Baked sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce
Baked sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce
A while ago, I’ve confessed to being a falafel fiend. I mean, who wouldn’t like these tasty little nuggets, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside? They are SO satisfying to bite into.
The only thing I struggle with is having to fry them in oil, which is why I do not make them very often. I mean, it’s okay now and again, but not the healthiest of choices. However, whenever I tried to bake my falafels in the oven, I was never that thrilled with the result as I found them too dry.
Inspired by baked sweet potato falafels I used to enjoy at a UK restaurant ‘Leon’ I thought of using sweet potato as a binder to add much needed moisture to my falafel mixture.
As with most things, it took a few trials and errors to get the texture right (which meant that we had baked sweet potato falafels for dinner every single night for an entire week), but I’m really pleased with how these little puppies have turned out. They have a nice crunch on the outside and are soft and moist on the inside.
These slightly sweet, spiced falafels go super well with lemony tahini sauce and make an awesome lunch when accompanied by a grain (I used couscous) and heaps of vegetables.
- 1 x 400 g / 14 oz sweet potato
- ½ level cup of raw chickpeas, soaked overnight
- ¼ cup chickpea flour
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 level tsp salt
- 1 heaped tsp cumin
- 1 level tsp ground coriander
- 1 level tsp smoked paprika
- ½ level tsp hot chilli
- ¼ cup (packed) fresh coriander or parsley, chopped finely
- sesame seeds, to coat
- 2 tbsp tahini
- ½ lemon, juice only
- 1 small garlic clove, pressed
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- salt & pepper to taste
- Put a whole potato into a 200° C / 390° F oven and roast it until soft, it takes about 1 hour (depending on size). Let it cool down, peel it and mash the flesh up with a fork.
- Rinse your soaked chickpeas and grind them finely (they should resemble medium bulgur wheat after grinding) in a food processor.
- In a large bowl, combine mashed potato, ground chickpeas, chickpea flour, garlic, herbs and spices. Mix it all very thoroughly and place in the fridge for several hours (or freezer for an hour) to firm up.
- Put sesame seeds on a plate. Using your hands, form small falafels out of the mixture. Mine were 30 g each. The mixture will be fairly wet (that’s good, it means that falafels won’t end up dry after baking) so handle it carefully. 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.
- Pre-heat 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 15-20 minutes on one side, then using a spatula flip onto the other side and bake for another 15-20 minutes. They are done when the exterior is crispy and golden.
- In a bowl, mix tahini with lemon juice and a splash of water.
- Add maple syrup, garlic and a bit more water to achieve pourable consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
I was hoping to make some of your regular fafels and noted you do these lovely baked versions, do you think I could substitute the sweet potato for butternut squash instead, as we are in lockdown I'm trying hard to use up all the food that I have rather than going out to often . I hope you and your family are feeling better 😊
Many thanks jo
Yes, you absolutely can! In fact, I made a later version of these using butternut squash (here is the recipe). Please beware that these need to be quite wet when being formed so that they do not dry out too much while being baked. Hope you'll enjoy! And thank you, we are slowly getting there, it does take a long time. Stay well. x Ania
Sure, just add it by feel as different flours have different absorbency levels so you may not need as much or may need to add more. Beware though that these falafels need to be very wet before baking so that they don't come out of the oven too dry. Err on the side of caution. Cheers! Ania
Can I ground raw dry chickpeas instead of buying gram flour?
Also, are they kid friendly, or too spicy due to the paprika and chilli?
Ground up chickpeas are not a good sub for gram flour, I am afraid, but you could always use a different flour instead (rice for GF version or regular flour otherwise). From what I know about kids eating habits, they probably won't necessarily like string flavours or spices so I would take them out, especially chilli. Hope that helps! Ania
Just curious as to whether you boil the chickpeas after soaking, or just go straight I'm with the grind?
Also have these been tried to freeze? Cheers, Ellie
No, I do not cook chickpeas for those, just soak them. And I have not tried freezing them, but I don't see why they would not freeze well. Hope that helps! Ania
I've not managed to try these yet as I have everything I'm just waiting for my oven to preheat.
I think maybe the time taken is a bit misleading, whereas I will accept the chickpeas may need to be soaked overnight (or bought pre soaked) there is still an hour for your potato, followed by half an hour of cooking.
I'm looking forwards to trying them and think the feedback above is a great reference for how these will turn out.
Hmm, I would say that raw mixture is probably the best time to freeze those. Ania
Instead of baking the sweet potato, I steamed it (as that was way quicker).
It won't work in this recipe without making extensive changes to it, I'm afraid. The patties are designed to cook raw chickpeas in the patties - they are quite wet to begin with so using cooked chickpeas may result in mushy patties, I'm afraid. Hope that helps! Ania
I love your ideas and style!
I did not have sweet potato at home so I had to improvise. I was thinking to add a pinch of fructose instead (I do not consume other sugars), but I relied entirely on the sweetness of the chickpeas. What I did though is mimic the sweet potato consistency by taking 1/3 of the mixture and making it into a humus like consistency. I baked the falafels without the potato (and without the garlic). They still turned out extremely tasty. I cooked with slightly pre-boilled chickpeas. I used dill for the tahini sauce and it happens to be a good mix.
I got the huge quantity of chickpeas as a result from experimenting with aquafaba. I am miserably failing with all aquafaba recipes, I am guessing that it is because I have to replace sugar with fructose and they do not act the same in heat and with protein. I am not giving up yet, but it is a challenge.
Thank you for the great work and beautiful videos!
You can skip sesame seeds if you wish, but almond flour isn't a good replacement in this instance, I'm afraid. Sesame seeds are used to create a nice, crispy crust and also to prevent the patties from sticking to the tray. You could perhaps substitute with hemp seeds or flax seeds or skip all together. Hope that helps,
Looking forward to trying the Moroccan meat balls next :)
PS: do you have any gf bread recipes up your sleeves by any chance...?
Thanks for such a lovely comment, your feedback made our day! We are so chuffed to hear that our blog is prompting people to eat more veggie meals. As for your question, no, afraid not - we haven't yet tried any gluten-free bread making...one day maybe...
Ania (& Duncan who is out running ;) )
Your pictures are always very well-photographed but do I know how much work it takes to get them right and edit them [enclosing link to my website]
This is a wonderful recipe! Thank you! I'm planning on making this in a large quantity for a party. I think I would have to do it 2 days in advance. Do you have any tips on storing?
Thank you, I am glad you like the recipe. You can make the sauce two days in advance and store it in a jar in the fridge, no problem. As for the falafels, I would make the patties in advance, store in the fridge and bake them on the day. Baking them 2 days in advance and storing in the fridge will not yield as nice results, I don't think.
Hope that helps,
I used a tin of cooked chickpeas as I didn't realise you were supposed to soak overnight. They still came good and I'll be making them again, thanks for the great recipe!
That's smashing, I am so pleased to hear that!!! I'm glad that cooked chickpeas worked out for you too. If you use raw, soaked ones the texture is a bit firmer but I like both versions too. Ania
I'll be honest, I have not tried that as I intended these falafels to be gluten-free. I would start of with a smaller amount of wheat flour (as I think it may have greater absorbency than chickpea flour). Add as little as you can get away with and it shouldn't affect things too much.
Good luck and please let me know how they turned out!
Sorry if I caused any confusion. Basically to get the right texture, you'll need 1 and 1/4 cup of GROUND chickpeas. I found that if I soak 1/2 cup of whole dry chickpeas and grind that I have a little bit left over, but it is hard for me to measure how much soaked whole chickpeas results in 1 and 1/4 cup after grinding. Perhaps you could put 2/3 of your soaked chickpeas into a food processor, grind and see how much it gives you.
Hope that helps,