I’m delighted to be partnering with the Organic Trade Board and the #OrganicUnboxed campaign during Veganuary to bring you my Vegan Beetroot Falafel in Homemade Pitta Breads with a Tahini and Coconut Yogurt Dressing – all organic and all vegan to Jump Start 2017!
Vegan Beetroot Falafel in Homemade Pitta Pockets with Tahini Dressing
I received a box full of goodies from some of the finest organic brands in the land and a challenge to come up with something delicious and vegan – here’s how I got on! Mr TS was a bit hard done by in the making of this video – don’t feel too sorry for him, he got to dive in once the camera was off 😉
And here are the recipes in full – don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients, once you’ve got them all together these are very simple to make. You can make it easier by buying ready made pitta but, I promise you, once you’ve made your own and eaten them fresh from the pan you won’t be tempted back to those poor plastic encased things!
Vegan Beetroot Falafel In Pitta Pockets with Tahini Dressing - Vegan
For the Falafel
- 1 small cooked beetroot (about 60g), chopped
- 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 1 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
- a little plain flour
For the Pitta Breads
- 225 g strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp (7g sachet) instant yeast
- 150 ml water
- 1 tsp olive oil
For the Tahini Dressing
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp dairy free coconut yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-4 tbsp hazelnut milk (use any non dairy organic milk)
- shredded salad leaves
To Make the Beetroot Falafel
- I roasted a batch of beetroot because I think this is the best way to retain flavour and colour. Put the whole beetroot onto a baking tray and cover with foil, bake in an oven at 150C for about 2 hours until soft (poke with a fork), leave to cool and remove the skin, chop roughly. You can use bought vacuum packed cooked beetroot if you wish.
- Preheat your oven to 180C.
- Fry the onion gently in the oil until soft.
- Add the garlic, cumin seeds and chipotle flakes and fry for a further minute until aromatic.
- Place the cooked beetroot, onion mixture, tahini, drained chickpeas and lemon juice into a blender and pulse until you have a firm paste, add water if needed. You can mash it all with a potato masher or a fork if you don't have a blender.
- Turn the falafel mixture out into a bowl. Take a spoonful of the mixture and roll it into a ball (if your mixture is too sticky stir in a little flour but don't be heavy handed - you want moist falafel to eat!), squash it a bit to form a patty and place on a greased baking tray.
- Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have 16 falafel.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, turning with a spatula once - they should be firm on top and just beginning to brown.
To Make the Pitta Bread
- Place the flour, yeast and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Make a well in the flour and add the water and oil.
- Turn on your mixer and allow it to do its thing for about 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth. (You can knead by hand if you want to - so soothing!)
- Leave in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured board and cut into 8 pieces.
- Roll each piece out until pitta sized (see the video!)
- Heat a dry, non stick frying pan until very hot.
- Add your first pitta to the pan and cook until it bubbles up (about 2 minutes if your pan is up to temperature), flip and cook the other side for about a minute until it puffs up and browns slightly (see the video!)
- Keep your pitta in a warm oven while you cook the rest.
For the Tahini Dressing
- Whisk together the tahini, dairy free yogurt, ground cumin and lemon juice - add enough hazelnut milk to make a pouring cream like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Putting Them Together!
- Cut open your pitta pockets and stuff with shredded organic lettuce, add two falafel (you can cut them in half to make them go further), drizzle with tahini dressing, add more lettuce and serve with the remaining dressing in a bowl for people to help themselves.
You could make these vegan falafel with parsnips or carrots in exactly the same way but you wouldn’t get this glorious colour! If you’re after a more traditional vegan falafel why not have a look at my Easy Vegan Falafel which are coated in crispy breadcrumbs and fried instead of baked?
The organic brands I’ve been working with via the Organic Trade Board are all passionate about their products and the ethics behind them and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them. Whenever I cook with organic produce my food tastes better and I cook happy which always shows in the end product!
Why Shop Organic?
I shop organic as often as I can for many reasons:
Buying Organic is Better for Our Environment
Organic farming works in partnership with the environment It’s a way of farming that protects and encourages wildlife whilst looking after the health of the soil. Organic farmers use mainly natural methods to develop a good soil and healthy crops with a stronger natural resistance to pests and diseases. Encouraging natural predators avoids the need for almost all pesticides.
Organic farmers are helping to look after our wildlife by managing and maintaining habitats, which is a vital part of a successful organic farm. This helps organic farms support up to 50% more wildlife – that’s more of our great British bees, birds and butterflies for us all to enjoy!
Higher animal welfare
Organic means free-range. Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive and grow more naturally. Free-range systems encourage healthy animals and this means fewer drugs or antibiotics. That’s better for the animals and good for your peace of mind!
More natural food
When it comes to organic, you know exactly what’s in your food. GM crops and ingredients are banned as are hydrogenated fats, artificial pesticides, aspartame, tartrazine and monosodium glutamate. Put simply organic food is a more natural choice.
Great tasting food
The smell and taste of an organic carrot is a wonderful thing – I get very excited when my box of organic veg arrives on my doorstep every week!
Of course, it’s also important to shop as locally as possible and to eat seasonally – I like knowing where my food has come from and exactly what is in it!
Which Organic Producers Did I work With?
It was wonderful working with products from companies who have long had a place on my larder shelves and in my fridge and with one or two who were new to me – Rebel Kitchen’s yogurt and Vinceremos vegan wines will definitely be on my list from now on!
The Pitta Bread were made with Marriage’s Organic Bread Flour (and very little else – I love making bread!)
The Finca Enguera wine came from Vinceremos Organic Wines (and was delicious!)
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I was asked to create a recipe using a selection of organic produce, this easy vegan beetroot falafel recipe is the result!