How is it already Wednesday?
I love long weekends, especially those that extend over a Monday. But am I the only one who feels completely out of sorts when the week starts on Tuesday? I have so many things to do and one less day to do them!
I’m always off a day, all week long. For instance, I take a yoga class every single Monday night, and I totally almost went last night. Dan had to remind me that it wasn’t happening that evening. Doh.
At least I have delicious meals like this one to get me through the hectic weeks. This is another meal prep option, and I am loving it. I love taking some time on Sundays (or Mondays, for weeks like this one) to prep some components for meals that can be enjoyed all week long. These falafel bowls are heavenly. And vegetarian to boot! Health food in bowl form makes me really darn happy. Disproportionately so.
We are not vegetarians in my house, but we do happen to eat a lot of vegetarian meals. More by chance than anything else. I tend to like lighter fare during the weekdays, and a lot of vegetarian/vegan dishes naturally fall into this category. Not always, but often when we eat vegetarian or vegan meals, it’s completely accidental! I don’t plan out our meals with that intention, but I do love when it comes together that way.
These sesame and sweet potato falafel are my newest favorite thing. OMG. They are LOADED with flavor and have the most irresistible texture. These are baked in the oven rather than fried, and I have to admit, this is the first baked falafel recipe that I haven’t had to absolutely choke down. A lot of the recipes I’ve tried over the years yield something resembling a hockey puck. Totally dry and unappetizing.
Not these, though! Thanks to the sweet potato, these are moist (sorry) and tender and perfect. I added in some not-so-traditional flavors to these falafel, starting with the sweet potato, of course. But also in the way of Asian chile paste and toasted sesame oil. No regrets! The flavor is out of this world. They’re nutty and slightly sweet with a hint of spice. Basically, all the things I love in one little package.
I rolled the formed falafel in sesame seeds, not only for more flavor and crunch, but also because I thought it would look pretty. And don’t they? They’re so cute. The sesame seeds add an awesome texture to the otherwise soft falafel, and I think they might be my favorite way to coat these. I foresee a lot of sesame-crusted falafel in my future.
I like to serve the baked falafel over a bowl of simple ingredients. Greens, tomatoes, some cucumbers, slices of avocado, and some pickled red onions. I have been making pickled red onions for YEARS now, and for some reason, this was the first batch I’ve made in months. I am definitely back on the pickled red onion wagon, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend that you make them for this dish. They add a ridiculous amount of flavor and some much-needed tang. The best part? You can make them ahead (hello, meal prep theme!) and keep them in your fridge for all sorts of things. I keep a large mason jar of them in the fridge at all times (or at least I am again). They’re great on just about anything savory.
Everything in this bowl gets drizzled with an addictive tahini lime yogurt situation that is currently making my life. How can something with so few ingredients have so much incredible flavor?! So yummy! The flavors work perfectly with the spices in the falafel. Nutty tahini obviously works well with all the other sesame things going on, too. I could seriously just eat a plate of the falafel as long as I have the tahini yogurt sauce for dunking. SO. GOOD. And so simple! Love when that happens.
You could definitely swap in lemon for the lime in this recipe, but I have to say, after years of a torrid love affair with lemons, I have been on a serious lime kick for about a year now. I add a spritz of fresh lime juice to almost everything I eat! I don’t know what it is about lime that is making me pick it over lemon (it truly is crazy to me), but it really works here! That said, lemon is more traditional in this cuisine and would also taste fabulous in the sauce. You do you. I’ll do lime.
This short week is going by so fast already, but at least I have healthy and easy dinners waiting for me each night, thanks to these falafel bowls.
If you need me, I’ll be stuffing these in my face in a kitchen lit only by the fridge light. Double dipping all the way!
½ lb sweet potato, peeled and cubed (for me, this was 1 medium sweet potato)
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, minced, grated, or pressed
1 tablespoon ginger, grated or minced
1 tablespoon chile paste (I like sambal oelek)
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup flour
½ cup sesame seeds, for coating (can also sub in flour)
Olive oil, for drizzling
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons tahini paste
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
Water, to thin out the sauce
Baby spinach or arugula
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer and add a pinch of salt. Add the sweet potato chunks and cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain well and then add the sweet potatoes to the bowl of a food processor.
To the potatoes, add the chickpeas. Pulse the machine a few times until the chickpeas are finely chopped and combined with the sweet potatoes. You want a mostly smooth mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add in the spices, garlic, ginger, chile paste, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Mix well and then add the salt. Mix again and taste the mixture; adjust the seasoning, as necessary.
Stir in the flour. Transfer the mixture to the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes (this just makes for easier rolling).
When you are ready to form the falafel, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Scoop out 1-inch balls of the falafel mixture and roll each formed ball in the ½ cup of sesame seeds. Place the formed falafel on the baking sheet.
Once they are all formed, drizzle them lightly with olive oil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch and golden brown.
Whisk together all the ingredient until smooth. Add a couple tablespoons of water, if needed, to achieve a drizzling consistency. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
To each serving bowl, add a handful of greens, a few falafel, sliced avocado, sliced cucumbers, halved cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions, and a drizzle of the tahini sauce. Serve immediately.
Store the ingredients in individual containers in the fridge and assemble the bowls as you need them. You also can use meal prep containers for this. These are my favorite.