Sweet Potato Falafel Bowl

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The stars of this dish are crispy, oven baked sweet potato falafel, which are piled over roasted cauliflower and a nutty freekeh pilaf. Each of the components takes a bit of time to prepare, but the results are worth it! 

Falafel:

1 large sweet potato, cooked, flesh scooped out and mashed (about 1 cup)

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 clove garlic, chopped

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

To make the falafel, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a food processor, combine the sweet potato, chickpeas, garlic, and parsley and pulse 10-15 times, until the chickpeas and parsley are broken down.  Scrape down the sides of the work bowl, then add the chickpea flour, ground flaxseed, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and pulse 5-10 times, taking care not to over-process the mixture; it should retain some texture.  

Roll the mixture into 1.5 inch balls; you should have about 16.  Place the balls on one of the lined baking sheets.

Cauliflower: 

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces 

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 

To prepare the cauliflower, put it in a large bowl and toss with the oil.  Sprinkle with the lemon zest and a pinch each of salt and pepper and toss again.  Spread on the second baking sheet. 

Bake both the falafel and cauliflower for 15 minutes, then stir the cauliflower and gently flip the falafel. Bake for about 15 minutes longer, until the falafel are crispy and the cauliflower is lightly browned. 

Freekeh Pilaf:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 cup freekeh, rinsed 

1/4 teaspoon salt

2.5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 

Freshly ground black pepper 

To make the pilaf, heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the carrots are tender. Stir in the freekeh, salt, and broth, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed. Fluff the freekeh with a fork. Season with black pepper. 

Bowls: 

4 cups baby arugula 

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped 

3/4 cup Lemon Tahini Dressing 

To serve, divide the arugula among four bowls and top each with one-quarter of the pilaf, cauliflower, falafel, tomatoes, and cucumber.  Drizzle with the dressing and serve right away. Enjoy!