Pumpkin Falafel Recipe

Pumpkin Falafel
Anita Schecter
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 20 Falafel Balls (serves 6)

I generally have trouble with questions that ask for favorites like favorite color, favorite song, etc. I like a variety of things and my favorite is usually whichever one I happen to be enjoying at the time. But I've never had trouble answering the question of what is my favorite food. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love a humongous list of foods. But there's never been a time in my life when falafel wasn't my favorite. If it's on a restaurant menu, no matter what other delicious offerings are there, I'm ordering it.

Given that fact, you'd think I make it at home all the time but I actually only do so rarely. The reason is that I rarely deep fry anything. Yes, you can make oven baked falafel and I do from time to time. It's good. But it's not the food that belongs in the category of favorite. Only the original deep fried falafel holds that crown.

But the other day I was experimenting with a pumpkin falafel version and decided that the only true test would be to cook it properly. And it was so worth it. Hot, crispy falafel balls straight from the fryer, topped with cool Israeli salad and my second favorite food in the whole world, tahini. I think I ate this for both lunch and dinner that day. Enjoy!


  • 2 Cups canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 Small onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 Clove garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 Cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 Teaspoon salt (or, to taste)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 Cup all purpose flour plus 1/4 cup more to coat falafel balls
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Steps to Make It

  1. Add the rinsed and drained chickpeas, quartered onion, garlic clove, unsweetened pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling), lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, baking powder, flour and parsley to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse or puree until the mixture is mostly smooth.

  2. Heat a large pot of canola or vegetable oil to 375 degrees.

  3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup of all purpose flour in a wide bowl.

  4. Scoop falafel balls (approximately 1 oz. each) and roll in the flour to coat.

  5. Working in batches, fry the falafel balls in the oil for about 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Do not crowd the pot so fry in 2 or 3 batches depending on size of your pot. Drain on a paper towel.

Serve on pita or naan bread and top with chopped cucumbers, diced tomatoes, sliced red onion and tahini sauce.