Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel recipe from the Leon cookbook -made from mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea flour, spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

Do all you U.K. based readers know the Leon restaurants? I bet many of you do. I'm feeling a bit in the dark here. I learned of the fantastically successful Leon destinations while flipping through an Aussie food magazine the other day and ended up ordering the newly released Leon cookbook on the spot. I think we can all agree, it's a challenge to find natural food cookbooks that are full of great content and exceptionally well designed. Wait until you get a glimpse of this book. Written by chef/owner Allegra McEvedy, it's quirky, fantastic, fun, and takes all sorts of liberties with traditional book design. I'm highlighting the baked sweet potato falafel recipe here today, but it was hard for me to settle on a single recipe. The 300+ page book is full of the big-hearted, bold-flavored, seasonal, gutsy food the cafes are known for.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

Leon covers a lot of ground. It is divided into two major sections - ingredients and recipes. Essentially, you learn how to source great ingredients in the first part, and how to put them to use in the second part. The book includes a tear-out seasonality chart, an endearing fold-out European cheese map, all sorts of icons, funky fonts, and info-graphics throughout. You can have a glance at their menu to get a sense of the kind of recipes you'll find in the book - plenty for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Lots of whole grains, an emphasis on minimally processed ingredients. Really great.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

I feel like this is a cookbook that will resonate with many, not only as a reference, but also as an object that was thoughtfully made by people who care about what they are doing. It would be a great gift to give to young people as they are going off to college, or striking out on their own. If I had this book when I was twenty-two it may not have taken me as long as it did to find a culinary realm I love exploring - mindful food that is full of flavor and fun and friendship.

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

I'll finish up with a few notes about the baked sweet potato falafel recipe. These aren't your typical falafel, nor were they intended to be, just keep that in mind before you write in. These falafel are made with a mashed sweet potato and chickpea flour base, accented with a generous punch of spices, a nice amount of garlic and plenty of chopped cilantro. If you're looking for that crunchy, fried, falafel experience, this isn't it. But these are delicious in their own way. And the sesame seed sprinkle gives each one a little bit of crunch. The next time around I might actually give each falafel a dunk in some sort of egg bath, and then in the seeds for a bit more crunch and coverage. At Leon they are served as a mezze along with chopped tomatoes, pickles, and aioli.

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Baked Sweet Potato Falafel Recipe

These falafel are Leon's most popular veggie dish to date. They knew they wanted falafel on the menu, but chose not to have deep fryers. After some experimenting, this sweet potato and chickpea flour version was developed.

2 medium sweet potatoes (orange inside), around 700g or 1 1/2 pounds in total
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 big handfuls of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
Juice of half a lemon
a scant cup (120g) gram /chickpea flour
a splash of olive oil
a sprinkling of sesame seeds
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees (220C) and roast the sweet potatoes whole until just tender - 45 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven, leave the potatoes to cool, then peel.

Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and gram/chickpea flour into a large bowl. Season well, and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Stick in the fridge to firm up for an hour, or the freezer for 20-30 minutes. When you take it out, your mix should be sticky rather than really wet. You can add a tablespoon or so more of chickpea flour if necessary (the water content of sweet potatoes varies enormously).

Reheat the oven to 400F/200C. Using a couple of soup spoons (put a well-heaped spoonful of mix in one spoon and use the concave side of the other to shape the sides) or a falafel scoop if you have one, make the mixture into falafelly looking things and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Makes about 18 falafel, enough for 4 - 6.

Reprinted with permission from Leon: Ingredients and Recipes by Allegra McEvedy. (Conran Octopus Ltd. 2008)

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I made them today, wonderful!


I made these as an appetizer/hors d' oeuvre by shaping into smaller bites. I served with one inch wheat pita rounds from my local market and some cucumber yogurt on the side. Worked really well and enjoyed by all. I love taking a good recipe like this and playing with it.


So I was in a hurry today and just heated up a couple of these in the microwave and put a little applesauce with them...loved it.


Thanks for the veggie burger info - just froze the rest...LOVE THEM and making the lentil burgers next. :)


I made these the other night, and the flavor is excellent! I had them in pita, like a falafel. But I would agree that I miss the crunch of deep fried falafel (though I did the egg wash & extra sesame seeds), and they were a bit dry. (I worked at a place that baked their falafel as well, and I thought they tasted awful that way). Today I had more of them, this time with some roasted vegetables (which were pretty juicy) and hummus in a tortilla, and it was a great combination. Now if only I could figure out how to make them crunchier!


Just made these and liked them very much!


I love sweet potatoes, but hate cilantro, and these look delicious. What could I do instead of using cilantro? thanks :) HS: I think I'd live chives and/or chopped green onions?


Delicious! Variation I was forced to make: I didn't have garlic, and I added bean sprouts (minced in the food processor) that were languishing in the fridge. Easy-to-find-ingredients, easy to make, easy to eat! Thank you thank you thank you. My toddler didn't like, unfortunately; I'll replace coriander with cinnamon next time, and reduce the fresh coriander content - I think it was a bit much for him. More for us!


I know this is the falafel stream, but I'm wondering if you can answer something for me about the veggie burgers? (ultimate) Can I freeze the uncooked patties? HS: Sure! Just thaw them completely before cooking them.


looks gross!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Would these be good with a tzatziki sauce? I was thinking about making one to go with it. HS: That sounds great Jessica. Give it a try.


hah! I'm so embarrassed. I've lived in London for a dozen years and never heard of Leon, and there's one about 1/4 mile from home. Must get out of the kitchen more often! These remind me a bit of the sweet potato - sesame balls a Chinese friend used to make. She used to deep fry hers, so presumably this would work if you happen to have a deep fryer full of oil. Since they deep fry Mars bars in Scotland I've begun to think anything is possible, with care.


how did i miss this one in my inbox?! i love falafel and these look great. haven't ventured to make them at home before but yum. my favorite "unique" falafels are from Oleana in Cambridge, MA.

nithya at hungrydesi

these falafela look so healthy n light........the sesame seed topping is nice.

sangeeta khanna

This recipe is adventurous and very healthy. I have eaten falafel and it is very good. This recipe adds a great twist!


Absolutely delish & do-again! Any suggestions for what else to serve with it beyond tomatoes and pickles? What kind of dipping sauce?


Made, delicious, thanks for sharing. Have enjoyed checking out Allegra McEvedy's Guardian contributions too. I write because I've just done a double-take seeing a photo of you in an email from LibraryElf (great service which reminds me when library books are due, check it out online!) and then realised it was an Amazon ad for Super Natural Cooking - guess what kind of books are due to go back to the library! While they can scan my library list they clearly can't see my bookshelves. Anyway it was a pleasant surprise to have you appear like that!


Look delicious! Do you think they'd turn out okay in a deep fryer? I happen to have one full of oil right now...


OH MY GOD!!!!! I LOVE Leon and I LOVEEE their Sweet Potato Falafel. Thank you tremendously for posting this recipes. This is amazing. I can't wait to make 'em this weekend. You're brilliant!


looks super delicious and well presented :) xx Rico-Recipes


I just made these for lunch and leftovers- delicious and easy!


oh my ......that loooks so delicious.......realy got to make it


Just made these and they were excellent. However, I did substitute fresh cooked chickpeas (mashed up) that I had in the fridge for the chickpea flour and fresh parsley for the coriander (which is something that I get physically sick from). In fact, in the Middle East country I live in I do not believe they make it with coriander. One thing though, the next time I'm going to roll the falafel balls completely in the sesame seeds and not just on top. It will give it a sturdier base. Keep up the good work.

Janet Paula

I made these last night - so delicious...and I also made the ultimate veggie burgers - I am so excited about the food I get to eat over the next few days! A friend is sending me some avocados any day now too - can't wait to pair them. Do you have any other serving suggestions for the falafels other than as a mezze...? thanks for the amazing recipes and the most beautiful photos!


These are good with black sesame seeds too. Thanks for joining the majority of us in the world and adding metric measurements at last.


I just tried making these and they were really good. Love how healthy they are too :) Thanks for the recipe, this is one I'm going to make often.


It looks so delicious. Thank you for sharing. -Green


oh, wow. What could be better than sweet potato "balls"? I definitely have to add this to our repertoire. I can't stop drooling!!


So I'm wondering what makes these falafel? The chickpea flour? Not to get all snippy and editor-y, but as I'm going through a period where I'm increasingly skeptical about a newly discovered tendency to over-romanticize recipes in my own work, I'm finding myself reading other recipes in an increasingly critical fashion. Wouldn't these taste just as good if they were called "Baked Sweet Potato-Chickpea Croquettes"? Any serving recommendations (wrapped in pita with tahini, tomatoes, potatoes and cukes; on top of tabbouleh, etc.)? HS: Hi Gregg, Allegra mentions in her head notes that it's the chickpea flour that gives these guys their falafel-esque credentials. They'd be great in pita.


If I didn't just have falafels for lunch, I would be making these for dinner tonight! Is tomorrow too soon?


What a gorgeous cookbook!! I can spend hours in the cookbook section of a bookstore! I will keep my eyes open for this one! And the falafels look divine!

Melissa @ For the Love of Health

What a gorgeous looking cookbook AND recipe. Thanks!

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

I've been addicted to your website for a long time! I love Allegra McEvedy and follow her recipes on the Guardian's website. This looks yummy! Thanks!


This seems so easy! And that book looks amazing. Thanks!


I love falafel of any kind and sweet potato in any form, so this recipe sound more or less perfect to me!


Heidi, this book looks incredible. What a ringing endorsement! After looking at their menu, I decided that I'm going to have to make a beeline for the bookstore to look through it. Thanks for sharing!

Kylie of Thin Crust, Deep Dish

I made this last night, with one change: I substituted canned chickpeas for the chickpea flour, to give it more texture, and it worked a treat. A lovely recipe, thank you for reviewing the book: I have just ordered it.


sounds fab! and on the subject of british food, as a canadian living in england for the past 6 years, i think the food here is fantastic! maybe not in london necessarily, but definitely in the south west. the vegetarian movement here is booming and is years ahead of canada. i am spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out.


These falafels are my favourite thing to eat on the menu and I never realised that they were not deep-fried!


These should be served with tahini, the obvious combo! You can also do the complete middle east meal: pita bread, diced tomato and cucumber salad, falafel. pickled cucumbers and tahini drizzled on the top. Yum!


I Live in London and have never been to London- already asked a friend to join me for dinner there tomorrow!


Makes so much sense - chickpea flour and sweet potatoes. I can't wait to try this. I've only used chickpea flour for crepes in the past, I'm happy to have another use for it. Great post!

Allison Lemons

I just made this recipe with two substitutions / changes: 1) I didn't have chickpea flour, so I mixed together whole wheat flour + mashed garbanzo beans to make a sort of paste. 2) I was short on time, so I fried these in olive oil instead of baking them. I was very pleased with how these turned out! I served them with a cucumber sauce (Greek yogurt, chopped cucumbers, and garlic.)


What a creative idea! I'm going to pass along this recipe to my mother, better yet, I'll send her here. She'll love it.


These sound like a great take on the traditional falafel. Fantastic photos!

Cookin' Canuck

Who does your macro food photography? I always love looking at the photos of the recipes you've made. HS: Thanks Willow, I do all my own photography for the site.


I live in London and I must say Im a huge fan of Leon restaurants. I also own the book, which is really well done and also very well designed ( Im a graphic designer, you see! ). I recommend it 100%. I was pleasantly surprised when you posted this recipe, it's one of my favourites (alongside Leon's Super Salad!).


Serendipity! I just found your website today by chance. I love it. I love the creativity of the recipes abd I love the beautiful photography. 30 minutes into my new discovery and I realized that it was YOUR website! I have your cookbook, Super Natural Cooking, and I love it. I've only been able to cook a couple of things, but it has totally inspired me! I was just thinking this weekend that I have all these cookbooks that I rarely use, yet I'm obsessed with buying new ones! I try to cook new recipes, however my limited time does not allow me to do this so I tend to just do variations of what I know. I have decided this weekend that I am going to try to cook at least 2 new recipes a week (this week I'm shooting for 4). I know it doesn't seem like much, but I just don't have the time. I just read that is how you started this website! I am looking forward to trying many more of your favorite recipes. Thank you!


I bought the cookbook on the spot after reading this post. I hope to try this and more recipes soon. Thanks for sharing!


.."a little but of crunch." Just a heads up! I've been a long time lurker, your fresh food ideas have inspired me over and over again. Thanks, you're awesome!


These sound great! I'm allergic to wheat and chickpeas -anyone have an idea of a flour that is a good alternative?


sounds absolutely amazing i'm going to try this tonight! Thanks so much!


These look delicious! I may be unimaginative right now, but does anyone have suggestions on what to serve with these? Bonus points for being super easy to prepare. Thanks Heidi!


This book sounds wonderful-have to buy it.


What a crafty idea. Sounds tasty too. I love the llok of that book. Design is so important for a cookbook; it needs to be inspiring. Cooking is more than just making it, it is creating a dish with joy and love.

Marissa Makes

sounds delicious, great!

Liz Collet

This looks great and so easy. Think I'll give it a go by steaming the sweet potato. I am not such a fan of cooking food at such high temperatures and the steaming would also make it a bit of a quicker prep time. Fabulous as always!

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

This looks great and so easy. Think I'll give it a go by steaming the sweet potato. I am not such a fan of cooking food at such high temperatures and the steaming would also make it a bit of a quicker prep time. Fabulous as always!

Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen)

The sesame seed topping looks great. And, I can't wait to see the book. Sounds like a great one.


I've had these before on a number of occasions and they truly are amazing! Fantastic that Allegra has a recipe book out, I am definitely going to make them!


Oh My Goodness! Those little mounds are so cheery! I wish I could snap my fingers and turn the pile of sweet potatoes currently acting as my table's centerpiece into them right now. And that books looks like great reading/cooking. Thank you for sharing Heidi!


Of Cos !!!! LEON is best fast food place ! best natural healthy food Soup is fantastic ! Stewed is amazing for winter to warm up your stomach. snacks are all different texture tasty!! once while i do eat chicken only at this place. real free range organic flavor! even Lamb meatballs is delicious ! even i'm not a meat eater. everything is just sooo good there. Definitely is a place for a picky eater like me.. also with lots of allergy and intolerant for something ingredients the best ever! and best place to chilled and seat with found furniture..


This looks delicious! I actually encountered a similar recipe in an old Indian cookbook which had pecans, corn, and cinnamon in the mix along with most of the ingredients you mention (no sesame seeds or garlic though). One of my favorite Indian recipes if anyone is looking for a variation. Now I can't wait to try this version!

Sarah (Coffee Beans and Curry Leaves)

Wow, I can't WAIT to make these! I love me some falafel! :)


Sweet potatoes are a favorite! This is such an interesting way to use them up.

The Duo Dishes

I'm ashamed to say I'm a Londoner who's never even heard of or seen a Leon - I really should look one up. These sound delicious. Any chance of a photo of the end product?


Hi Heidi I reviewed the original branch of Leon a few years ago for The Guardian. Whenever I visit Leon, I usually order these tasty and moreish sweet potato falafels. When I fist saw them on the menu, I thought they might be too sweet for a savoury main course dish, but thankfully they are not! I will definitely look out for the cookbook... Sejal


What a great twist on sweet potatoes! Can't wait to try these!


Heidi, you make me happy! I just found out Friday that I have a LONG list of food allergies, but I CAN have everything in this recipe... except for the lemon. I might swap out apple cider vinegar and see how that goes. Thank you for this! I'm going to try it tonight! :D -H


This looks delicious, I've never thought to combine sweet potatoes and chick peas. Can't wait to try it!


This book is such a treasure, my mother in law gave me a copy for Christmas. We have the cheese map on our kitchen wall!


I bring back a big box of sweet potatoes from my mother's every time I go home -- enough to share with friends and still have half-a-box left for improvising! Just contributed a sweet potato hummous recipe to a local cookbook. Tonight I'll try falafel!


I've added this cookbook to my wish list! The falafel sound delectable. I adore books that are visually engaging---keeps me alert...


Looks great, as always! If you are looking for a great natural food cookbook, i fell in love with the rebar cookbook, companion to the Vancouver restaurant of the same name.


oh my heavens!


This looks amazing. I LOVE sweet potato and falafel, and the direction these two take (kind of meeting half way) is exciting! Also, 'falafelly' is one amazing adjective!! I definitely lol'd :)


As a UK reader, I had not heard of the Leon restaurants so thanks for the recommendation and I will have to go eat at one of those. Their book looks great from your photos and this recipe sounds yum!


Wow Heidi, this looks fantastic! I can't wait to try these. You make me want to buy so many cookbooks! Tegan


Wonderful! I don't think I've ever had a falafel and these look and sound great. Now where can I find chickpea powder?


Oh my...these look wonderful and I think my kids would love them and love to make them. I have never heard of Leon before so thank you for the introduction.

Mixing Bowl Mama

I wonder how this recipe would fare with Japanese sweet potatoes.


Thanks for what sounds like a great find! I collect cookbooks and do a bi-monthly cookbook review on my blog - and despite that my 18 year old daughter (who is finally inspired to eat well and learn to cook) isn't thrilled with any of my cookbooks. I think this will make a great 19th birthday gift for her!

Michele Morris

YES!!! I'd been wondering what to do with my remaining sweet potatoes from last week's farmer's market... this will be so fun to try!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

p.s. they look absolutely delicious and a combination of two of my favorite foods (falafel and sweet potatoes). Can't wait to try them :)


Any suggestions on subs for the chickpea flour? Any that would keep them gluten free? I have yet to find chickpea flour in Berlin... Or, do any readers out there know where to find it here? Turkish market?


I'm with Jen (At My Kitchen Addiction) - I love sweet potatoes and am always looking for new recipes to try. This one looks fantasti!

Tabitha (From Single to Married)

These look delicious. We are getting sweet potatoes in our CSA box on Friday, so this looks like the perfect thing to do with them. Thanks!


wow, sounds like an amazing cookbook! is it vegetarian?


WHAT?!?!?! This is a great idea, sweet falafel, and not fried. Wait, what if they were fried? I am dying just thinking about it. The little sprinkles make me think of Italian Honeyballs!

Morta Di Fame

I haven't seen the book yet, but it looks stunning. I am aware of the Leon Restaurants and actually we have plans to hit at least one of them when we're in London later this year (getting hitched). I know British food has come a long way in recent years, and I'm looking forward to exploring it. As for this post, falafel and sweet potato are two things I never turn down -- brilliant to combine them! Bloody Brilliant, even! Thanks for this.

Becky and the Beanstock

I love sweet potatoes... and the falafel recipe sounds wonderful! I am looking forward to giving it a try!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

I know! This book is so much FUN! I love your review of it. Allegra's other books are wonderful too; but this undoubtedly is her masterpiece.


"falafelly looking things" - LOL!!!


These sound and look delicious. I've recently gone vegetarian, so I've only made falafel once (I know it's not ONLY for vegetarians), and it was grilled, not fried. Actually wasn't that good, but I bet the sweet potato adds a lot here! And so much nutrition too. Can't wait to try these to convince myself that it doesn't have to be fal-awful!

Matt (No Meat Athlete)

Wow. As a sweet potato and falafel lover, these sound fantastic. I'm going to check out the Leon restaurant menu now!

ashley (sweet & natural)

Wow. As a sweet potato and falafel lover, these sound fantastic. I'm going to check out the Leon restaurant menu now!

ashley (sweet & natural)

I live in London and I adore Leon. I wish I could eat there every day. I'd actually say that the Sweet Potato Falafel is one of my least favourite recipes. I have the book and it's incredible, I'd recommend it to anyone. The only downside is that a lot of the recipes take a long time to make.


Rumour has it there is a third Leon opening at Westfield London soon where there is also Tibits - a unique Swiss veggie restuarant. Good eats!

London Veggie

I hadn't come across this chain until you mentioned it, but it looks well worth trying! Don't eat out very often in this country, as we eat out a lot when on holiday and I prefer to do my own cooking when possible, but that is definitely a place for the odd occasion....

Mrs Redboots

These are yummy! I got the Leon book earlier this year, and this was the first recipe I made. They also freeze well, for those who don't wolf them down in one.


I just got inspired to ‘chef’ something up in the kitchen – a frequent state that I am in after reading your posts. As always Heidi, this looks delicious. I may try them with slivers of toasted almonds to play up a nutty taste. Thanks.


These look delicious, and will be great for lunch given that my work's microwave just blew up. Mmm... falafel salad with herbed yoghurt on the side, or wrapped up in fresh pita or turkish bread. I'm salivating! Out of interest, what Australian food magazine was it that you were reading?


These sound really interesting... Living in Egypt I'm obsessed with felafel but I've never had it like this before (here in Egypt we use broad beans instead of chickpeas in our felafel - its delicious!). I like that your recipe is not deep fried - I tried to make a conventional felafel recipe that was baked instead of fried but the texture didn't turn out so well (unfortunately fried is the best way to make this delicious dish). I might dunk them in an egg bath as you suggested next time. Thanks for sharing this! The sweet potato idea is fantastic. I'll keep an eye out for this cookbook :)


As a California ex-pat in London I've struggled with the food available to here. London is a huge metropolitan city so of course I could get anything I wanted, but the food attitude and importance of provenance is definitely lacking by most. As an island nation with a history of colonies almost everything is imported. There are two Leons within walking distance of my apartment in London and I think Allegra McEvedy and her restaurants represent a new shift in London about knowing where and how your food is procured. I've found the food at Leon to be good (some things are fabulous, some are just ok), but their business goals are inspiring. They care about where their food comes from and their impact to the environment. Thanks for sharing.


Allegra McEvedy does a (sort of) weekly column for the Guardian. She also does on-line "cookalongs" for the Guardian where she posts the list of ingredients a few days earlier and then gives the cooking instructions online as she cooks the dish.


Oh wow, those look delicious. Will definitly give them a go. And the cookbooks looks great, too. See if I can find it down here.


This cookbook looks fantastic. I'm on a falafel kick right now and was just wondering how I could do a baked version!

Laura (Alwaysroom4dessert)

I bought this cookbook about a month ago and absolutely adore it. I made the cauliflower curry and could not stop eating it. In my collection this is the one cookbook that doesn't ever make it back onto the shelf.

Megan {Feasting on Art}

Also, gluten free?? awesome.


Um, I think I may need to make this ASAP. I was just scratching my head wondering what to do with these sweet potatoes on my counter!


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