinox Buddha Bowl
Portions: 4 servings
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
For the falafels:
- 4 to 5 sweet potatoes (around 600g), peeled and cut in small bites
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of ground coriander
- 2 tsp of dry basil
- 1 tsp of cardamom (optional)
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- 1 tbsp of tahini
- 3 tbsp of chickpea flour (or rye/spelt/etc.)
- Salt & pepper
- Sesame seeds to coat
- 500g of quinoa + 1 litre of water + a pinch of salt
For the baked peppers:
- 3 red bell peppers, rinsed
- 3 tbsp of olive oil + some to drizzle
- 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- ½ tbsp of soy sauce
- Salt & pepper
- A few fresh basil leaves, sliced
For the tahini sauce:
- 3 tbsp of tahini
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed
- ½ tsp of ground cumin
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 4 – 7 tbsp of water (depending on how thick you want the sauce)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Onion Sprouts
(1) Preheat your oven to 220°C. Place all the peeled and cut pieces of sweet potato in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer until tender.
(2) In a large mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes. Add the rest of the falafels ingredients, except the sesame seeds. Once nicely mixed, place in the fridge to firm up for about an hour.
(3) Prepare your quinoa: bring the quinoa, water and salt to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Cover and set aside.
(4) Take the falafel mix out of the fridge, it should be sticky, not wet. Take large spoonfuls of batter and create falafels, rolling them in sesame seeds first and then placing them on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper.
(5) Place them in the oven for about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on whether you like them crispy and on your oven as well. Check them out after 25 minutes though.
(6) While in the oven, prepare the peppers: Slice them in half, core them, and place them on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil on top, salt and pepper, and place in the oven (if the falafels are in the middle, these should go beneath) for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the skin is nice and burnt.
(7) Take the falafels out of the oven and let them cool down. When it’s time for the peppers to come out, either wrap them up in foil or place them in an airtight container for about 20 minutes, so that you can peel them off more easily.
(8) Once peeled, slice them, place in a mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix correctly to coat. Set aside.
(9) Lastly, make the tahini sauce: mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. As easy as that!
(10) Place some quinoa in a bowl, add a few falafels, some peppers, cherry tomatoes, spouts, pomegranate and drizzle some tahini sauce on top. Enjoy!