Sweet Potato Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce

by on January 4, 2009
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Sweet Potato Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini DressingI don’t exactly know how I came to have about a dozen sweet potatoes in my pantry. I seem to remember buying a few for a casserole that I never got around to making, but I’m not quite sure how the others got there. My secret suspicion is that while behind closed doors, they’re multiplying like little vegetable bunnies. But whatever the explanation, I’ve had a surplus of sweet potatoes on my hands, so lately I’ve been slipping them into unconventional dishes, like this one.

These brilliantly colored falafel are a tasty treat, but I’m not going to lie to you: If you’re expecting the crispy, crunchy deep-fried delicacy, then you’ll be disappointed. I almost didn’t call them “falafel” because of that, but since I served them and ate them like falafel, falafel they shall be called. If you prefer, think of them as savory, lightly spiced (or highly spiced, if you’re so inclined) sweet potato croquettes that taste great stuffed into pita bread or wraps, topped with yogurt-tahini dressing.

I made these in three different sizes: small patties, double-sized patties, and little balls. The small patties were so much better than the rest that I’m going to insist that you make them that way; the larger patties and balls are too dense inside and lack the crunchiness of the small patties. They’re easy to make uniform in size and shape if you use a cookie dough scoop to form them and then flatten them with your fingers or a spatula. (The scoop I use holds just over a tablespoon.) Two of these small patties are just the right amount of filling for an average sized pita half. And don’t forget to serve them with the Yogurt-Tahini Sauce; though it’s higher in fat, it really complements the falafel–though it’s so delicious that it would improve just about anything!
Sweet Potato Falafel


Sweet Potato Falafel
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave is a real time saver, but feel free to bake, steam, or pressure cook them instead. The moistness of sweet potatoes varies, so you may need to add a little more flour to achieve the right texture.
Serves: 5
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 18 ounces, total)
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup chickpea flour or besan
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Mix the flax seeds with two tablespoons hot water and set aside to thicken.
  2. Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place on paper towels in microwave. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, turn over, and then cook for another 2 minutes. Check for tenderness, and if not cooked all the way through, cook in increments of 30 seconds until tender. Set aside to cool until easy to handle; peel and place in a large bowl.
  3. Preheat oven to 400F. Mash sweet potatoes well with a masher or a fork. Add the flax mixture, seasonings (including parsley), and lemon juice and stir well. Mix the chickpea flour with the baking powder and add it a little at a time to the sweet potato mixture. Stir until well-combined. Batter should be stiff; if not, add chickpea flour a tablespoon at a time until batter is thick. (If the batter is too stiff to blend in all the flour, add water a tablespoon at a time.)
  4. Oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Use a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to make about 20-22 little mounds of dough on the baking sheet (dipping the scoop in water every now and then will help prevent the dough from sticking to it). Flatten the balls to about 1/2-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches wide. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are medium brown. Serve hot with yogurt-tahini sauce. These keep well and can be reheated briefly in the microwave.
Per falafel: 38 Calories (kcal); .5g Total Fat; (11% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 119mg Sodium; 1g Fiber. Weight Watchers 1 Point.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/5 of recipe Calories: 159 Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 31g Sodium: 500mt Fiber: 5g Protein: 6g

Sweet Potato Falafel with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
Prep time
Total time
Don't be alarmed by the addition of ketchup! It lends great flavor to this delicious sauce.
Serves: 14
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt or other plain non-dairy yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch red pepper
  • 4 teaspoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  1. Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl. Add additional seasonings to taste.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/14 of recipe Calories: 20 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 2g Sodium: 59mg Fiber: less than 1g Protein: 1g


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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meredith August 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm

This recipe was TO DIE FOR DELICIOUS! It was sooo easy and sooo yummy. The sauce, although sounds weird looking at the ingredients, was perfect and accompanied the falafels most deliciously. Another success from your site 🙂


2 Amanda Factor January 2, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Unfortunately, these did not work out for me. The sweet potatoes were way undercooked. I wish I had used a conventional oven instead of a microwave. I had to put the sweet potatoes in for way longer than two minutes on each side and they were still not soft enough to be mashed up really good.

I'll probably try this recipe again, and hopefully a regular stove will work better! Maybe my microwave just sucks.


3 Ratpick January 14, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I recently had these absolutely divine sweet potato croquettes at a restaurant and had since been looking for a similar recipe to no avail, since almost all the recipes I found contained either butter or egg. This recipe seems perfect, since I love falafel and sweet potatoes.

Thank you for the recipe. I'll be sure to try it as soon as possible. 🙂


4 Veronica Matthai Canales March 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm

WOW! This was soooo yummy! A real treat….made it for my husband and I tonight and he loved it as well.


5 Animeamber March 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

These look delicious. Is there anything I can substitute for flax seeds, for example soy yogurt? I don't have a grinder at the moment.

Thank you 🙂


6 SusanV March 10, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Animeamber–You could try using a teaspoon of cornstarch or arrowroot instead of the flax/water combo. But if you have flax seeds and a blender, you can grind them in that. 🙂


7 Robin March 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Hello Ms. Susan, for your wonderful recipes. This one looks awesome and we hope to try it soon.

Have a wonderful day!


8 MyAsia March 11, 2010 at 7:12 pm

your pics do MUCH to get the salivation going. You've got some yummy-licious recipes I look forward to trying…..


9 leptirica March 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I made these yesterday, and my husband fell in love with them. He's already asking when I'll make them again 😀


10 lovemyfamily March 24, 2010 at 12:27 pm

The day I made this I had a bite of one with sauce and wasn't really a fan, but my 2 year old liked them and LOVED the sauce, he even dipped the strawberries in it. Then I realized I should eat them like a falafal, so I made them into a sandwich with fixings and used homemade hummus instead of the yogurt sauce and yum much better. just not a fan of the sauce.


11 Anonymous March 25, 2010 at 2:23 am

I just made this with one of my Vegan friends and it was amazing. We had to add a little but of white wine vinaigrette to the tahini because it was a little too sweet, but other than that it was awesome. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who loves falafels and yams.


12 Kelly April 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I just made these and they were yummy! I made lettuce wraps with cucumber, tomatoes, falafel and tahini sauce and it was an absolutely delicious and nutritious lunch.


13 *Naomi* April 5, 2010 at 8:57 am

these look AMAZING!!! can you use a sub for the chickpea flour becuse I dont believe I have any on hand! would whole wheat flour or oat flour work?? Thanks!!! looking forward to making these!!!


14 The Ordinary Vegetarian April 10, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Just made these for dinner tonight, perfection! Thanks for another excellent recipe.


15 lovemyfamily June 15, 2010 at 8:15 am

Just an update I have made this recipe three times now and freeze the extra portions I make cause I double the recipe.They freeze and reheat in the microwave great. I still can’t get my three year old to eat them but my one year old just loves them.


16 Zoe June 30, 2010 at 8:34 am

Me and my boyfriend also somehow ended up with a pile of sweet potato so I googled some vegan sweet potato recipes and found this. We were both a bit dubious but we gave it a try, and wow! So delicious! This will be a regular dinner for us now, we made a half recipe for the two of us but I think we’ll make a full lot next time, we were both left wanting more! I’m gluten intolerant so I’m thrilled that you have so many GF recipes, I think I’ve bookmarked about half your blog in my recipe folder! Thanks for sharing!


17 Jess July 24, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I made these last night, and they turned out fabulous 🙂

For those who do not have chickpea flour:
I combined this recipe with one I found on veg web. Instead of the chickpea flour, I mashed up a can on rinsed and drained chickpeas. I then slowly added about 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour, until the dough was stiff. Depending on how wet the dough it, it might need even more flour. I followed everything else exactly the same. I needed to cook the falafels a bit longer, but they still turned out great.


18 Anke October 1, 2010 at 10:18 pm

I made this recipe a few weeks ago and just looking at your pictures is making me hungry. The falafel were divine and the sauce was perfect with them. My family loved them as well and insisted I tell you how much they enjoyed eating them.


19 Katherine Thomas October 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm

LOVE them!!! Making chickpea flour was loud and a little more difficult than I had expected, but this is truly a great recipe. Recipes like this keep me excited that I can learn to cook delicious meat-free meals. =)


20 Randibethnash December 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

this was SO yummy!! i will make this many many times in the future – and will double the batch for many leftovers.
thank you for your recipes, i probably make one of your meals at least once or twice a week. what would i eat without you?? : )


21 Ashley January 5, 2011 at 10:24 am

I made these last year when you first posted the recipe. Super tasty! They froze really well too, which was awesome for quick last minute meals.


22 Pixie January 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

This is amazing!!!


23 Nanis April 30, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This is the very first recipe i cooked as a vegan! It is just out of the oven and it’s YUMMY! i’m so happy, i’m not even a good cook normally on top of that, and i was missing a lot of ingredients…
i tried 3 different version, one with tofu, one with curry and one with dried tomatoes and fresh basil, the three are great! thank you so much for all this SusanV!


24 Jan Watson May 4, 2011 at 10:27 am

I made these with whole wheat pastry flour only and a large handful of cilantro and parsley which gave it a more Indian cuisine vibe. The second night I forgot the Middle Eastern origin entirely and served alongside a baked Amy’s samosa!
Very crave-able!


25 Dawn January 4, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Took your sauce and folded in a chopped, seeded cucumber. We didn’t have a tomato to slice, and these sammies begged for tomato something, so we mish mashed cuisines worse than you and plopped on some mild salsa. Fabu! Just fabu! I think the best part of not being of any particular ethnicity, but trying to find tasty new health is I am willing to smash through what someone being traditional would consider sacrilegious. Nope~ these aren’t yo mama’s falafel, but they are plenty fine!

A side note regarding garbanzo flour~ Bob’s Red Mill makes some, but be more adventurous! Go to an Indian/ Middle Eastern store and get it there. It is in BIG bags, and WAY cheap. After you buy it, go snag Bob’s hummus recipe from his website. This is my 2nd recipe with that flour, and I am thrilled to be expanding my skills with it. Good stuff, man! And super easy to dip into for cooking. I found that having ease of use makes it easier to cook healthy. If I have to rinse, soak, cook, drain, and mash garbanzo beans….hummus ain’t happening!


26 Nathan January 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Just made these and I’m enjoying them with a salad, inspired by KISSS.

Photo: http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxv8ijOK4z1qcincoo1_500.png


27 Susan Voisin January 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Love the photo! Thanks for posting!


28 Becky March 27, 2012 at 9:39 am

I’m not sure where I went wrong with this recipe, but it really didn’t work for me :(. I love sweet potato and was really looking forward to making it. I had all the ingredients in, including the chickpea flour, and followed the recipe. The only thing I did different was to peel and boil the sweet potato rather than put it in the microwave (there’s no way our microwave would cook 2 potatoes in 5 mins).

The batter was tasty but very, very loose, so I added more flour. And then more flour. And then more. It was still very sloppy and then tasted overwhelmingly of flour and nothing else! Really upset that I didn’t get my tasty vegan falafels at the end of all my hard word :(. Is microwaving the potatoes absolutely necessary for the recipe to work?


29 Susan Voisin March 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

I’m sorry yours came out so badly! Boiling the sweet potatoes adds a lot of water to them while microwaving them dries them out. You could bake the sweet potatoes and get the right texture, but that takes so long that I settled on microwaving.


30 Becky March 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for replying so quickly! I suppose that makes sense, as sweet potatoes can be very watery when boiled. I still have some potatoes left, so I’ll try baking them tomorrow and see if the recipe works any better. I’m sure it will; it’s my own fault for being lazy lol 😀 xox


31 Jen havard August 30, 2012 at 6:30 am

These were excellent, such a treat! Served on a healthy pita bread, stuffed also with chopped romaine and grape tomatoes from the garden. Yum.


32 Marian Gleason January 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Can’t WAIT to make these, Susan – I’ll post a pic on FB when I do! HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013 to you & yours!!! xxMarian (& Bill too – he LOVES your recipes!!)


33 Jarafel February 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi Susan, I made these today and I added little bit of red onion and instead of flax seeds I used psyllium husk powder to keep things together, since it is fat free. falafels are very tasty, heavy a bit but tasty 🙂 thank you for the recipe 🙂


34 Katherine Baker January 4, 2014 at 12:59 pm

Hi! I’d love to try your recipe for sweet potato falafel. I do not have a microwave and have no intention of purchasing one. Could the sweet potatoes be baked for one hour or, alternatively, boiled (cooking time less long). Thanks! 🙂


35 Susan Voisin January 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

As I said in the recipe, cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave is a real time saver, but feel free to bake or steam them instead. The moistness of sweet potatoes varies, so you may need to add a little more flour to achieve the right texture.


36 Katherine Baker January 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Thanks! No way will I purchase a microwave.


37 Becky January 6, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Why don’t I know this? When you say a pinch of red pepper, do you mean red pepper flakes? Is there another form?


38 Susan Voisin January 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I meant ground red pepper (cayenne), but I’m sure flakes would be good, too. I should have been more specific. Thanks for pointing that out.


39 Amy January 8, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and it turned out so yummy! The only change I made is I used chia seeds in place of the flax. They were delicious! Thanks for all of the great recipes. I am constantly bookmarking recipes on your blog. 🙂


40 Laura February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Hi Susan,

All I have on hand is vanilla coconut yogurt so I don’t think that will work so well for the sauce. Would vegan sour cream work instead?



41 Vanessa Sain-Dieguez January 4, 2015 at 8:15 pm

Just made these and they’re delicious!!! Hoping my toddler will gobble them up. Do they have to be kept in the refrigerator? I’m assuming yes… Best advice for make ahead and keeping?


42 Diane Young January 8, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I cannot get any dairy free yogurt in my area. I can get dairy free sour cream – do you think that would make a good substitute to make the yogurt tahini sauce?


43 Sharon Herbitter November 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I’ve made these before (heck, I might’ve commented on this before!), but I made them again tonight and, man, are they good. And filling! And low calorie! Just a gem of a recipe. Thanks — as always.


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