Last updated on May 11th, 2019
Crispy gluten-free chickpea and butternut squash falafels on a bed of quinoa and arugula with an assortment of flavor-packed salad toppings: Quick-pickled beets, crispy fried shallots, crumbled feta, roasted peanuts, and a drizzle of tahini dressing.
Zoella has suddenly discovered that she has free will. Namely that she can say no by shaking her head. Doesn’t she know her mama is the master of strong will though? Game on, Baby Z. My first word was no. Hers was cat. Who do you think will win?
On Monday Zoella LOVED butternut squash falafel. On Tuesday, she decided to test that new found free-will in the face of homemade falafel. She pursed her lips tight with a vigorous “no” head shake, eventually indicating with grabby fingers that she instead wanted to eat what I was eating (go figure).
So I outsmarted her and put her falafel bits into my bowl and pretended to feed her exactly what I was eating. And guess what? She loved falafel again. I mean, what’s not to love? Falafel is amazing. I TOLD YOU SO, BABY Z.
Sadly she’s figured out my tricks and this no longer works. Now she thrusts her arm out to block any incoming spoon, dramatically throwing her whole body in the opposite direction.
Up until now she’s been an adventurous eater. This week, though, she’s on a free-will hunger strike with cheese being the only exception, so I went ahead and put cheese on the falafels too. I’m not keeping score, but I think I’m losing to an 11-month-old.
But I’m okay as long as there are butternut squash falafels. And cheese.
These gluten-free butternut squash falafel salad bowls were inspired by Liba Falafels, my favorite lunch joint in Oakland that’s sadly only open M-F and only for lunch. But you must go if ever you’re in town. Unless it’s a Saturday. Then you should make your own falafel bowl with all the salad fixings. And add butternut squash to the mix to keep things seasonal and spruce up your diet with some extra veggies.
Toasting whole spices and grinding them up – a tip I picked up from the falafel pro herself, Molly Yeh – imparts deeply roasted flavors that layer and layer and layer as you eat them. You definitely don’t have to use all the toppings I’ve added here, but I highly recommend keeping those quick-pickled beets to counter the roasted falafels with something tangy and earthy.
Adding butternut squash and using of chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour makes the patties a little more moist and delicate than your standard falafel when it comes time to fry. I experimented with a variety of methods: big, small, flattened, round, a lot of oil, a little oil. What I’ve found works best to give them that pretty crisped shell around a tender fluffy filling is this: fry up firmly packed 1.5-inch balls in 3/4-inches of super hot oil, flip, and repeat. Eat. Repeat.
Or make a double batch and freeze half for easy weekday lunch or dinner!
Thanks for reading Snixy Kitchen! To stay up on what’s coming out of my kitchen, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bloglovin’, or Pinterest, or subscribe via e-mail to get new recipes right to your inbox. Adapted from My Name is Yeh
Butternut Squash Falafels
Quick Pickled Beets
Crispy Fried Shallots
Falafel Salad Bowls
Adapted from My Name is Yeh