Baked Sunflower Falafel with Horseradish Beet Hummus




Ok, there a lot of components to this sandwich, but each of them holds it’s own. Anyone who knows me might think that the secret ingredient is the beautiful, deep ruby hued beetroot, and you wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that, but the real secret star to this sandwich is the almighty SUNFLOWER SEED!

I’ve been obsessed with sunflower seeds lately. They’re a perfect replacement for cashews (which, let’s be real, are not ideal for vegans on a budget), but in this recipe they take the place of sesame seeds in both the hummus and the falafel.

Despite these unlikely special guests, these falafel pitas remind me of a less greasy version of the ones I’ve had in Israel, especially from the carts that let you pick your own toppings.

You know this lady piled that pita with beets, sour pickles, and tons of fresh veggies and that she got hummus and beet juice all over her face and hands trying to eat that sucker.

So pretend you’re at a falafel cart and play with the toppings, and you too can make a big mess! You can have a lot of fun with this, even more so in the summer when more veggies are in season. Just make sure that pita is STUFFED.


Makes 4-6 servings
Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour


Sunflower Falafel

1 1/2 cups prepared chickpeas*
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh herbs**
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 dash nutmeg

Horseradish Beet Hummus

3 cups prepared chickpeas
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds***
1/4 cup filtered water
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon salt

Roasted Beets

3 medium sized beets, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

To Assemble

4-6 Pitas
Fresh chopped red pepper or other vegetable
Chopped sour dill pickles or pickled cabbage
Fresh herbs

Make the Falafel

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend on medium. The mixture should still have some texture.
  3. Roll falafel fixture into balls. Place onto foil lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the Beets

  1. Line a baking tray with foil and place beets on tray. Sprinkle with the red wine vinegar.
  2. Place in oven with the falafel and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the Hummus

  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick.

Make your sandwiches with all the fixings and enjoy!


* I would suggest making the chickpeas yourself by soaking dried chickpeas overnight, rinsing them, then simmering them for 1-1.5 hours. The dried chickpeas will triple in size, so you will only need about a cup and a half. However, canned chickpeas work in a pinch. One can is equivalent to 1 1/2 cups.
**It’s winter, and the herbs in the store were looking a little sad, so I used the herb that happened to have the most life to it that day: mint. However, parsley, dill, or cilantro would work great, and maybe even better! I’m really into the combination of dill, beet, and horseradish.
*** If you don’t have a high power blender (like a vitamix), you might want to soak the sunflower seeds for the hummus for at least 4 hours to make sure it’s as smooth as possible.
**** You may have noticed that this recipe is oil free! I tend to try to limit my oil when cooking and add some tasty fats from nuts and seeds. However, you can replace some of the water with olive oil if you want a more traditional hummus.

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