Baked pumpkin falafels

Baked pumpkin falafels

baked pumpkin falafels pita held

Okay, I dragged my feet a little, I’ll admit, but I am finally ready to embrace the pumpkin season. Despite trying to hold on to summer for as long as I could possibly get away with, I actually love autumn – could it be because I am an October child? Possibly.

I love warm autumn sunshine, colourful leaves rustling underfoot, the smell of bonfires and pumpkins. Of course, I love pumpkins! It’s hard not to! They are sweet, satiating, go nicely with spicy things and sour things and they make delicious desserts too.

So I am kicking pumpkin things off with a handy recipe for baked pumpkin falafels that are easy to make, healthy and make a tasty lunch centrepiece. They are a perfect pitta filler or a great way to bulk up a salad bowl. They sit really well alongside a hefty dollop of hummus, pickles, fresh salad, a simple tahini sauce and a drizzle of chilli sauce or oil (if you feel that way inclined). They are filling and full of plant protein.

They are not difficult to make but the mixture is a touch messy to work with, so be warned. The reason being in order for the falafels not to end up dry once baked, the mixture has to be rather wet. I am using raw, soaked chickpeas that cook in the pumpkin puree as the mixture firms up in the oven. The end result is a pattie that is hard on the outside and soft in the middle. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, simply use two spoons to give your falafels a more organic shape – problem solved. Hope you’ll enjoy these!

baked pumpkin falafels raw mixture

baked pumpkin falafels making

baked pumpkin falafels tray

baked pumpkin falafels in pita

makes
20 (20 g each)
PREP
20 min
COOKING
60 min
makes
20 (20 g each)
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
60 min
INGREDIENTS
PUMPKIN FALAFELS

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin* (approx. 650 g / 23 oz fresh)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (plus slightly more for baking)
  • ½ cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, adjust to taste)
  • 2-4 tbsp chickpea flour (or all purpose wheat flour if not gluten-free)
  • sesame seeds, to coat

TAHINI SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD
PUMPKIN FALAFELS

  1. If using fresh pumpkin, peel it, cut into equal size cubes and coat in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Roast in a 200° C / 390° F oven until soft, it takes about half an hour, turning the pieces over 15 minutes in.
  2. Rinse your soaked chickpeas and grind them quite finely (see photo) in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl – don’t wash your food processor just yet.
  3. Place baked pumpkin and sliced garlic in the food processor and process until smooth. If using ready made puree, simply grate the garlic finely into the bowl with ground chickpeas.
  4. Transfer pumpkin puree to the bowl with chickpeas, add salt, dry spices and flour and mix very well. Start off with 2 tbsp of flour and add 2 more if needed. The mixture is meant to be very wet. As long as you are able to form patties, there is no need to add more flour as the falafels will end up dry inside. Place in the fridge for several hours (or freezer for an hour) to firm up.
  5. Put sesame seeds on a plate. Using your hands, gently form small falafels out of the mixture (mine were 20 g each). Once shaped, dip your hand in sesame seeds and press them into the falafel with your fingers. Do that several times until the falafel is nicely coated on all sides.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200° C / 390° F. Brush a bit of olive oil onto a baking tray and place falafels on it, making sure they do not touch. Bake for 10 minutes on one side, then using a spatula flip onto the other side and bake for another 10 minutes. They are done when the exterior is crispy and golden.

TAHINI SAUCE

  1. In a bowl, mix tahini with lemon juice and a splash of water.
  2. Add a bit more water to achieve a pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

NOTES
*Use a pumpkin with firm, dense flesh (like butternut pumpkin, for example) instead of more watery varieties.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
51
3%
sugars
2 g
2%
fats
2 g
3%
saturates
0 g
2%
proteins
2 g
4%
carbs
6 g
2%
*per falafel
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5.0
3 reviews, 20 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Anissa:
These came out really nice for me! I did have to bake them a lot longer, but it is clear when they are ready (when the exterior is golden). I was a bit confused by the wet texture at first but apparently it works!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear that you enjoyed these falafels, Anissa. And many thanks for taking the time to leave a review – I really appreciate it. Ania
Mariah:
Do you have to coat them in sesame seeds?
    Ania
    Ania:
    You can skip them if you wish, just make sure to use baking paper and brush them with oil so that they don't stick to the tray. Ania
Katya Baty:
These were delicious! Turned out really well.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Katya! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed these. Ania
Elaine:
Hi Ania I don't have dried chickpeas. If I use canned is the quantity more? Thanks so much for all your amazing recipes.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Elaine,
    My pleasure, I am glad you are enjoying cooking with me :) In this case, unfortunately, cooked chickpeas won't work as well without adjusting the recipe significantly and even then the texture won't be the same. The way I designed this recipe is for raw (soaked) chickpeas to cook in the pumpkin puree whilst in the oven so the mixture is on the wet side. I suppose you could use less pumpkin and add more chickpea flour but you would really have to go by feel as I haven't tested this recipe with canned chickpeas. Good luck! Ania
Rachel Dickinson:
Hi, I'm a little confused with the chickpea measure too. Is the 1/2 c measurement when they are dried, or when they have been soaked?
thanks - I love your recipes
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rachel,
    ½ cup refers to the amount of chickpeas before they have been soaked overnight. Hope that helps and thank you for your kind words, I am so glad to hear it! x Ania
Cdel:
This looks great! Can I use canned chickpeas?
    Ania
    Ania:
    You would need to make changes to the recipe as it has been designed to be used with soaked dry chickpeas so the mixture is very wet (the moisture gets absorbed by the dry chickpeas as they cook in the falafels). Hope that makes sense! Ania
Kenneth:
Does canned pumpkin work for this dish?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, it should work fine - I used steamed and pureed (in a food processor) pumpkin as I am unable to get canned pumpkin here, but assuming that this is what canned pumpkin is. Hope that helps! Ania
Jessi Summers:
They came out really well! I ran out of sesame seeds while making them. The un-seeded versions were still just as tasty, if not fully aesthetic.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear that, Jessi! Yes, sesame seeds are not that key, but they look nice and prevent sticking to the tray. x Ania
Jessi Summers:
It does, thank you!
Jessi Summers:
I'm a little confused about the directions for the chickpeas. Does it mean cooked chickpeas stored in liquid or dry chickpeas that won't be fully cooked when used? Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jessi,
    Yes, I use raw, soaked (for at least 8 hrs, up to 24 hrs and drained) chickpeas in this recipe. They cook in the falafel mixture, in the oven. Hope that helps! Ania
katebryan:
Do these freeze well? (I have a LOT of pumpkin, lol)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    I have not tried freezing them, I am afraid, but I don't see why not! Ania
Cheryl:
I have never heard of butternut pumpkin. Do you mean butternut squash? So are these falafel made with squash or pumpkin?
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's right, I used butternut squash, which is also known as butternut pumpkin in many countries (including my homecountry). Any type of firm and dense pumpkin will work well here.
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