I know there are a number of recipes for falafel but this recipe is not a true falafel. I couldn’t think of another name so I called them falafel. These falafels are made with red lentils, butternut pumpkin and bulgur. Served with baby cos lettuce leaves or other salad geens they are a complete and satisfying meal.

Falafel with herby peanut sauce


1 cup red lentils

¼ cup split mung beans

½ cup bulgur

350g butternut pumpkin, finely grated

30g ginger, chopped

15g coriander leaves and stems, coarsely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1-2 red chillies, chopped

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Salt to taste

Oil for shallow frying


100g blanched peanuts

25g coriander leaves and stems, coarsely chopped

20 mint leaves

3-4, green chillies

2-3 cloves garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt to taste


Rinse the split mung beans and red lentils in plenty of water. Soak them (in enough water to cover) for half an hour. Wash the bulgur and discard all the water. Allow bulgur to rest for half an hour.

Put the lentil mix in a food processor (Nutribullet) along with the ginger, coriander, garlic, red chillies and salt. Grind coarsely but make sure you are able to form a loose ball. Do not add any extra water as doing this will make the mixture too wet and you may not get a crunchy falafel. Remove to a bowl and mix in the grated butternut as well as the bulgur and sesame seeds.

Heat a sauté or fry pan and add enough oil for shallow frying (about 80 -90mls). Divide the falafel mix into 15 -16 equal portions. Shape the balls in the palm of your hands into discs of about 5cms diameter. Gently drop into the hot oil a few at a time (3 – 4 depending on the size of your pan) and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until evenly golden brown. Repeat until all falafels are fried.

For the herby peanut sauce, put the blanched peanuts into a small jar of a food processor. Pulse a few times so almost all the peanuts are more or less crushed. Toss in all the other ingredients and pulse a few more times. If the mixture is all too thick, add some hot water a spoonful at a time. Taste to check seasoning and adjust salt and acid accordingly.

Falafel with herby peanut sauce

To serve, arrange falafel on a plate along with salad greens of your choice. Spoon the herby peanut sauce generously. Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a main course.

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