Falafel Bowls with Roasted Red Pepper Tahini Sauce

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falafel bowls roasted red pepper

It’s been sweltering around here lately, and the last thing I’ve wanted to do is crank up the oven.

But I ate a falafel from the hot bar at Earth Fare not too long ago, and since then I can’t get the idea of recreating those flavors out of my mind. The craving got the best of me in the end. So I turned on the oven in my already oven-like tiny kitchen.

It was like oven inception….but totally worth it for these falafel bowls. 

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

The funny thing about falafel is that when I was living in Greece, everyone back home asked me how the falafels were.

Ok that’s not really the funny part.

The funny part is that I never saw one falafel while I was there. And my husband who’d lived there all his life had never even heard of them. Or hummus. 

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

Falafel (and hummus) is traditional Middle Eastern food. They’re basically a mixture of chickpeas, herbs, and spices that you can form into a dough and fry. Then typically stuffed into a pita. 

I usually don’t eat fried food if I’m eating out, but not because I’m afraid of the fat. What I don’t like is the soybean oil and canola oil that foods are usually fried in. 

And frying is just too much of a mess for me to do it at home–and sort of a waste of good oil, in my opinion. 

So I wanted to bake these falafels. 

I’ll admit, they don’t have that super crunchy outside that comes from a dip in the fry machine, but they are so tasty and way less messy. 

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

Falafels commonly come with a tahini sauce. I’m obsessed with tahini, so I kept that theme. 

But I wanted to make a sauce that was a little more fun and flavorful, so I roasted a red pepper and together they made a winning combination. You just blend the roasted red pepper and tahini until it’s really creamy. Then drizzle in a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. 

I could eat that on a flip-flop, really. 

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

Luckily I had a big bowl of refreshing veggies to drizzle it over. You can eat eat the falafels in a pita, or have them with a salad, like we did. 

For our falafel bowls, I used butter lettuce, crunchy cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onions for a tangy bite, and avocado for extra creaminess. We also stuck in a little bit of pineapple–not absolutely necessary, but so, so good. 

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

The baked falafels don’t always hold their form quite as well as the fried variety. But a few crumbs never hurt anyone, right?

falafel bowls roasted red pepper

*Update: I’ve added 1 egg to the original recipe to help bind the falafels a bit more (it also adds some extra protein!)

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