Baked butternut squash falafel with maple tahini sauce will be your new favorite plant-based dinner staple! They are super easy to make, gluten and dairy free, and packed with protein and fiber!
The first time I had falafel was from a food truck in Hoboken, right across the river from New York City. Oh yes it was fried and the whole time I was eating it I kept wondering, what is in this?! The whole time I had no idea they were filled with chickpeas!
With this recipe for baked butternut squash falafel with maple tahini sauce, I’ve healthified the typically fried ball into a nutrient dense baked ball that’s perfect anytime you’re looking for a plant-based dinner food. I’m a fan of incorporating a few plant-based meals into my weekly dinner lineup, and this recipe is definitely a perfect way to do so.
Chickpeas are the start on the recipe along with butternut squash. They both give these falafel balls a crunchy yet fluffy taste and texture. The maple tahini sauce complements the flavors of the falafel perfectly and I highly recommend you drizzle it on top! It also makes for a great salad dressing like in this kale salad.
Turmeric gives these falafel balls a little extra anti-inflammatory benefits — just be sure not to forget to add the pepper! Turmeric needs black pepper for optimal absorption!
Chickpeas, as known as garbanzo beans are part of the legume family and are a great pantry staple I recommend everyone has on hand. A can of chickpeas is super inexpensive and packed with nutrition like plant-based protein and fiber. They’re super versatile meaning you can eat them raw, roast then, make hummus with them, puree them and even put them in desserts like I did here in MY FAVORITE PUMPKIN DESSERT!
They contain small amounts of folate, iron and phosphorus, and manganese, an important mineral for nutrient metabolization. Because chickpeas are high in fiber, eating them will help to keep you fuller for longer and help promote healthy digestion.
I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about plant-based protein at this point and chickpeas are definitely one of the stars of the plant-based protein category! Coming in at nearly 40 grams of protein per cup, they’re great to incorporate any time you’re opting for a plant-based meal to ensure you get enough protein.
Want more information on other non-meat sources of protein? Be sure to check out this post on the best sources of plant-based protein too!
Ingredients for Baked Butternut Squash Falafel with Maple Tahini Sauce
- butternut squash – as a shortcut, I purchased cubed butternut squash in a bag and steamed it in the microwave for this recipe.
- oat flour — make your own oat flour at home by pulsing oats in a high speed blender or food processor. Opt for gluten free oats or gluten free oat flour if desired
- garbanzo beans aka chickpeas
- fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
Ingredients for maple tahini sauce:
- maple syrup
- lemon juice
- salt and pepper
how to eat butternut squash falafel
Enjoy baked butternut squash falafel as is with the maple tahini dressing on top or top a salad with a couple of balls or spaghetti squash like I did here.
Baked Butternut Squash Falafel with Maple Tahini Sauce
For the butternut squash falafel:
- 1/2 cup oat flour
- 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 cup cooked butternut squash*
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup parsley leaves stemmed
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- For the maple tahini sauce:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup lemon juice from 1-2 lemons
- water to thin about 2 tbsp.
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add chickpeas, garlic and cooked or steamed butternut squash to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse just a few times until you get a chunky mixture. You do not want to fully puree the mixture! Just a couple pulses should leave it chunky.
- Transfer mixture into a bowl and add cumin, coriander, onion powder, turmeric and salt and pepper along with the roughly chopped parsley. Add the lemon juice and stir together to combine.
- Use a cookie scoop to portion into balls on the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
- While the falafels bake, combine all of the ingredients for the maple tahini sauce. Sauce should be thin enough to use as a drizzle, but not super watery! Add more water as necessary to thin it out.
- Remove falafel from oven, let cool slightly and drizzle with maple tahini sauce.