Falafel or Fauxlafel as these are often known… a grain free nutrient busting alternative to the popular Middle Eastern favourite Falafel. These multi seed beetroot falafel are one of my new favourite fauxlafel creations.
I totally love falafel but chickpeas don’t do good things to gut health. Why you ask? Well they’re a legume and for those who already suffer with digestive and gut issues they can compromise the integrity of the gut lining and cause leaky gut. If you’re not all that familiar with leaky gut, it’s basically when the intestinal lining of our small intestine gets damaged. As a result, some bacteria and their not so nice toxins, undigested food and waste may ‘leak’ out and into the blood stream. Because these things are not supposed to be in our blood, they cause the immune system to go into attack mode. Basically they’re seen as dangerous invaders.
The immune system says, ‘Hey mr foreign particle you shouldn’t be hanging out here, so we’re going to attack you with our super cool immune response and build up antibodies to protect ourselves from you.’ The problem is the immune system doesn’t just build up antibodies to the food particles, it gets a bit confused and attacks our healthy cells too, which is one of the reasons why people develop intolerances and allergies to certain food and how autoimmune conditions develop. I’m certain this is what happened to me. More on leaky gut coming soon and my tips on how to help restore a happy healthy gut. But for now, back to fauxlafel!
Not being one to accept that I can’t still enjoy my favourite things, I put on my creative hat and get imaginative in the kitchen. It’s surprising what delicious things you can create when you use vegetables as a base to replace grains.
Falafel are traditionally fried but I baked these today for a healthier alternative. You could always finish them off in a frying pan with a little coconut oil if you fancied a little crispness.
I paired todays beetroot falafel with a simple watercress salad drizzled in lots of lovely extra virgin olive oil. Did you know that watercress is one of the best sources of calcium? Way better than milk. There’s so much good nutrition packed into these tiny leaves… vitamin A, C and K for strong bones and healthy connective tissues. The peppery taste sets off tastebud explosions in my mouth. Love it!
Makes 10 – 12 beetroot falafel
- 3 large beetroot
- 1/2 small cauliflower
- 1 small courgette
- 25g pumpkin seeds
- 15g sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 banana shallot
- Salt and pepper
- Watercress and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180C (fan assisted).
Prepare the vegetables by peeling the beetroot, shallot and garlic.
Chop the beetroot into chunks and place on a baking tray. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the courgette and cauliflower into chunks (discard the cauliflower stalk) and finely dice the onion and garlic.
In a pan, heat a little coconut oil and gently sweat the onion and garlic on a medium heat until translucent. It takes about 2 minutes, remember you want it soft not burnt. Place to one side.
In a food processor blitz the courgette and cauliflower until it resembles a rice consistency.
Pour into a bowl, heat in the microwave for 5 minutes to soften. Transfer to a muslin cloth or thin clean tea towel and squeeze out any excess water.
Blitz the cooked beetroot in a food processor for a few seconds until coarse, not a puree.
Crack the eggs into a cup, season with salt and pepper and whisk using a fork.
Combine the onion with the vegetables, eggs, seeds, herbs, lemon, seasoning and 2 tablespoons of coconut or extra virgin olive oil. Mix well.
Form into round balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through. Turn half way through for even cooking.
Serve the beetroot falafel with a side salad of fresh watercress and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil.