Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel recipe from the Leon cookbook -made from mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea flour, spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

Do all you U.K. based readers know the Leon restaurants? I bet many of you do. I'm feeling a bit in the dark here. I learned of the fantastically successful Leon destinations while flipping through an Aussie food magazine the other day and ended up ordering the newly released Leon cookbook on the spot. I think we can all agree, it's a challenge to find natural food cookbooks that are full of great content and exceptionally well designed. Wait until you get a glimpse of this book. Written by chef/owner Allegra McEvedy, it's quirky, fantastic, fun, and takes all sorts of liberties with traditional book design. I'm highlighting the baked sweet potato falafel recipe here today, but it was hard for me to settle on a single recipe. The 300+ page book is full of the big-hearted, bold-flavored, seasonal, gutsy food the cafes are known for.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

Leon covers a lot of ground. It is divided into two major sections - ingredients and recipes. Essentially, you learn how to source great ingredients in the first part, and how to put them to use in the second part. The book includes a tear-out seasonality chart, an endearing fold-out European cheese map, all sorts of icons, funky fonts, and info-graphics throughout. You can have a glance at their menu to get a sense of the kind of recipes you'll find in the book - plenty for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Lots of whole grains, an emphasis on minimally processed ingredients. Really great.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

I feel like this is a cookbook that will resonate with many, not only as a reference, but also as an object that was thoughtfully made by people who care about what they are doing. It would be a great gift to give to young people as they are going off to college, or striking out on their own. If I had this book when I was twenty-two it may not have taken me as long as it did to find a culinary realm I love exploring - mindful food that is full of flavor and fun and friendship.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

I'll finish up with a few notes about the baked sweet potato falafel recipe. These aren't your typical falafel, nor were they intended to be, just keep that in mind before you write in. These falafel are made with a mashed sweet potato and chickpea flour base, accented with a generous punch of spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro. If you're looking for that crunchy, fried, falafel experience, this isn't it. But these are delicious in their own way. And the sesame seed sprinkle gives each one a little bit of crunch. The next time around I might actually give each falafel a dunk in some sort of egg bath, and then in the seeds for a bit more crunch and coverage. At Leon they are served as a mezze along with chopped tomatoes, pickles, and aioli.

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Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

These falafel are Leon's most popular veggie dish to date. They knew they wanted falafel on the menu, but chose not to have deep fryers. After some experimenting, this sweet potato and chickpea flour version was developed.

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup (120g) gram /chickpea flour
a splash of olive oil
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender - 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and gram/chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 18 falafel, enough for 4 - 6.

Reprinted with permission from Leon: Ingredients and Recipes by Allegra McEvedy. (Conran Octopus Ltd. 2008)

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love sweet potatoes... and the falafel recipe sounds wonderful! I am looking forward to giving it a try!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

I know! This book is so much FUN! I love your review of it. Allegra's other books are wonderful too; but this undoubtedly is her masterpiece.


"falafelly looking things" - LOL!!!


These sound and look delicious. I've recently gone vegetarian, so I've only made falafel once (I know it's not ONLY for vegetarians), and it was grilled, not fried. Actually wasn't that good, but I bet the sweet potato adds a lot here! And so much nutrition too. Can't wait to try these to convince myself that it doesn't have to be fal-awful!

Matt (No Meat Athlete)

Wow. As a sweet potato and falafel lover, these sound fantastic. I'm going to check out the Leon restaurant menu now!

ashley (sweet & natural)

Wow. As a sweet potato and falafel lover, these sound fantastic. I'm going to check out the Leon restaurant menu now!

ashley (sweet & natural)

I live in London and I adore Leon. I wish I could eat there every day. I'd actually say that the Sweet Potato Falafel is one of my least favourite recipes. I have the book and it's incredible, I'd recommend it to anyone. The only downside is that a lot of the recipes take a long time to make.


Rumour has it there is a third Leon opening at Westfield London soon where there is also Tibits - a unique Swiss veggie restuarant. Good eats!

London Veggie

I hadn't come across this chain until you mentioned it, but it looks well worth trying! Don't eat out very often in this country, as we eat out a lot when on holiday and I prefer to do my own cooking when possible, but that is definitely a place for the odd occasion....

Mrs Redboots

These are yummy! I got the Leon book earlier this year, and this was the first recipe I made. They also freeze well, for those who don't wolf them down in one.


I just got inspired to ‘chef’ something up in the kitchen – a frequent state that I am in after reading your posts. As always Heidi, this looks delicious. I may try them with slivers of toasted almonds to play up a nutty taste. Thanks.


These look delicious, and will be great for lunch given that my work's microwave just blew up. Mmm... falafel salad with herbed yoghurt on the side, or wrapped up in fresh pita or turkish bread. I'm salivating! Out of interest, what Australian food magazine was it that you were reading?


These sound really interesting... Living in Egypt I'm obsessed with felafel but I've never had it like this before (here in Egypt we use broad beans instead of chickpeas in our felafel - its delicious!). I like that your recipe is not deep fried - I tried to make a conventional felafel recipe that was baked instead of fried but the texture didn't turn out so well (unfortunately fried is the best way to make this delicious dish). I might dunk them in an egg bath as you suggested next time. Thanks for sharing this! The sweet potato idea is fantastic. I'll keep an eye out for this cookbook :)


As a California ex-pat in London I've struggled with the food available to here. London is a huge metropolitan city so of course I could get anything I wanted, but the food attitude and importance of provenance is definitely lacking by most. As an island nation with a history of colonies almost everything is imported. There are two Leons within walking distance of my apartment in London and I think Allegra McEvedy and her restaurants represent a new shift in London about knowing where and how your food is procured. I've found the food at Leon to be good (some things are fabulous, some are just ok), but their business goals are inspiring. They care about where their food comes from and their impact to the environment. Thanks for sharing.


Allegra McEvedy does a (sort of) weekly column for the Guardian. She also does on-line "cookalongs" for the Guardian where she posts the list of ingredients a few days earlier and then gives the cooking instructions online as she cooks the dish.


Oh wow, those look delicious. Will definitly give them a go. And the cookbooks looks great, too. See if I can find it down here.


This cookbook looks fantastic. I'm on a falafel kick right now and was just wondering how I could do a baked version!

Laura (Alwaysroom4dessert)

I bought this cookbook about a month ago and absolutely adore it. I made the cauliflower curry and could not stop eating it. In my collection this is the one cookbook that doesn't ever make it back onto the shelf.

Megan {Feasting on Art}

Also, gluten free?? awesome.


Um, I think I may need to make this ASAP. I was just scratching my head wondering what to do with these sweet potatoes on my counter!


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