Falafel, Tahini and Cumin Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich

Falafel, Tahini and Cumin Roasted Butternut Squash Sandwich
Anita Schecter
Ratings (8)
  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
580 Calories
23g Fat
78g Carbs
21g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Lately I've been absolutely obsessed with a good falafel sandwich. It's been one of my most favorite foods for most of my life and when the craving hits I can't stop thinking about it. The classic version has Israeli salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and plenty of tahini sauce. But that feels like something I want in summer. Since winter is in full swing here, I thought I'd warm up my falafel with butternut squash, roasted in aromatic cumin, some fresh baby spinach leaves and, of course, the tahini.

Classic falafel is deep fried but I usually opt for an oven baked version at home and save the fried for restaurant splurges. But either way, it's all about building layers of flavor and good contrasts. The cool, lemony tahini sauce balances the warmth of the cumin and the sweet butternut squash is a great counter to the well spiced falafel. This sandwich totally satisfied my craving. Um...except that now I want another one!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. butternut squash (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 pieces fresh pita or naan bread
  • For the Falafel:
  • 1 can (approx. 15 oz.) chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared tahini sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • For the Tahini Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup sesame paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

To make the tahini sauce, combine the sesame paste, water, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. If you refrigerate the mixture and it thickens too much, just add a bit more water to reach your desired consistency.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the squash by whisking together the olive oil and cumin in a bowl. Add the squash and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and season with salt and pepper.

Make the falafel by combining the chickpeas, tahini, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, coriander, flour, cilantro, salt and pepper in a small food processor. Puree until mixed or you can do it by hand in a bowl by mashing the chickpeas with a spoon or potato masher and then mixing in the rest of the ingredients.

Spread the olive oil on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Note that it can be the same one you have the squash on if there's room. Scoop 1 oz. balls of the falafel mixture and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until they are a light golden brown. The squash should be tender as well but, if not, continue cooking for an additional 5 - 10 minutes.

Spread the tahini sauce on a piece of pita or naan bread, add some spinach leaves, if using, then add some roasted squash and 3 or 4 balls of falafel. Finish with an additional drizzle of tahini.