If you’re after a go-to vegan dish that’s packed full of flavour and straightforward to make, then this is it. The Moroccan-inspired sweet potato and chickpea filling is encased in layers of flaky filo pastry, with each layer flavoured with lemon zest and aromatic herbs. This versatile strudel can be served for all types of occasions; cut into small slices with salad for lunch, cold for a packed picnic, or even as an impressive celebration centrepiece.
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 30–40 minutes
WHAT YOU NEED
For the strudel
750g sweet potatoes, cut lengthways
40g cup pine nuts
4–5 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1–2 tsp harissa paste
400g tin chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
75g sultanas (golden raisins)
1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp coriander (cilantro), chopped
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
6 sheets filo pastry
flaked sea salt and freshly ground
2 tsp sesame seeds
WHAT TO DO
To make the strudel
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Place the sweet potatoes cut side down on the baking tray. Roast for 25–30 minutes until tender. Put the pine nuts on a small baking tray and lightly toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside. Scoop the cooked potato flesh into a large bowl and mash with a fork.
Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion for eight minutes until soft and turning golden. Add the cumin seeds and cinnamon and cook for a further minute or so. Spoon the onions into the sweet potatoes and add the harissa, chickpeas, sultanas, and toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper.
In a separate bowl, mix together the chopped herbs and lemon zest.
Lay one sheet of filo pastry on top of a piece of baking parchment and brush the pastry generously with olive oil. Scatter with some of the lemony herbs and sit another piece of filo on top. Repeat until all of the filo sheets have been used. Spread the sweet potato filling over the filo, leaving a 2cm border all around the edge. Drizzle with oil and fold over the borders, holding in the filling. Start rolling to create a log shape, finishing with the seam side down. Slide a baking sheet underneath the parchment. Brush the strudel with oil and scatter with the sesame seeds.
Bake for 30–40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cool for about 20 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.
Nut-free: If you want to avoid pine nuts, then leave them out and add a handful of chopped green olives in their place. To avoid sesame seeds, sprinkle the top with some nigella (black onion) seeds or leave plain.
Gluten-free: This filling works really well baked in a sheet of ready-rolled gluten-free puff pastry. Make the filling as per the recipe and sit along the length of the pastry sheet. Fold over the short ends, then fold over the long sides creating a long sausage shape. Transfer to a baking tray, seam side down. Lightly slash the top a few times with a knife and brush with some olive oil. Scatter with the sesame seeds and bake as above.