Back in the day. Before there was bread. Or cake. Or cream cheese frosting.
Before the 12 weeks of winter squash. And even before that weird month this summer where I was obsessed with eggplant.
There was one vegetable. And one vegetable only. (Yes I used to be a proponent of monogamy. But who has the time or the energy to commit themselves to one thing for the rest of their lives. Run rampant. Taste the rainbow. Just make sure you use protection. I don't want anyone coming back and accusing me of giving them E. bola just because they decided to eat some unwashed fruit that was imported from some non-descript third world country. "But Joanne told me to do it!" No. There will be none of that. Also. Don't drink water from a local stream either. Cholera is not fun. I know. I learned about it.)
That could make my eyes roll back in my head and have me waxing poetic about the virtues of the color orange.
The. Almighty. Sweet potato.
Now I could tell you a lot about the sweet potato. Starting with the fact that it's not actually a potato. (It's part of the morning glory rather than the tuber family.) Or that it is the most nutrient-dense vegetable out there.
But I highly doubt that you came here today because of some intense desire to learn more than you ever wanted to know about our good friend, Ipomoea batatas. Didn't think so.
You want food. And who am I to stand in the way of that?
When I heard about the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission's Sassy Sweets Blogger Recipe Challenge. I knew I had to enter.
Yes ladies and gentlemen. That is correct. The queen of sweet potatoes. Has. Returned. (You should be afraid. Very. Afraid.)
I've seen baked sweet potato falafel around the blogger world for a long time. So I did some research. Read the recipes. Had a little conversation with my bag of sweet potatoes (yes that's what the extra dollar for organic gets you - talking root veggies). And came up with this recipe.
Honestly. If you're a sweet potato lover. It doesn't get any better than this.
Baked Sweet Potato Falafel with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce Over Asparagus and Barley
Serves 4, adapted from a lot of places
For the falafel:
1 1/2 lb sweet potato
1 1/2 tsp cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 bunch cilantro
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup chickpea flour
salt and pepper to taste
sesame seeds for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake until soft, 30-45 minutes. Remove them and let cool, then peel (eat the skins) and mash the sweet potato flesh in a bowl with the remaining ingredients (except for the sesame seeds). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let the mixture sit in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray it with cooking spray. Form the sweet potato mixture into about 12 falafel balls (or more, depending on how large you want them). Place on a baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the outside is crisp.
For the tahini-yogurt sauce:
Mix 1/4 cup tahini paste with 1 cup of greek yogurt (I used non-fat), 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1/2 of a lemon's worth of juice.
Roast 2 pounds of asparagus in the oven (400 degrees, 10 minutes). Cook some barley in your rice cooker.
Plate out four portions of the barley, top each with asparagus, three sweet potato falafel, and 1/4 of the tahini-yogurt sauce. Enjoy.
I am also submitting this to this week's BSI hosted by Natasha of 5 Star Foodie!