I positively adore falafel. That’s not surprising as I adore little bites. I’ve experimented with many different kinds, including ones featuring quinoa, green peas and sweet potato. As it is pumpkin season, I figured that would just be the right mix with chickpeas and some spices. Certainly rather unorthodox, as I cooked the chickpeas before adding them to the mixture — often they are just soaked overnight and drained — and as I was combining everything, I thought, why not throw in some sun-dried tomatoes for an extra bit of flair. I also baked them instead of frying because I’m not a big fan of oily foods. Moist with a slightly crisp exterior, these mildly spiced falafels just might be a new favorite.
I will say that these were a big hit when I served them up last weekend for dinner along with some homemade spelt tortillas and a tahini sauce that was actually cheesy despite being completely vegan. I added some nutritional yeast, along with the garlic, tahini and tart lemon juice.
I typically always have roasted pumpkin purée in the freezer for several months after fresh pumpkin is no longer available, but you could use canned pumpkin purée as long as it isn’t spiced or sweetened, or sweet potato or other squash if you prefer.
|Baked Pumpkin Falafel with Tahini Lemon Sauce
|Recipe by Lisa Turner
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on November 12, 2015
Soft creamy spiced chickpea and pumpkin falafels served with a tangy tahini lemon sauce
Print this recipe
- 2/3 cup dried chickpeas (2 cups cooked)
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour (besan), or as needed
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
- water to thin as needed
- sea salt to taste
Rinse the chickpeas and soak for 8 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until soft. Drain and transfer to a food processor.
Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and chop.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, pumpkin purée, onion, jalapeño, garlic, parsley, olive oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili flakes, cinnamon, cardamon and salt to the food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the chickpea flour. The mixture should be soft but not too moist. Adjust the flour as needed. Chill in a refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
Preheat an oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the falafel mixture into small 1-inch balls. Bake for 15 minutes, gently turn them over, and bake for another 10 minutes until golden.
To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until creamy. Add water as needed to thin out the mixture.
Makes 18 1-inch falafels
Other falafel recipes to enjoy from Lisa’s Kitchen:
Baked Quinoa Falafel Bites
Sweet Potato Falafel
Green Pea Falafel