Beet Falafel with Hemp Seed–Tahini Dressing


Schaffer’s Genuine Foods - Venice, CA

Charlie and Kathleen Shaffer’s variation on classic falafel uses beets, giving them a lovely purple hue. They are paired with a hemp seed–tahini dressing; you can find hemp seeds in any health food store.


Moroccan Spice Blend:
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
Beet Falafel:
  • 1/2 pound peeled beets
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cups panko bread crumbs, plus more for coating
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Canola oil as needed
Hemp Seed–Tahini Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon harissa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

To Serve:

  • 3–4 slices pita bread, halved


To make the Moroccan spice blend, combine all of the spices in a spice grinder and grind until smooth.

To make the beet falafel, place the beets in a food processor. Pulse until the beets are finely chopped and empty into a large bowl. Place the chickpeas, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the food processor and purée until smooth. Empty into the bowl with the beets.

Heat a medium sauté pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice blend, and sauté until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add to the beets and chickpeas.

Add the panko, honey, parsley, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the spice blend to the beet mixture and mix well. Shape a tablespoon of the mixture into a small ball and place on a plate. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used. Chill the falafel for at least half an hour.

To make the hemp seed–tahini dressing, combine the sour cream, hemp seeds, honey, lemon juice, tahini, lemon zest, garlic, harissa, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Chill until needed.

When you’re ready to fry the falafel, pour a 1 1/2-inch layer of oil into a heavy-bottomed pot. Heat the oil until ripples begin to form on the bottom. Working in batches, roll the chilled falafel balls in panko to coat and carefully lower them into the hot oil. Fry until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer the fried falafel to paper towels to drain.

Stuff the pita bread halves with the hot falafel and finish with hemp seed–tahini dressing.


6 to 8 servings