Pumpkin Falafel + Fall Nourish Bowl

October 14, 2016

Finally, a post with some more colourful food! I've had too many baking recipes lately and not enough vegetables.

A friend of my grandmother's is a goldsmith, and Graham and I have started learning how to make jewellery from her. I think I'm more interested in it than him, but he's really good at it. He made an engagement ring for me and even though we picked out the stone and design together, and I was there when he was making it, he won't let me see it now that it's finished, ha. I'm really enjoying learning though and it feels good to be making something more tangible again since I haven't found a pottery studio here yet. But, on that note, there is a well-known potter in the town Omi lives in and we're going to go see a firing there on Wednesday (apparently that town is just packed with artists, who knew) and I'm so excited. It's a type of kiln I studied in university but never thought I'd see in action, and it'll be so cool to see how it works and how the pieces turn out. 

I know that I make things all the time, in the kitchen, or through photography, but it's a little bit different to make something that I can hold in my hands and that's going to last longer than a day or two. I've also been doing pottery for six years now and I don't want to get out of the habit and forget how to make a bowl or something. I don't have any props here either so it'll be good to make a few things to include in pictures.

Okay so last time I tried to make pear sauce I got distracted and somehow burnt a pot of pears with about five inches of water to a blackened, disgusting crisp and almost destroyed the pot they were in. I am trying again now and almost burnt a second pot (whoops) but saved it just in time. What's up, pears? They're so sneaky. I might stick to apple sauce after this. It's either that or actually pay attention to what I'm cooking.

We also picked another big basket of apples today - if you live in the northern hemisphere, you should be able to get almost all of the ingredients for this bowl locally right now. Apples, potatoes, beets, and pumpkin are all cheap and easy to find at this time of year, and they taste the best now too. Nourish/buddha/abundance bowls are one of my favourite things to make, especially in the cooler months, and they're packed with healthy, great tasting nutrition. I like to use a mix of cooked and raw ingredients but generally stick to more cooked when it's chilly out, and more patties instead of dressed lentils or chickpeas.

These aren't quite falafel, but that's what I'm calling them. I've added fresh turmeric in this recipe (you can use dried, though), ginger, apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice, and oats. Falafel is usually fried but I love baking them to get a crispy outer crust without using so much oil. Think of it as an autumn inspired chickpea patty, with plenty of warming spices and lots of flu-fighting ingredients.

This recipe uses soaked chickpeas instead of canned and I really recommend that you stick to that instead of using a big old can of beans. I promise that, if you soak them for the full 24 hours, that you won't have the side effects that you're thinking of (magical fruit...) and the texture is a million times better. These tend to get a little soggy with canned chickpeas, and dried are healthier and more budget friendly anyway. I'm all about low cost high nutrition food lately because we recently moved and neither of us have jobs yet - this meal definitely fits the bill. 

Feel free to change out some of the ingredients included in the bowl of you prefer something different, like sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes or another root vegetable if you hate beets. I just chose some of my favourites. The potatoes and beets need to go into the oven a few minutes before the falafel if you're making it all at once, so keep that in mind. The falafel is great not in a bowl, too, so you could have it in a more traditional pita, maybe, or as part of a salad. I paired them with a tahini and apple cider vinegar dip and it was surprisingly good - I used to be big on garlic yogurt for falafel but since yogurt is no longer part of my diet, this was a great substitute. Don't omit the apple, it's perfect with the spicy, pumpkin-y falafel.

Let's connect! Tag me on instagram @occasionallyeggs and #occasionallyeggs so I can see what you're making, or stay in touch via facebook and pinterest.

Pumpkin Falafel + Fall Nourish Bowl
Makes about 20 falafel patties and two nourish bowls

Pumpkin Falafel
1 1/2 cups roasted butternut squash*
1 medium onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic
3 cm piece ginger
2 cm piece turmeric*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon tahini paste
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked for 24 hours beforehand*

Preheat your oven to 200C / 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the butternut squash into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it's pureed. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and spices, and pulse until finely chopped and incorporated. Add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini, oats, and chickpeas, and pulse again until the chickpeas are broken down into mostly small pieces (the occasional whole chickpea is fine) and you have a mixture that holds together when pressed.

Form ping-pong sized balls of falafel and place about 3 cm apart on the baking sheet. You may need to wet your hands every once in a while to keep the mixture from sticking to your fingers. Bake at 200C for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Serve hot, or leave to cool completely on a cooling rack and then keep them in the fridge for up to three days. They're best fresh and pretty good cold, but tend to dry out a little when they're reheated, so I suggest eating leftovers cold in a wrap or pita.

Fall Nourish Bowl
2 medium beets
2 medium yellow-flesh potatoes
1 avocado, sliced
1 apple, sliced
6-8 pumpkin falafel
2 scoops tahini dip
Pomegranate arils (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F and line a baking sheet with paper.

Wash and slice the beets and potatoes in 1 cm slices. Drizzle some heat-safe oil and sprinkle some salt over them and turn a couple of times to coat. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden. 

To assemble the bowls, place half of the ingredients in each bowl, top with the dip, and drop a few pomegranate arils onto each one if you're using them.

Tahini Mustard Dip
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey/maple syrup (see warning)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix all of the ingredients except for the honey until combined. Then add the honey and stir until it's just incorporated. 

If you mix for too long with the honey, the dip will no longer be smooth as liquid sweetener will cause seed and nut pastes to solidify (you can see in the pictures that I stirred just a little too long). It won't taste different, it just won't look as appealing.

1. To roast the squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds. Place the halves cut side down on a paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 175C / 350F for about an hour, or until easily pierced with a fork. Scoop out the required amount for this recipe and either freeze the rest or use it for another recipe.
2. If you can't get fresh turmeric, you can omit it or substitute 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric.
3. I usually put the chickpeas in water when I'm making dinner the day before so I don't forget. 

12 comments on "Pumpkin Falafel + Fall Nourish Bowl"
  1. This bowl is absolutely beautiful and your pictures are amazing. I love the idea of adding winter squash to falafel (which I also love). I can't wait to try your version!

    1. Thank you so much! It's become part of my regular recipe rotation now.

  2. Hope you can start making pottery again, I can just imagine how beautiful your creations are and how they would look in your gorgeous pictures! Lately we've been making a lot of "bowl" dishes, so this is perfect. I really like the ingredients you chose, especially those crispy pumpkin falafel!

    1. Thanks Nicoletta! I actually just got a position at a local pottery studio and I'm in the process of starting an online shop now!

  3. Such beautiful photos! I love the look of these little fritters. I can't wait to give this a try!

  4. Oh MAN this looks amazing. I hope to recreate it myself soon -- I've just pinned the recipe. Gorgeous flavours (and photos!) as always, Alexandra!

    1. Thanks Justine! I'm sure you'd think of a twist that would make them even better :)

  5. This looks so good! I like the combination of cooked and raw ingredients. Falafel is a favorite of mine but I always make them either to dense or to soft that they fall apart. I think baking them instead of frying them may help as well!

    1. Thank you, Markus! Baking them definitely helps them to hold together - I always struggle with consistency when I try to fry mine, too.

  6. Dear Alexandra,

    I love your blog. It has become my cooking bible.

    I plan to make this tomorrow. Is there pumpkin in your pumpkin falafel?


    1. I'm so happy to hear that, Nicki! Yes, butternut squash is a type of pumpkin. You could use a different variety like sugar pie or Hokkaido if you'd like :) whatever kind of pumpkin you have should work!