Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends.
The root vegetables of fall and winter aren’t as outwardly exciting as, say, perfectly ripe summer tomatoes or butter-yellow ears of corn. However, with a bit of coaxing, you’ll find the cold-weather bounty can be equally satisfying—and often far more affordable.
Take these chickpea and root vegetable fritters. You’ll need just 12 ounces of sweet potatoes (you could also easily use carrots or beets if you have them on hand), which will run you less than $3, plus a few pantry staples to whip up the pancakes. Warmed pita, a tangy dill-enhanced yogurt sauce and a bottle of red on the side, and you’ve got a simple yet hearty meal that would help anyone climb out of an early winter funk.
Occupying a space somewhere in between Indian pakora and Ashkenazi Jewish latkes (and hey, Hanukkah does start December 18!), these fritters begin with a batter of chickpea flour and water seasoned with ground cumin or coriander. Mix in grated sweet potato and garlic, then shallow-fry in olive oil until crisp. To serve, stir together a quick Greek yogurt sauce, seasoned with just salt and fresh dill. The sauce can be slathered onto plates with a couple fritters piled on top, with the pita alongside for dipping, or you can make a sandwich of sorts by thinning the yogurt with water and drizzling it over a fritter-filled pita pocket.
However you plan to eat these fritters, serve them alongside a red wine with some depth, like the Primus Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2019 (90 points, $21) from Chile, which you can find for just under $20. The fritters and yogurt are rich, but not too heavy, and beg for a similar wine; the relatively bold Primus is dry, but nods to sweet, dark fruit like currant and blackberry, leaving a lasting impression.
Sweet Potato–Chickpea Fritters with Dill Yogurt
Pair with a bold, dry red like a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. The Primus Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo 2019 has a silky texture and notes of dark fruit (90 points, $21).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Approximate food costs: $11
- 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt or labneh
- 3/4 cup (3 ounces) freshly chopped dill
- Kosher salt
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin or coriander (or 1/2 teaspoon of each)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup water
- 12 ounces sweet potatoes (about 2 medium) or carrots (about 4 medium), scrubbed
- 4 cloves garlic
- 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Warmed pita, for serving
1. In a small bowl, stir together yogurt, dill and a big pinch of salt. If you’d like, thin the mixture with a few tablespoons of water until it’s drizzle-able, or leave it thick and spreadable. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and lots of black pepper, then whisk in the 3/4 cup water until the mixture is smooth. Grate the sweet potatoes or carrots on the large holes of a box grater and finely grate 4 cloves garlic onto a cutting board. Stir the sweet potato and garlic into the chickpea flour batter.
3. Line a sheet pan with paper towels or place a wire rack on top. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Drop 2 quarter-cupfuls of batter into the pan, spreading out each fritter with a fork so that it’s about 4 inches wide. Fry on both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to the sheet pan and immediately sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining oil and fritter batter; you should get about 8 fritters total. Serve immediately with yogurt sauce and pita. Serves 4.