Baked sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce

Baked sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce

baked sweet potato falafels on baking tray

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.

sweet-potato-falafels-before-and-after

baked sweet potato falafels with tahini sauce lunch

baked sweet potato falafels close up

makes
18
PREP
20 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
18
PREPARATION
20 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
BAKED SWEET POTATO FALAFELS

  • 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

TAHINI SAUCE

  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • water

METHOD
BAKED SWEET POTATO FALAFELS*

  1. 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.
  2. Rinse your soaked chickpeas and grind them finely (they should resemble medium bulgur wheat after grinding) in a food processor.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

TAHINI SAUCE

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

NOTES
*It’s best to prepare the mixture the day in advance as it makes it easier to shape falafels and the spices have had a chance to mingle.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
59
3%
sugars
2 g
2%
fats
2 g
2%
saturates
0 g
1%
proteins
2 g
5%
carbs
9 g
3%
*per falafel
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5.0
11 reviews, 42 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Johanna:
Hi Ania
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
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Johanna,
    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
Erin B:
Hi! I have a question for you: I just made the mixture and it is really delicious . I'm catering a Christmas party on Saturday night and needed some vegan options so I was planning on making up the little patties today, then freezing them to be able to bake them off from a frozen state at the party on Saturday night. But I was wondering if it might be better to form them, bake them off today, THEN freeze them and simply warm them in the oven at the party. Do you have any experience one way or the other with making these ahead and freezing them? I'm grateful for any insight you would care to share! And thank you for a really delicious recipe - I've scoured the internet for something like this and have made several other iterations of sweet potato falafel but nothing comes close to being as good as yours! Your weights, measurements and instructive video are also on point!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Erin, I am so pleased to hear that they hit the spot. I'll be honest - I have not tried either as I have a very small freezer (fridge-freezer kind) don't tend to make things for freezing, but my instinct is that freezing, thawing and then baking might be your best bet as you don't want to dry them out and double-baking may lead to that. I hope that helps. Ania
Chee:
Do you think I could replace the 1/4 cup chickpea flour with either buckwheat flour or oat flour? Cheers, Chee
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Chee,
    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
Stacy Davis:
Dinner tonight.....so good!!!! I made your falafel and put it in a quinoa bowl with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions. I made a jalapeno ranch dressing I found another blog and used that as my sauce. I will definitely be making these again :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's so lovely to hear, Stacy! Thanks so much! It does sound like a delicious dinner! Ania
Charlotte:
Hi,
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?
Thanks!
Charlotte
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Charlotte,
    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
Julie Towner:
This recipe was absolutely brilliant! All the flavours (and more!) of a falafel without that usual dryness or added fat as they’re baked not fried! I didn’t coat them in any seeds and they were still amazing. Great hot or cold and if you make them into bigger patty shapes they make great burgers! Just wonderful 😊
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's so nice to hear, Julie! And thank you for taking the time to leave me such a lovely feedback! Much appreciated. x Ania
Ellie Morley:
Hi,
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
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi 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
Georgina:
I’ve made these a number of times now and they’re delicious. Always go done a treat. I’ve done with gluten free flour instead of chickpea flour as I couldn’t get any and they’ work out perfectly!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear that, Georgina! Thank you :) Ania
Dave:
Hi 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.
Dave
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, you have a point there, Dave. I guess I didn't include it as baking the potato is a passive time (you don't need to do anything for an hour) and I was worried that it will put people off. I might have to re-consider...Thanks for your feedback and I hope you enjoyed them! Ania
georgie @ georgieeats:
Thank you for the recipe! These look amazing!! :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you! Ania
Annika Guise:
Hi Ania, I have just found your blog and it looks amazing! Can't wait to try your recipes but starting with these falafels; if I wanted to make them in advance at what stage is best to freeze, before or after baking in the oven?
Many thanks
Annika
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Annika,
    Hmm, I would say that raw mixture is probably the best time to freeze those. Ania
Madelon:
I made these falafels for my boyfriend yesterday and we loved them! It was the first time we had sweet potato falafel, but it will definitely not be the last time. They were full of flavour and really easy to make. Great recipe!
Instead of baking the sweet potato, I steamed it (as that was way quicker).
Tas:
Would it work if I sprouted and cooked the chickpeas before making the patties? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tas,
    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
Mira:
Hello 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!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for kind words, Mira. I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying our videos as this something we've only recently started doing. Wow, sounds like you don't shy away from experimentation in your cooking ;) Glad you liked the falafels. As for your aquafaba experiments, yes, I am also pretty sure that it is fructose that is to blame as meringue and meringue-based dishes fare best with caster sugar as far as I'm aware. Good luck though, I'm sure you'll crack the code if you put your mind to it ;) Have a lovely weekend! Ania
Rose:
Can I use almond meal instead of seseme seeds? What do you suggest?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rose,
    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,
    Ania
Basia:
I have to say this is the best recipe ever, I've make it on a weekly basis! The first time I saw it I immediately doubled the quantities because I knew I would love the flavours and I was not wrong! Last Monday I accidentally quadrupled the recipe (soaked 2 c dried chickpeas, whoops) and was able to bake them only yesterday but I'm not really worried as we've eaten half already and there is always the freezer option. I might add that this recipe was a huge deciding factor if I should get a food processor - and now I have one :) you've become my go-to vegan blog Ania and Duncan! :)
Looking forward to trying the Moroccan meat balls next :)
PS: do you have any gf bread recipes up your sleeves by any chance...?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Basia,
    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 ;) )
      Basia:
      Aww! I'm glad I made your day :) Your blog definitely contributes greatly to my vegan low-fat cooking (emphasis on the low-fat though!) and makes eating plants super tasty even for my n̶o̶n̶ soon-to-be vegan boyfriend ;) Hope Duncan's run went well
      Basia
        Ania
        Ania:
        Thanks Basia, comments like this really make all the effort I go to in order to produce all these recipes and photos worthwhile :) Good luck with 'veganising' your bf! :) Ania
          Basia:
          Thank you - He's a work in progress!
          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]
          Basia
          Ania
          Ania:
          Thanks Basia! I love your work - you've gained a new Insta follower! ;) x
Neela:
Hi Ania,
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?
Best,
Neela
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Neela,
    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,
    Ania
Lupin tree:
These were absolutely delicious, my husband said they were the best falafels he's had.
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!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Angelina,
    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
Iris coe:
Thank everything looks so delicious I don't know where to start. Great of us veggies/vegans.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much for your kind words, Iris. Hope you'll try them all out! :)
leah:
yum!! can you sub in regular or whole wheat flour for the chickpea flour?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Leah,
    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!
    Ania
      Madelon:
      I used whole wheat flour (as I didn't have any other flour in my home) and they turned out perfect.
        Ania
        Ania:
        That's great to hear, Madelon! Thanks so much for such a lovely feedback! :)
Looks great! Could you give the amount of chickpeas post-soaking too? I have soaked a large amount to use in general, and I am a bit lost now -- is it 1 1/4 cups of soaked chickpeas that I need? Thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hello,
    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,
    Ania
      Perfect, thanks for the clarification, they turned out beautifully!
        Ania
        Ania:
        That's fantastic!!! So lovely to hear! Thank you for taking the time to let me know:)
Debbie:
Cous Couse is not a grain it is a pasta by the way. However, they are delicious. That unexpected sweetness in a falafel is really different and delicious. Thanks.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Debbie, glad to hear it! And yes, of course you are right about cous cous, will correct it.
Sarah | Well and Full:
Oh man these look so amazing!! I love that they're studded with sesame seeds, that's such a nice touch :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Sarah, glad to hear you like the look of them:)
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