Recipes and images from “Real food For Babies and Toddlers” by Vanessa Clarkson (Murdoch Books)
Sweet Potato Falafel Mini Mezze Bowl
Makes 4 adult portions or 8 baby portions
Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
DIETARY INFO: Dairy-free (omit fresh cheeses) gluten-free nut-free vegetarian vegan (omit fresh cheeses)
“The idea of mezze is that there is a variety of tastes and textures to pick and chose from. This is such a great idea for little ones, as it gives them more control over what and how they want to eat.
The main part of this mini mezze is a sweet potato falafel, and to this you can add your own selection of seasonal fruit, roast vegetables, dips such as hummus (roast carrot p.127, or beetroot p.200) and fresh cheeses such as labneh (see page 240) or paneer. Sumac chicken (from the Pumpkin and Persimmon Soup with Roast Chicken reciepe on page 161 ) also work well here.” p.150
300 g (10½ oz) orange-red sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled
500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) cooked chickpeas, rinsed and well drained
40 g (1½ oz/¹⁄³ cup) besan (chickpea) flour
1 large handful flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
a selection of dips, seasonal fruit and roast vegetables and tortillas (see page 72)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a large baking tray with olive oil.
Put the sweet potato, red onion and garlic cloves in a food processor, and pulse a few times until everything is finely chopped. Be careful not to over-process; otherwise your falafel will end up
like little balls of mashed potato. Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse again until everything is well combined (you may need to scrape down the sides). Empty into a large bowl.
Use your hands to scoop the mixture, and shape into 15–20 balls or patties. As you do this, squeeze the mixture well to remove any extra liquid and ensure that the ingredients bind together as they cook. If you feel that the mix may crumble, stir in some additional besan flour at this stage. Brush or spray the falafel with extra olive oil and bake for 30 minutes.
Divide the falafel among large serving bowls, and heap in a mix of other foods to make a mini platter or bowl.
“For little ones: For beginners, I advise against serving this in an actual bowl because you’ll end up with a mega mess rather than a mini mezze. Place two or three options in front of them to choose from, and go from there. ” p.150