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Sweet Potato Harissa Falafels with Cauliflower Rice

Another week another sweet potato based recipe, I swear I do use other vegetables! This middle eastern inspired dish revolves around harissa. Harissa is traditionally an aromatic chile paste found in Middle Eastern cooking, it is usually a blend of hot chile peppers (which are often smoked), garlic, olive oil and spices, like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. Tomatoes and rose petals are also common ingredients. I used harrisa paste in the tahini dressing and I found a harissa spice mix in Sainsburys which I put in the falafels. If you can’t locate harissa spice mix, you can replace it with a mix of cumin, coriander, paprika, dried chilli, garlic granules, and a small amount of cinnamon. Top tip; when cooking the falafel line your tray with baking paper, I ran out half way through and the falafels on the baking paper were much easier to lift of the tray than those on tin foil.

Falafels on tray | Vegan, gluten free sweet potato harissa falafel recipe | The Dopey Vegan
Falafels on tray cooked | Vegan, gluten free sweet potato harissa falafel recipe | The Dopey Vegan

I paired the falafels with cauliflower rice. Cauliflower is a bit of a secret wonder vegetable, it has lots of fibre, vitamin C and contains several anti-cancer phytochemicals like sulforaphane and plant sterols such as indole-3-carbinol. These weird sounding chemicals have proven benefits against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers. Cauliflower rice is easy to make, stick your cauliflower minus the green leaves in a food processor and tada! If you don’t have a food processor you can grate the cauliflower instead. I added aubergine coriander and pomegranate seeds to the rice, but you could add any veggies you have lying around for a bit of flavour.

Cauliflower rice | Vegan, gluten free sweet potato harissa falafel recipe | The Dopey Vegan

I finished the dish off with some green salad, smashed avocado and the harissa tahini dressing. This was the most experimental part of the dish and the part I was most worried about. Tahini is a bit of a staple for most vegans, this sesame paste is a key ingredient in hummus and is great in dressings for salads, couscous, falafels, wraps ect. So is well worth investing in because it’s super versatile. The dressing on its own has a slightly odd flavour, but actually once I was poured over the food it tasted really good.

Vegan, gluten free sweet potato harissa falafel with cauliflower rice recipe | The Dopey Vegan
Vegan, gluten free sweet potato harissa falafel with cauliflower rice recipe | The Dopey Vegan


For the falafels

6 small sweet potatoes

2 1/2 teaspoons harissa spice mix (or substitute for available spices; see further up the blog)

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 can of chickpeas

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander

2 1/2 tablespoons gram flour (chickpea flour)

5 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used black ones but white would work too)

For the cauliflower rice

1 cauliflower

1 aubergine

pomegranate seeds

1/2 bunch of coriander

For the harissa tahini dressing

The juice of 1/2 a lime

3 tablespoons tahini

1 1/2 teaspoons harissa paste

4-5 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

To serve


Salad leaves


1) Put the sweet potatoes in the at 200'c for 30-40 minutes to bake. You want them to be completely soft.

2) Cut your cauliflower head into smaller pieces, and put these into a food processor. Blend the cauliflower until it has a fluffy rice like texture, Place the cauliflower into a baking tray and spread so it thinly covers the tray. Drizzle with a small amount or oil and season salt and pepper and set aside. 3) Slice the aubergine into small pieces. Try to make sure you don't slice the aubergine to thin as you don't want it to burn, but not too thick as very thick pieces will require longer too cook. Place the aubergine on a baking tray, drizzle with a small amount of oil, season and set aside.

4) Once your Sweet potatoes have roasted, put all the falafel ingredients in a food processor and blend, This will probably take more than one go, and you will have to use a spoon to help stir the ingredients in between blends. The mixture should become thick and sticky.

5) Form the falafel mixture into round balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

6) Place the Falafels in the oven at 200'c for 30 minutes, or until the falafels are starting to crisp up a little.

7) Put the aubergine in the oven at 200'c until the aubergine is golden brown (around 20 minutes depending on the size of you slices). ADd the cauliflower rice to the oven last as this only takes 12 minutes to cook.

9) While the vegetables and falafel are in the oven, mix together the lime juice, tahini, harissa paste, water and salt using a fork.

8) Remove the aubergine and cauliflower rice from the oven and place in a large bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds and sliced fresh coriander.Mix all the ingredients together.

9) Remove the falafel from the oven, pour over the tahini dressing and serve with salad and avocado.


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