A tasty starter or perfect for a party, these festive falafels are flavoured with roasted chestnuts and cranberries. The beetroot dip is an earthy sweet alternative to houmous, it’s been topped with crushed pistachios and pomegranate seeds that makes for a delicious festive dip.

Festive Falafel

Makes around 20

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces

400g can chickpea, drained

200g ready-cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped (I used Merchant Gourmet Whole Chestnuts)

½ tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp cumin seed

1 garlic clove, minced

Small pack coriander, roughly chopped, plus a little more to serve

85g dried cranberries

2 tablespoons of plain flour

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to 200C

2. Spread the sweet potatoes over a baking tray and drizzle in a teaspoon of olive oil, shake in salt and freshly ground pepper then place in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes or until soft. When ready, take out to cool down.

3. Meanwhile put the remaining ingredients into the food processor except for the coriander and cranberries and blitz but not into paste, keep it a little lumpy. Season generously and in a bowl, mix in sweet potatoes, cranberries and coriander with your hands. Shape dessertspoon-sized balls of the mix into 20 or so pieces and place onto a greased baking tray. (You can use the same tray the sweet potatoes were baked on to save on washing up!)

4. Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until crispy on the edges and piping hot.

5. Serve with the fresh coriander and beetroot dip.

Beetroot Dip

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cooked beetroot (I used pre-cooked beetroot), chopped into pieces

1/2 tsp salt

Juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove minced

2 tbsp tahini

1 tablespoon of pomegranate seeds

A few crushed pistachios to garnish

Method

  1. Blend all of the ingredients except for pomegranates and pistachios in the food processor until smooth. Taste to check for flavour, you might want to add a little more salt or lemon juice if you have any.
  2. Spoon into a bowl and serve with the pomegranate seeds and crushed pistachios decorating the top.