Do you guys already know what food you’re having for Christmas? I got tons of recipes for vegan festive desserts and can’t really decide which one I like best, but probably I’ll go for the gingerbread avocado chocolate mousse because it’s super easy to make. For the main course, we’ll have the lentil walnut loaf with vegan gravy I posted a couple of weeks ago for Thanksgiving. But instead of pumpkin and sweet potato mash, we’ll have it together with mushrooms and pasta. So that’s all covered! But I also wanted to have something little to start with like a vegan appetizer sort of thing. I mean salad is great, but I wanted something else for a change, so I came up with these festive vegan falafel with cranberry pear dip. Who knew falafel could be this festive?!
I wanted the falafel to be super quick and easy to make (I mean cooking is awesome, but you don’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen during the holidays, right?), so this was the first time I used canned chickpeas instead of dried ones. I wasn’t sure if this was working, but they came out pretty good! I also added chopped walnuts, lots of fresh parsley, garlic, cumin, and cilantro. I really love the addition of walnuts in these easy falafel; I think it goes really well with the cranberry dip.
Put all of the ingredients (except the walnuts) into a food processor and blend until smooth. Only use half of the parsley. I wanted to still have some bigger parts of the parsley in the falafel, so I roughly chopped it up with a knife and stirred it in once the falafal mixture was blended. I then also added two tablespoons of spelt flour to make it easier to form little balls. If you don’t have spelt flour, you can also sub it with whole wheat flour. Then just season the falafel mixture with salt and pepper and form little balls. I ended up with about 15 chickpea balls.
Once they’re rolled, heat some olive oil in a pan and pan-fry them until golden brown. Make sure to use enough oil and flip them over several times, so they don’t get burned. They’re supposed to be a bit crunchy on the outside.
For the cranberry pear dip, cut the pears into medium-sized cubes. Put them into a small sauce pan together with the cranberries.
Add some water and brown sugar and cook for about 15 minutes until the cranberries are popped and the pears are soft. Instead of the brown sugar you can also use coconut sugar if you want. The sauce is supposed to thicken to a jam-like consistency. Once it’s cooked, put the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve the falafel together with the cranberry pear dip and you got a great and easy vegan appetizer for the holidays. If you got some leftovers, the falafel are also great in a pita with some lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, and yogurt sauce.
I hope you all have some great and relaxed days with your loved ones! Oh, and let’s not forget about all the yummy food we’re all gonna have! :-)
Happy holidays everyone!!
Talk to you soon. xx
For the falafel:
- 3 cups canned chickpeas
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 handfull fresh parsley (blended together with the chickpeas)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (added later on)
- 1/2 heaped cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons spelt or whole wheat flour
- salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
For the cranberry pear dip:
- 1 cup cranberries
- 2 pears, cut into medium-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- Put the chickpeas together with the garlic, the cumin, cilantro, and one handful of fresh parsley in a food processor and blend until you got a smooth mixture.
- Put it in a bowl and stir in the chopped parsley, the walnuts, and the flour and season it with salt and black pepper. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.
- Form about 15 balls and set aside.
- Then make the cranberry pear dip. Put all ingredients into a small sauce pan and cook for about 15 minutes. The sauce is supposed to thicken to a jam-like consistency. Once it's ready, pour it into a blender and process until smooth.
- While the cranberry sauce is cooking, heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Make sure to use enough oil, so the falafel get crispy on the outside. Pan-fry them for about 5 minutes, flipping them over several times.
- Serve the falafel together with the cranberry dip.
I would like to try this for Thanksgiving. We are SOS-free however. How would they turn out if you baked them?
I tried baking them last year and it worked out great. :-)
Planning to make these for Thanksgiving, but have s crucial question: you call for “ground cilantro”. Are you referring to coriander, which is the seed of the cilantro plant and often sold ground, or do you mean cilantro, which could be chopped and added like the parsley?
I’m so sorry for the confusion! I meant ground coriander, which you find in every supermarket. Hope you like them! And happy Thanksgiving!! :-)
Great idea….I’ll be seasoning these with crushed fennel seeds, sage, rosemary and thyme 😋. To be honert when I read the title I assumed it was falafel seasoned like stuffing. Lol. Great both ways I bet. Who doesn’t love falafel
these look amazing!!! I’ll have to try these this year. I just recently gave up meat and I also don’t tolerate eggs and dairy well so a lot of my diet is vegan. I’m loving it so far and glad I found your blog – I’ll take a look around at more of your recipes for some inspiration! :)
Michaell | Foodscape
My mouth is watering for that pear sauce. Your tastebuds have good taste ;op I never would have thought of pairing falafel with a sweet sauce. So original! You my dear, are quite the talented cook!
Thanks, Michaell! So glad you like it! :-)
I’m sorry, but as an Israeli, NO. No you should NOT pair felafal with cranberry and pear dip. No, never. And by the way, “inventing” a vegan recipe for felafel is redundant – felafel is, by its very nature, vegan. Sorry, but I had to say it.
Hi Davida, I know that you traditionally don’t eat falafel this way, but I believe it’s great to try new things and I really loved it and got a lot of positive feedback from my readers. I didn’t “invent” a vegan recipe for falafel as I’m aware that it’s always vegan. However, the term “vegan falafel” is way better in terms of SEO than just “falafel”, so this is why I chose it. I hope that makes sense. :-)
Linda @ Veganosity
I love this healthy holiday version of falafel. And that cranberry pear dip sounds incredible.
Thanks, Linda! :-)
The falafel sound delicious, and the pear cranberry dip is so creative and perfect for the holidays. What a lovely starter!
Thanks, Gin! Glad you like it! :-)