July 6, 2022


falafel recipe ideas

by chef Sophie Gordon

Serves 4 – 6


For the pumpkin

200 – 300 g small pumpkin of choice, seeds removed and kept

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper

1 t smoked paprika


For the falafel

the cooked pumpkin (see above)

350 – 450 g maize flour or cornflour 

1 × 400 g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed well

1 small brown onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped

2 heaped t dried oregano

a small handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

1 T apple cider vinegar/white wine vinegar

2 T olive oil

2 T pure maple syrup

2 handfuls of kale, stems removed and saved for topping, chopped small

salt and pepper

olive oil (or other oil of choice), for frying


For the seeds and kale stalks

pumpkin seeds (see above), cleaned thoroughly

kale stalks (see above)

2 – 4 T soy sauce or tamari

2 t oil of choice


For the pumpkin

  1. Preheat the oven to around 180°C fan.
  2. Line a baking tray with paper, or a mat if you have one. If you are using a whole pumpkin, chop it in half, scoop out the ‘guts’ and remove the seeds, reserving them to roast.
  3. Rub the cut side of the pumpkin halves with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle equally with salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  5. Set the halves cut side down on your baking tray and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. If you are using just one half pumpkin, the same method applies. You want the inside to be nice and tender, and if you insert a knife it should be easily removed.
  6. Once cooked, set aside to cool.

For the falafel

  1. To make the falafel, put about 350 g of the maize flour or cornflour into a blender/processor along with the chickpeas, onion, garlic, oregano and coriander. Blitz for a few moments to grind this down a little to a wettish crumb consistency.
  2. Roughly chop your cooked pumpkin (I love to leave the skins on, but you can remove and compost them if you wish) and add to the blender/processor, followed by the vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup and the kale.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blitz again, this time until you start to get a paste-like mixture. If the mixture is a little crumbly, go ahead and slowly add some water or olive oil to loosen, tablespoon by tablespoon. If it’s too wet, you can slowly add the remainder of your flour. The consistency will vary depending on the processor you’re using and any slight variety in the texture of the ingredients, so don’t be alarmed.
  4. Once a dough-like consistency has formed, flour your hands and work the mixture into even balls. If you want a more ‘patty style’, flatten the balls ever so slightly in the palms of your hands. Set to one side – you could put these into the fridge to firm up further if you like.
  5. To cook the falafel, put some olive oil into a pan over a medium heat. Once hot, go ahead and add your falafel balls. You’ll want to let them cook evenly on each side for about 4 – 5 minutes. This will vary depending on their size and your pan. They’ll start to brown on the outside, so flip them once this has happened. The inside will be soft but cooked through.

For the seeds and kale stalks

  1. Make sure the pumpkin seeds have been cleaned and dried thoroughly, then put them into a bowl along with the kale stalks, soy sauce or tamari and oil of choice, mixing well to coat. You don’t want them to be too wet but they should be nicely coated.
  2. Transfer to a baking tray and roast for about 15–20 minutes. They will be lovely and crispy, with some charring on top.


To serve, sprinkle over the seeds and kale stalks. I love to serve mine on a bed of fresh seasonal greens with the occasional side of rice or millet, etc. You could add any other toppings of choice, or even have them in between some bread, similar to a sandwich or burger. You could drizzle over a dressing or sauce of choice.

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