Sweet Potato and Cilantro Falafel 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Jul 23, 2014

These baked falafel don't achieve the crispness of the fried kind, but they are tasty and perhaps easier to prepare.

Make Ahead: The mixture needs to be refrigerated for 1 hour before being formed into quenelles. The mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings; makes 16 falafel

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 18 ounces total)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 14 ounces cooked or canned no-salt-added chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Large pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a skewer or sharp knife to pierce the sweet potatoes a few times; place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Cool for 10 minutes before splitting them open to scoop out the flesh.

Meanwhile, toast the cumin and coriander seed in a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Cool completely, then transfer to a spice grinder; grind to a powder.

Combine two-thirds of the chickpeas, the garlic, the ground cumin-coriander, cayenne pepper, salt, cilantro and parsley in a food processor. Add the sweet potato flesh; puree until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl; stir in the scallions, the juice from half of a lemon and the remaining one-third (unprocessed) of the chickpeas by hand. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, so the mixture can firm up somewhat.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Taste the chilled falafel mixture; stir in more lemon juice as needed. Divide the mixture into 16 portions, using two tableware spoons to shape each portion into a quenelle (football shape) and arranging them on the baking sheet as you work.

Drizzle the oil over all of the quenelles. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly firm on the outside and lightly browned.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from "The Better Bean Cookbook: More than 160 Modern Recipes for Beans, Chickpeas, and Lentils to Tempt Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians Alike," by Jenny Chandler (Sterling Epicure, 2014).

Tested by Nicole Schofer and Mike Cutler.

E-mail questions to the Food Section.

E-mail questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.