This featured story is sponsored by our friends at The Northwest Cherry Growers, which is a grower’s organization funded solely by self-imposed fruit assessments used to increase awareness and consumption of regionally-grown stone fruits. All opinions are my own.
This easy gluten-free falafel is similar to a traditional falafel recipe using canned chickpeas but the star of this recipe are the frozen sweet northwestern cherries and sweet potatoes that make these falafel extra tender and flavorful without added sugar or processed ingredients.
Last week I set out to create an easy falafel recipe using canned chickpeas (BPA-free, of course), sweet northwestern cherries and sweet potatoes and here it is. This gluten-free falafel is similar to a traditional falafel recipe but the cherries and sweet potato make it so much more flavorful. I also created a vegan falafel sauce to go with these bite-sized falafels and it takes only a few minutes to make!
This simple falafel recipe was inspired by Valentine’s Day, which is right around the corner. The sweet cherries in this recipe add a deep purple-red color to the falafel and the sauce, which looks beautiful when served. Not to mention, the cherries are filled with so much natural sweetness so there’s no need for processed ingredients here. Although sweet northwestern cherries are only in season during the summer months, you can purchase frozen cherries like I did in this recipe. Or even better – this summer, make sure to stock up on sweet northwest cherries, so you can freeze them at the end of the season and enjoy their health benefits year-round!
If you’ve read my cookbook, Eating Clean, you know I’m all about creating lots of flavor without gluten, dairy, soy or refined sugar in all of my recipes and cherries are the perfect way to do that. Sweet cherries also have a lower glycemic index than almost any other fruit, which is ideal for balancing your hormones, helping to keep your blood sugar steady and keeping you feeling full longer!
If you’ve never made falafel, don’t worry. All you’re going to do is toss all the falafel ingredients into a food processor to make them into a ‘dough’ like consistency, then roll them into a bowl of sesame seeds and pop them in the oven. The sauce is done the same way, just toss all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth.
You can serve these falafel in any type of leafy green such as steamed Kale leaves, cabbage leaves, romaine lettuce, Swiss chard or Collard greens. The end result is a delicious and reasonably simple recipe that will satisfy your taste buds.
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your friends, someone special or yourself, you can sweeten up your Love day with an easy-to-make sweet cherry treat that’s anti-inflammatory and full of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Research shows that sweet cherries contain anthocyanins, which shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the exact same way that ibuprofen does. Does your arthritis flare up when the temperatures drop? I know this happens to many of my clients! If yours does, you can help decrease the inflammation in your body by eating more clean, anti-inflammatory foods like sweet cherries.
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This is gluten-free falafel makes an easy weekend lunch or weekday dinner! This healthy falafel recipe is delicious, colorful and versatile for anytime of the year. It's served with a vegan falafel sauce made from tahini and naturally sweet cherries.
Sweet Potato Falafel
- 2 whole sweet potatoes
- 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas drained
- 1 cup frozen sweet cherries defrosted and drained well
- 1 whole scallion thinly sliced
- 4 medium button mushrooms sliced
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds plus more for coating
- 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- pinch cayenne pepper
Tahini Cherry Sauce
- 1 cup frozen sweet cherries defrosted and drained well
- 4 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
- 2 Tbsp. tahini well-stirred
- 2 whole dates pitted
- sea salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Sweet Potato Falafel
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rub the oil on the sweet potatoes and use a fork to poke holes in the sweet potato. Then, place the potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the sweet potatoes for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool and discard the skins
Bring the oven temperature down to 350 degrees F. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place all of the falafel ingredients into a food processor and puree until well combined. Use a teaspoon make 1 inch size balls with your hands and roll the balls in the sesame seeds. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, make the Tahini Cherry Sauce, below.
Remove the falafel from the oven and place into Bib lettuce leaves. Top with avocado, red onion and parsley. Drizzle the Tahini Cherry sauce on top, season to taste with sea salt and pepper and serve immediately.
For the Sweet Northwest Cherry Sauce
In a small food processor or blender, puree all the sauce ingredients until well combined and smooth.