Perfectly crispy falafel salad bowls with brown rice and veggies. Served with creamy tahini sauce, these falafel bowls are great for a tasty vegan lunch or dinner! Tasty, filling and the kids love them too!
I try to include a vegan meal in our weekly meal plan a couple of times a week. These mini falafel balls are so popular in my house we've been making them on a weekly basis lately! They're crispy tasty and perfect with all those lovely veggies.
Served with brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies then smothered in a tasty tahini sauce, what's not to love? These falafel salad bowls are so versatile too. You can switch them up to you include all your favourite veggies.
Why This Recipe Works
- Crispy mini falafel balls - everyone loves these!
- All those veggies - we love a mix of hot and cold!
- Versatile - switch it up to your heart's content. Add in more veggies, swap rice for quinoa.
- Filling satisfying vegan meal - with brown rice and sweet potatoes this is a very satisfying meal
- Tahini sauce - perfect with those mini falafel balls and that roasted sweet potato.
What You'll Need
- To Make The Falafel
- Chickpeas - I use canned chickpeas, you can use dried and cook them if you prefer it's up to you.
- Red Onion - One small red onion or half a medium one is all you'll need here.
- Garlic - I add 3 large cloves of garlic, but you can use less if you want.
- Herbs - Fresh flatleaf parsley and fresh coriander/cilantro. Fresh really is best for these.
- Spices - Cumin and ground coriander.
- Flour - You will need a couple of tablespoons of plain/all-purpose flour to help bind the falafel mixture
- Sesame seeds - These are optional, but they add some texture and a little more flavour.
- Lemon Juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice added to the falafel mixture lifts up all those lovely flavours.
- To Make The Veggie Rice Bowls & Tahini Sauce
- Brown rice - We love brown rice with this but quinoa works really well too.
- Sweet Potatoes - Cubed and roasted these are great, we sometimes swap them for grated carrot if we want a lighter meal.
- Raw veggies - Cherry tomatoes, courgettes/zucchini and yellow bell pepper/capsicum are some of our favourites. Feel free to swap in your favourites.
- For the tahini sauce - you will need tahini this is a condiment made from toasted and ground sesame. You will find in most large supermarkets. You will also need freshly squeezed lemon juice, minced garlic and water.
How To Make It
This really is so easy to make, but you will need a food processor. Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card below, but here is a quick visual guide.
- Add the chickpeas, chopped red onion, chopped herbs, minced garlic, spices and herbs to a food processer and blitz until you have a rough paste. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cold water and blitz again.
- Measure one tablespoon of the paste and shape the paste into balls between the palms of your hands. Then roll the ball in sesame seeds. Repeat until you have used up all the paste. Pop in the freezer to chill.
- Roast the sweet potatoes and cook the brown rice.
- Make the sauce. Then cook the falafel.
How To Serve Falafel Bowls
We love this with plenty of crisp raw veggies so add as many as you want! Add the rice or quinoa to a large bowl then add your raw veggies, the roasted sweet potatoes and top with a couple of those falafel balls. Then add a generous dollop of tahini sauce. We usually add a couple of lemon wedges and some extra coriander/cilantro. This dish can be served warm or cold.
Tips For Making The Best Falafel Bowls
- Dry the chickpeas - Once you have drained and rinsed the chickpeas give them a good dry with a kitchen towel. I also remove the skins from the chickpeas too.
- Chill the falafel - This will help keep the shape of the falafel when you cook them.
- Sesame seeds - Rolling the falafel in sesame seeds makes them extra crispy so I really do recommend doing this.
- Raw Veggies - Fresh veggies we love in this are listed but here are some more that work really well too: grated carrot, avocado, cucumber, celery, kalamata olives.
- Not keen on tahini? Try adding a dollop of hummus or this minty yoghurt sauce, of course, this will change this dish from vegan to vegetarian. You could use plain vegan yoghurt instead to keep it vegan.
- Make it lighter - Swap the roasted sweet potato for a grated carrot or two. Bake the falafel instead of frying, this will take longer and the falafel may not be as crispy.
Can I Freeze Falafel? If you want to freeze the falafel then I would freeze them before you cook them. So, shape them then place them on parchment-lined baking tray and place in the freezer. After an hour or two, transfer to a freezer-friendly container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking.
Can I make this ahead? You can make the falafel mixture and shape the falafel the day before, they are best cooked fresh. You can also make the tahini sauce a day or two in advance, just keep it covered in the fridge until you are ready to use it. It may need a little more water and a good stir before you use it. The roasted sweet potato is best cooked fresh and the rice must be cooked fresh.
More Mediterranean Veggie Inspiration
If you want even more falafel, try my falafel burgers, these are great for a change to veggie burgers, serve them with fries or wedges. Not keen on falafel? Try these halloumi burgers or these Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes are really great too. If you fancy some pasta instead try this Caprese Pasta Salad.
Have you made this Falafel Bowl Recipe? Rate it and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!
Falafel Bowls with Brown Rice and Tahini Sauce
For the falafel
- 1 400g/15.5oz can of chickpeas drained rinsed and dried
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander/cilantro
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 or 3 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- The juice of one small lemon
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds (optional) Pour into a small bowl
- Oil for cooking I used a light olive oil
For the veggie bowls
- 560 g sweet potatoes (4 cups-US) peeled and cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 125 g brown rice (1 cup - US) dry weight
- 100 g cherry tomatoes (1 cup - US) cut in halves or quarters
- 1 medium courgette/zucchini shaved into ribbons
- 1 large yellow bell pepper/capsicum sliced into thin strips, pith and seeds removed
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
For the tahini sauce
- ½ cup of tahini paste
- ¼ - ½ cup of cold water
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Lemon wedges
- Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
To make the falafel bowls
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/392F.Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Add ¼ teaspoon of salt and black pepper then drizzle the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well so that all the sweet potato cubes are covered in oil.Roast in the oven until cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas along with the onion, garlic, flour, herbs, spices, lemon juices and salt. Blitz until you have a rough paste. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of water and blitz again.Measure out one level tablespoon of the chickpea mixture. Shape into a ball between the palm of your hands. Dip the ball into the sesame seeds then place on a plate. Repeat until you have used up all the paste.Place the plate in the fridge to chill.When you are ready to cook them add 1 tablespoon of oil to a pan. Heat the oil over medium heat then add the falafel and cook until golden brown. Turn them often so they are cooked evenly.I cook these in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.Keep them warm in the oven until you are ready to serve.
- Cook the rice.
Make the tahini sauce
- Add the tahini to a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, garlic and salt.Slowly start whisking in the water. Add about 3 tablespoons at a time. Once you have the consistency you like stop adding water.The sauce I made was quite thick, if you prefer a thinner sauce add more water.
Assemble the falafel bowls
- Divide the rice and sweet potatoes between four bowls. Add the raw veggies. Top with 4 falafel per bowl. Serve with a good dollop of the tahini sauce, lemon wedges and some coriander/cilantro leaves.
- Chickpeas - For speed, I use canned chickpeas, you can, of course, use dried chickpeas and cook them yourself before you make the falafel.
- Falafel - This recipe makes 16 falafel balls.
- Courgette/zucchini ribbons - I use a vegetable peeler to shave the courgette into ribbons.
- Tahini Sauce - Not everyone likes raw garlic, you can reduce the amount if you wish. If you have difficulty digesting raw garlic then try adding roasted garlic instead. You may need to reduce the amount of garlic if you do use roasted.
- Sweet Potatoes - Make sure and cut the sweet potatoes into evenly sized squares, this way they will cook evenly. The smaller they are the quicker they cook, the larger they are the longer they will take to cook.
- Freezing/storing- If you want to freeze the falafel I recommend freezing them before cooking. If you have any leftovers you can store them in the fridge for a day or two. With the exception of the brown rice, if you have brown rice it is really important to reheat that properly and only keep leftover rice for 24 hours.
- Making ahead - The falafel can be made the day before, just cook it fresh. The tahini sauce can be made a couple of days in advance, store that in the fridge until you are ready to use it. I don't recommend cooking the rice or sweet potato in advance they are both best cooked fresh.
- Nutritional Information - is approximate and is calculated using an online tool. It is based on one serving including a generous helping of the tahini sauce.
- Measurements - I weigh all my ingredients using an electric scale, all measurements are metric. Cup measurements are approximate.