Sweet Potato Falafel With Za'atar Yogurt Sauce Recipe

Sweet Potato Falafel
Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN
Total Time: 105 min
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 75 min
Servings: 4 (4 balls + 2 T sauce each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

316 calories
14g fat
38g carbs
12g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 (4 balls + 2 T sauce each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 316
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 373mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 11g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 12g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 211mg 16%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 642mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Sweet potatoes are an autumn favorite that often pops up in unexpected dishes—and for good reason! They are high in the carotenoid beta-carotene, which is the precursor to Vitamin A.

Carotenoids are antioxidants that boost immunity, support vision, improve skin, and protect against cancer. This recipe uses sweet potato as a base for a delicious pan-seared falafel. Serve the falafel in a whole wheat pita with a heavy drizzle of cool tahini yogurt sauce and lots of fresh crunchy vegetables and herbs.


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 1./2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. za'atar
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from half a lemon)
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil, for pan-frying
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. za'atar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed or crushed into a paste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

  2. Poke the sweet potatoes all around with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. Let cool.

  3. Scoop out the inner flesh of the sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash the potatoes and add in the spices, herbs, lemon zest, chickpea flour, lemon juice, and salt.

  4. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes to chill and firm up (you can also do this ahead of time and refrigerate overnight).

  5. Scoop out the falafel mixture by the heaping tablespoon and roll into balls.

  6. Heat a cast iron or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil and drop in half of the falafel balls. Cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown on the outsides and cooked through on the inside. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil and falafels.

  7. To make the yogurt sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest and juice, spices, salt, herbs, and garlic. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

  8. Serve the falafels with sauce.

Variations and Substitutions

Try this recipe with 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree in place of the sweet potato for a similar color and nutrition profile with a slightly different flavor.

Can't have dairy? Instead of the yogurt sauce, serve the falafel with smashed fresh chickpeas with red onion and herbs, homemade or store-bought hummus, or a mix of equal parts tahini paste and water with lemon juice and garlic to taste.

If you're expecting company, instead of stuffing the falafel into a sandwich, create a mezze platter with the falafel and a bunch of Mediterranean-style salads. Think tomato and cucumber, tabouli, or cabbage slaw, and dipping sauces and spreads (hummus, babaganoush) for people to sample. 

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Serve falafels in a pita sandwich or atop a salad with a drizzle of yogurt sauce, crunchy vegetables, and extra herbs.
  • Roast the sweet potato a day or two ahead to speed up the falafel-making process. Spread the discarded sweet potato skins on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and bake in a 350 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the skins have crisped up into delicious chip-like pieces.
  • The tahini yogurt sauce contains one clove of fresh garlic, which adds a pungent savory flavor. Raw pressed, chopped, or crushed garlic contains the ingredients to make a compound called allicin, which helps form a variety of organosulfur products that may aid in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. When chopping garlic that will eventually be cooked, just let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes before cooking so that you can activate the allicin before the garlic hits the heat.

This recipe adheres to recipe guidelines and cancer prevention recommendations outlined by the American Institute for Cancer Research.

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1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bohn T, Desmarchelier C, El SN, et al. β-Carotene in the human body: metabolic bioactivation pathways – from digestion to tissue distribution and excretion. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2019;78(1):68-87.

By Stephanie Lang, MS, RDN, CDN
Stephanie Forsythe, MS, RDN, CNSC, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has developed recipes and blog content for Savor Health.