Courgette, Buckwheat & Butter Bean Falafels

Cooking time
Serves2 people
Courgette, Buckwheat & Butter Bean Falafels

Tonight we’re making falafels – and there’s not a chickpea in sight. Instead, these baked beauties are full of tender courgettes and soft butter beans, with grains of buckwheat for some bite. They come with a fresh, frondy carrot and fennel slaw to serve.

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  • 75g buckwheat
  • 400ml boiling water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 courgette
  • 400g tin of butter beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini

No food processor? To make these the old fashioned way, tip the butter beans into a mixing bowl and use a fork or masher to mash them into a rough paste. Stir in the grated courgette and garlic and the spices, then add the buckwheat and mash again to make a chunky mix. Shape into falafels and follow the recipe.

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1. Heat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C/Gas 5. Tip the buckwheat into a small pan. Pour in 400ml boiling water and add a pinch of salt. Cover, bring up to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 mins till the buckwheat is very tender.
2. While the buckwheat simmers, coarsely grate the courgette. Pop it in a sieve and add a pinch of salt. Stir through the courgette and then give it a couple of good squeezes to get as much water out as possible. Put to one side in the sieve, set over a bowl or sink to drain.
3. Drain and rinse the butter beans. Tip them into a food processor.
4. Peel and grate or crush the garlic and add it to the food processor. Add 1 tsp of ground cumin and 2 tbsp of flour. Give the courgette another couple of squeezes to get out any remaining water and add the courgette to the processor. The buckwheat should be tender by now, so drain off any water, shake dry and add to the processor. Pulse a few times to make a chunky mix. Taste and add a pinch of salt or pepper if you think it needs it.
5. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Scoop 1 heaped tbsp of the butter bean mix out of the processor and pat into rough rounds with your fingers. Drop on the baking tray. Repeat, using up all the mix, and making roughly 8 falafels. Slide into the oven and bake for 20 mins till browned and a crust has formed all over the falafels.
6. While the falafels bake, trim, peel and coarsely grate the carrot and scoop it into a bowl. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Add it to the carrot. Trim the dry tips off the fennel and pluck off the fronds. Finely slice the fennel and add it to the bowl.
7. Roughly chop the parsley leaves and fennel fronds and add most of them to the bowl. Whisk the juice of half the lemon with ½ tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper. Add to the bowl and toss to mix.
8. Squeeze the remaining lemon half into a small bowl. Add the tahini and 3 tbsp cold water. Stir to make a smooth sauce.
9. The falafels should be baked by now. Divide the slaw between 2 plates. Pop the falafels alongside it and drizzle over the tahini sauce. Garnish with the remaining chopped herbs and serve.
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I am sorry to say that this recipe did not work for me....on the positive side, the slaw is yummy (and I was glad I made a slightly bigger portion), but the falafels were a bit of a disaster: after 15min in the oven, I had a baking tray filled with slush, which was really difficult to save and make into anything edible. I did squeeze the courgettes, a lot, and made sure to drain the buckwheat and beans, etc, so not sure where I went wrong - maybe my lack of a food processor? In the end I left the sludge in the oven for another 30-40min and went back every 10-15min to try and form it into small heaps. I ended up having 3 (of 10) heaps for dinner (after quite an effort and nearly 2 hours) and the best I can say is that they were filling and the slaw and sauce went well with them? Still not too sure how to use the leftovers, I might add some stock and make a soup and hope for the best... Well, I guess after making A&C recipes quite regularly, there had to be a dud eventually :) (and now I