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Food for Brains Recipes designed to promote brain function, cognition and memory.

Food for Brains Recipe: Sweet Potato & Quinoa Falafels

food for brains recipe sweet potato and quinoa falafels

We just love this recipe for sweet potato and quinoa falafels, provided by Mira Manek, author of the cookbook, Saffron Soul. Whilst this recipe is great as an all-year-round dish, we find it especially warming as we enter the Autumn season. Not only does it share the colours of Autumn, it also contains fulfilling ingredients such as sweet potato and chickpeas which will warm our souls at the end of a breezy Autumn day.

This recipe is also a perfect fit for our Food for Brains series, packed full of anti-oxidants, amino acids and magnesium which are all vital for reducing stress and keeping the brain happy and healthy. Enjoy this recipe as a main meal, a snack or a sharing plate with friends and family.


To boil

  • Sweet potato 200-250g / 1 medium potato
  • Quinoa 60g
  • Water 300ml
  • Chickpeas 100g, ½ tin


To serve

  • Avocado, chopped
  • Coriander
  • Grated beetroot
  • Tahini (plain or seasoned)
  • Lime wedge
  • Sesame seeds or furikake

For the Falafels

  • Coconut oil 1 teaspoon
  • Chickpeas 100, ½ tin
  • Garlic, grated or chopped 2 cloves
  • Grated ginger 1 teaspoon
  • Salt ¾ teaspoon
  • Mexican taco spice mix 1 teaspoon, optional
  • Paprika powder ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin powder ¼ teaspoon
  • Chilli powder ¼ teaspoon
  • Rice vinegar 1 teaspoon, optional
  • Lime juice of ½
  • Coriander handful, optional

quinoa and sweet potato falafels close up


Makes around 15 falafel balls

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks, then boil them for around 20-30 minutes until cooked and soft. If the quinoa isn’t already cooked, you can also boil and cook the quinoa now – this should take 15-20 minutes. Lastly, leaving the chickpeas in boiling hot water for 5 minutes will soften them so they are easier to mash (I just added them to the boiling sweet potato after around 15 minutes).

Once everything is boiled and soft, you can make the falafel balls. Start by heating the oil and grated garlic and ginger in a pan or wok. Let this cook on low heat for a minute and then add the quinoa, sweet potato pieces and chickpeas. Now add the salt, all the spices, rice vinegar and lime, and mash together. Taste and add more chilli, salt or lime to taste. Let this cool for 5-10 minutes, until you can touch and roll into balls. Make the balls by rolling together between the palms. Applying oil on the hands makes the rolling easier. Place the balls on a baking tray and leave them under the grill for around 10 minutes until slightly brown, turning them a couple of times. You can then also make these balls a little more crispy (optional) by stirring them in a pan – heat a little oil in a pan, add some cumin seeds and then let the falafel balls cook, shaking them in the pan so that they become lightly brown all over.


Brain Health Tip

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and A, high in fiber and contain more potassium than a banana. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids which gives them that gorgeous colour – carotenoids help in the formation of vitamin A which is important for the formation of neurons to improve brain function and help to prevent damage to the brain. The anti-inflammatory properties of the sweet potato has been shown to improve memory and in some cases, even reduce the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Quinoa is full of protein and contains all of the essential amino acids, particularly Lysine which has been found to help with regulating stress and anxiety.
Chickpeas are packed with magnesium which is vital to our brain health. Magnesium helps to relax the blood vessels which helps blood flow to the brain, and also speeds up the transmission of messages between brain cells.  Magnesium also restricts the release of stress hormones such as cortisol, and acts as a filter to prevent them entering the brain.


Get more recipes like this

This recipe has been kindly shared with us by Mira Manek from her new cook book, Saffron Soul. Mira Manek’s desire for healthy cooking combined with her love of traditional Indian cuisine led her to tweaking her mother’s and grandmother’s recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes and her first cookbook Saffron Soul was launched this Spring.

You can now purchase a copy of Saffron Soul directly from Cubex, simply pop in to see us or get in touch.







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