Chickpeas are cooked up lighting fast in a skillet with red bell pepper chunks and Middle Eastern spices before being stuffed into juicy baked sweet potatoes and drizzled in rich and creamy tahini falafel sauce.
Okay, so this is the laziest version of falafel I could come up with. There’s no topping this one. Come to think of it, the laziest version of just about any recipe I can come up with probably involves stuffing the main ingredient into a sweet potato in some form or another.
I’ve always been big on making a meal of sweet potatoes, they just weren’t always that healthy. Actually, my sweet potato dinner of my twenties was pretty much this: a big old baked spud with buckets and buckets of butter and brown sugar, because, you know, sweet potatoes on their own aren’t sweet enough, right? So wrong! In fact, I’ve learned that I actually prefer the sweetness of sweet potatoes complimented by savory flavors. In this case I was inspired by these sweet potato falafel burgers. Or maybe I had a hankering for the burgers but got lazy. So I decided to shove the potato in the oven, shove my falafel materials into a skillet, and voila, this thing was born.
It was actually a totally different experience from the burger, but awesome in a whole new way. There’s definitely a special kind of satisfaction that comes from tearing into a juicy (and yes, the good ones are juicy) baked sweet potato, and that satisfaction explodes exponentially when that sweet potato is filled with good stuff like spices and chickpeas and topped with rich tahini sauce. If you’re a person who generally finds falafel too dry, but enjoys the flavors, you’ll probably be into these potatoes. If you like that little crunch that falafel normally comes with (and how could you not?), sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on your potato, like I did.
Falafel Spiced Skillet Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
For the Tahini Falafel Sauce
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- salt to taste
- 2-4 tbsp. water
For the Chickpea Filling
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 small onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas drained, rinsed well and patted dry with a paper towel
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
- toasted sesame seeds
- fresh cilantro
- hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 400º. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce a few times with a knife. Bake until skin is lightly crisp and center is soft and easily pierced with a fork, 40-60 minutes depending on size.
- While sweet potatoes bake, whisk sauce ingredients together in a small bowl, thinning with as much water as needed.
- When sweet potatoes are almost finished baking, coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and plate over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and bell pepper. Sauté 1 minute more. Add chickpeas, cumin and coriander. Raise heat to medium-high and cook 2 minutes more. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper and cilantro. Flip a few times to incorporate, and remove from heat.
- Transfer sweet potatoes to plates and cut open. Stuff with chickpea filling and top with tahini sauce, sesame seeds, fresh cilantro and hot sauce.