As a change from rice, pasta or couscous, try little falafel with a simple vegetable casserole. Made with canned chickpeas and baked rather than deep-fried, these falafel are quick and easy to prepare.
The vegetable casserole and falafel are both good cold as well as hot. Stir a little chopped fresh mint and parsley into the casserole just before serving. * To turn the casserole into a ratatouille, use 250 g (8½ oz) onions and add 1 diced aubergine with the courgettes. Replace the cherry tomatoes with 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) skinned and quartered plum tomatoes. * Garlic lovers will enjoy additional garlic in the falafel – add 2 crushed garlic cloves and the grated zest of 1 lemon for a punchy flavour. * Basil is splendid in the yogurt sauce – shred a handful of fresh leaves and add them with or instead of the rocket.
Chickpeas are a good source of dietary fibre, particularly the soluble fibre that can help reduce high blood cholesterol levels. * Watercress has been considered something of a superfood for many centuries. Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal values in 460 BC and built the world's first hospital next to a stream so he could grow fresh watercress. Watercress provides good amounts of several antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, and carotenoid compounds. It also contributes substantial amounts of folate, niacin and vitamin B6.
A, B6, C, E, iron * folate, calcium, phosphorus, zinc * B1, niacin, potassium