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Butternut Squash Falafels with Fig, Chioggia Beetroot & Chilli Oil


Chickpea falafel can be a little tricky to make, but this butternut squash variety is really simple. You could use any kind of squash really, or sweet potato works well, too. Here, they are paired with juicy figs, chioggia beetroot/beet, some bitter radicchio leaves, and spicy oil.


Prepare the Falafel


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) Gas 6.


To make the falafel, toss the butternut squash with some oil and salt on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the squash takes on a little color and is cooked through.


Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar, pound the cumin and coriander seeds until finely ground. Add the cinnamon, garlic and a good pinch of salt and pound again to a paste.


When the squash is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.


Put the squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Transfer to a sieve/strainer to drain for a few minutes, then lightly press with a spoon to drain off any remaining water. Put back in the bowl, add the spice paste, the coriander/cilantro and lemon juice and mix together. Add the gram flour a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is still quite loose and sticky but holds its shape when scooped out. Using two teaspoons, spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet, shaping with your fingers to create falafel shapes.


Roast in the oven for about 15–20 minutes, until they take on a bit of color and firm up.


When the falafels are ready, season the beetroot/beet, radicchio and lamb’s lettuce with the lemon zest and juice, some olive oil and salt.


To serve, arrange the falafel and dressed salad on individual plates or a large serving dish. Tear open the figs (see note) and drizzle a little vinegar onto their flesh and around the plate. Combine the chopped chilli/chile with some olive oil and drizzle over. Serve immediately.


Editor’s note: To inspect figs for insects, the exterior should be washed well and, when opened, the interior should be closely examined for webbing or obvious signs of insect damage.


From The Plant Kitchen: 100 Easy Recipes for Vegan Beginners, Ryland Peters & Small, 2020.


Recipe by Jordan & Jessica Bourke

Photo by Kate Whitaker © Ryland Peters & Small