Beetroot & Split Pea Falafel with Dill

  • Prep in 25 minutes (+ 2 hours soaking)
  • Cook in 1 hour

This recipe links to the post ‘The Red Hot New Kids on The Block’

Beetroot are unusual because it’s the betalains that give beetroot their blood red stain, rather than the anthocyanins as we have come to expect in red/purple vegetables. This also makes them unique in the way they provide antioxidant protection. Research into this radical root is still in its infancy but lab studies have shown significant tumour shrinking properties for a number of cancers (including stomach, colon, nerve, lung and testicular). It is suggested that it’s the combination of the betalains with high levels of Manganese (another antioxidant) and Vitamin C that make beetroot unique in their form antioxidant activity with particular benefit for eye and nerve tissue health. One thing to mention about the betalains though is that they are more vulnerable to oxygen and losses through cooking than other pigments, because of this I keep the beetroot raw in my falafel mix and keep baking time under 40 minutes in line with the current research.

And if it wasn’t enough that they’re already bucking the trend & cutting new waves in antioxidant colour circles, beetroot are also extremely rich sources of Lutein & Zeaxanthin. If you remember the story of Bugs Bunny (here) these two carotenoids are the big daddies in the health of our eyes. So they may make our fingers (and urine, don’t be scared it’s completely normal!) pink but they’ll also keep our blinkers in tip top condition which I thinks makes for an extremely good trade in our favour!

Key Facts

  • Plant-Powered
  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Family Friendly

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas

  • 1 large beetroot

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 stick celery

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • juice of a lemon

  • salt & pepper

  • large handful fresh dill

Preparation

  1. 01

    Place your peas in a large glass bowl or jug, cover with double their volume of water, add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar and leave to soak for at least 2 hours or overnight. Again if you don’t have time this step is not vital but it does increase the availability of the nutrients within the peas. See ‘Soaking & Sprouting‘ for more info.

  2. 02

    Drain and rinse the peas really well then add to a pan, cover with plenty of water, add a pinch of salt, pop a lid on and bring to a boil. Turn down to a very gentle simmer and cook for 30-35 mins until tender. (Your peas will take less time to cook the longer you leave them to soak.)

  3. 03

    Once cooked drain the peas and leave to steam in the sieve so some of the excess moisture comes off.

  4. 04

    Preheat your oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking tray with coconut oil.

  5. 05

    Peel and roughly chop your beetroot, add to a food processor with the peas, sliced clove of garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse to a chunky paste.

  6. 06

    Add the lemon juice, tahini and dill then pulse again to combine. You don’t want to pulse for too long otherwise you lose the texture of the peas. I like to finely chop my celery and add right at the end then pulse just enough to mix everything together.

  7. 07

    Form into patties and place on the baking tray. Pop into the oven and cook for 20 minutes then gently flip over (they are quite fragile but will hold together if you use a delicate touch!) bake for a further 8 minutes then take out and leave to cool for at least 10 minutes on the tray. This allows them to firm up slightly but if you don’t mind them a little crumbly they’re great straight out of the oven too.

  8. 08

    I’ve served mine below with a spinach, apple, broccoli stem and sun-dried tomato salad with some avocado curls and sauerkraut but absolutely freestyle with your preferred accompaniments if they differ!

About Me

Phoebe Liebling (BSc, DipNT) is a highly respected clinician & award winning product & recipe developer based in Harley Street.

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