Baked Sweet Potato and Chickpea Koftas

Have you ever eaten koftas before?  Have you ever cooked koftas before?  Yesterday, my answer to both of those questions was "no."  However, when I realized that koftas are basically Middle Eastern or Indian spiced meatballs, and that they would surely satisfy my falafel craving, I was ready to give them a shot.

Like falafel, koftas are usually deep-fried, giving them a crispy coating.  I decided to coat them in some breadcrumbs and bake them instead, keeping the crispy coating and cutting most of the fat.

I started by using Mollie Katzen's recipe for Chickpea and Sweet Potato Koftas in her book Vegetable Heaven.  I made some changes along the way, including the decision to bake rather than sauté the koftas in a pan.

Served in whole wheat tortillas with some nonfat Greek yogurt as a sauce and a salad on the side, Baked Koftas turned out to be a perfectly quick and easy weeknight meal.  Plus, since the recipe makes 4-6 servings, there were leftovers for lunches.

Baked Sweet Potato and Chickpea Koftas (Makes 10-12 koftas)
1 medium sweet potato, baked*
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander (if you have it - if not, use an extra 1/2 teaspoon of cumin or curry powder)
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from half of a lemon)
Dash of black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup frozen peas (no need to thaw)
Approximately 1/3 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
Olive oil to drizzle on the top of the koftas before baking

*I bake sweet potatoes in the microwave and then peel the skin off, and there's an explanation of how to do this with pictures in the Sweet Potato Muffin recipe.

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

2.  In the bowl of your food processor, add the sweet potato, chickpeas, garlic, green onions, curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, lemon juice, and pepper.
2.  Pulse the food processor until the mixture is fairly well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  The mixture doesn't need to be completely smooth, but it should be well combined.
3.  When the mixture is combined, remove the blade from the bowl of your food processor (*You could transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl at this point, but I just left it in the food processor bowl to cut down on dishes).  Then, add the flour to the mixture and use a spatula to thoroughly combine.  Add the frozen peas to the bowl and gently fold them into the mixture. (Using frozen peas helps to keep them from getting smashed when you're mixing them).
4.  Pour some breadcrumbs on a plate - you don't have to use the full amount in the recipe, just enough to get started coating the koftas.  Use an ice cream scoop (or large spoon) to scoop out evenly-sized portions and use your hands to form the mixture into patties.  The patties should be about 1/2-inch thick and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Coat each patty in breadcrumbs and place it on your prepared baking pan.
5.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on the top of the koftas before baking, just to help them brown a bit.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, flipping the koftas once halfway through the baking.  The koftas are ready when the crust has a crispy texture and both sides are lightly browned.
While the koftas were baking, I had time to throw together a Spinach Salad with Fresh Cherries, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese.  I use this great low-fat Balsamic Yogurt dressing recipe for most of the salads I make.  The recipe makes about 3/4 of a cup of dressing (enough for about 6 salads in our house), and I like to keep a jar of the dressing in the fridge for last-minute salads like these.
6.  Warm the tortillas in the oven for about a minute, and then transfer the tortillas to plates for serving.  Depending on the size of your tortillas (ours were pretty small) and the size of the patties you made, you may need to cut a couple of the koftas in half to help them fit nicely in the tortilla.

I whisked together some yogurt with a little bit of lemon juice and some seasonings to make a yogurt sauce, but you can use plain yogurt instead and even add some sliced cucumbers and tomatoes to the sandwich.
We each were full after one of these sandwiches and the salad (though we may have eaten another kofta sans the tortilla just because they were really good).

Refrigerate the leftovers and use them for sandwiches during the week.  I sent C to work with a couple of these to heat up in a tortilla and some yogurt on the side.  If you want to cut some carbs, you can serve these with just the yogurt sauce and a salad.

I made about 10 medium-sized koftas for dinner (enough for about 4 people), but you could definitely make smaller koftas and serve them as appetizers.  Here are the nutrition facts for one medium-sized kofta:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 88 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber

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