I absolutely love falafel. Made with chickpeas or lentils (as they make at Nooka in Roeland Street) or a mixture of both. And now I love them made with butternut squash. I have made these Roasted Butternut Squash Falafel on a few occasions now and everyone loves them.
I originally saw the beautiful photo of Food and Travel Magazine’s Butternut Squash and Feta Falafel on Pinterest and it immediately when to the top of my “must make for the blog” list of recipes (a list which entries I do not want to count as I think there is enough recipes there for at least the next 5 years that needs to be made at some point).
I tweaked the recipe as I thought that adding the feta to the falafel mix will be too much of a mission and that it would most probably melt into the oil once you are frying it and decided to rather make a Whipped Feta Dip which I have made before for the Deep Fried Cauliflower recipe. The recipe called for making the falafel with tinned chickpeas which I did the first time, even though I have learnt my lesson making falafel with tinned chickpeas here and here. It does not work. The falafel always falls apart when frying and the only way is to make it with dried chickpeas soaked overnight. It is a bit of a pain as you have to pre-plan but you can not beat the result of that extra bit of work.
I decided to roast the butternut rather than used cooked butternut as I wanted the flavour to be as intense as possible. So roast them to the point where the edges start going almost charred. I love the sweetness of the falafel with the salty dip as well as the play with hot and cold by dipping the piping hot falafel into the cold whipped feta.
But play with the spices and the amount of chili you use. Add cumin or cinnamon to the falafel mix or some chili although I prefer to add the chili to the dip and make a second dip without chili. That way you have all tastes covered.
- 200g dried chickpeas
- 1kg peeled, seeded butternut squash or pumpkin (yields about 500g when roasted)
- Baleia Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
- 40g uncooked bulgur wheat
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ bunch chopped coriander
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and ground black pepper to season
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 50g chickpea flour
- oil, for deep-frying
- Whipped Feta Dip
- 80g feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup full fat plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp Baleia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Soak the chickpeas overnight in double the volume cold water
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
- Cut the butternut or pumpkin 2cm chunks
- Place on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, season with sea salt and roast for about 30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked and caramelised around the edges
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- When cool, place the pumpkin pieces in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients, except the baking powder and chickpea flour
- Blitz until just combined (not mushy or pasty)
- Check the seasoning and place the mixture in a bowl
- Add the baking powder and chickpea flour and mix until combined and place in the fridge for at least an hour
- While the mixture chills make the whipped feta dip by placing all the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well combined
- Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan (to reach at least 5cm up the sides of the pan) and test if the oil is hot enough by dropping a small bit of mixture into the oil. The mixture must start to sizzle and fry immediately.
- Wet your hands and press the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
- Fry in the oil in batches for 6 - 8 minutes until well browned and cooked through
- Drain and serve while hot
** Disclaimer: Olive oil sponsored by Baleia Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I am proud to be associated with Baleia Olive Oil and use it whenever a recipe requires Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The cold press extra virgin Olive Oil is produced in the Riversdale area, has a whiff of fresh cut grass and aromas of green tomatoes, almonds artichokes and green apples.