This Baked Pumpkin Falafel recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and a kid-friendly weeknight dinner!
So, you may read “Pumpkin Falafel” and think , “how is this kid-friendly?” I challenge you to not limit “kid food” to cliched, convenient kid foods. Those foods are fine occasionally, or with nutrition makeovers (like my Almond Chicken Nuggets and Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce). But let’s introduce new foods to our kids! It can take a dozen tries (or more) of a food for a child to show acceptance. Just don’t force anything, though. If they don’t like it, that’s okay. Try again later!
That said, these truly are kid-friendly. I mean, falafel are basically like a vegetarian chicken nugget. They’re bean-based, so they are a great source of protein and fiber, and are easy to pick up. What kid doesn’t love finger food? Especially when paired with all sorts of fun dippers: tzatziki sauce, hummus, or the always kid-friendly ketchup or Ranch dressing.
You can serve them as is, like little vegetarian chicken nuggets, or you can serve them on a salad, in a Buddha bowl, or in a pita or wrap.
Nutritional Bonuses for Super Moms and Super Kids:
As a mom, you can get excited because you’re diversifying their meals. On top of that, there are are three other nutritional bonuses:
- They’re gluten free. Now I’m 110% in camp “please don’t go gluten-free unless you have to for medical reasons,” but by using oats (certified gluten-free if needed) and/ or ground flax seed, you’re adding some fiber to the dish and either a pop of whole grains of healthy fats.
- They’re baked, not fried. I love this cooking technique swap because it easily cuts back on unnecessary added calories and fat from the frying process.
- I’ve added a little extra veggie with the addition of canned pumpkin. Actually, it’s technically fruit, but you still can’t go wrong! If you have any leftover cans of pumpkin hanging out in your pantry from fall baking days, this is a fantastic use for it!
I prefer these baked Pumpkin Falafel straight out of the oven, but also enjoy them cold, too. If you have leftovers, be sure to store in an air-tight container. Due to the moisture in pumpkin, onion, and garbanzo beans, I recommend reheating the falafel in a nonstick skillet or a toaster oven.
I hope you and your family give these fun little Pumpkin Falafel a try, and let me know how you like them!
Baked Pumpkin Falafel
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 tbsp oat flour
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 5 tbsp oat flour (or ground flax seed)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly brushing with olive oil, or a nonstick spray. (You can also use parchment paper, foil, or a silicone baking mat.)
- Combine all ingredients, except for the last 5 tablespoons of oat flour or flax in a food processor until pureed into a slightly chunky consistency.
- Portion the mixture into 18 balls. Roll each ball in the oat flour or ground flax seed, then press into a disc on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crunchy.
- Can serve immediately, or be refrigerated up to three days and reheated in a toaster oven, oven, or skillet.