Green Recipes: Yam Falafel with Pinto Bean Spread

As I divulged yesterday, I am eating animal-free. My lovely boyfriend, Nicholas, is entirely supportive of all the positive sustainable living changes I’ve made over the course of our relationship. With the exception of eating vegan. This one has been a bit more of a tough sell. Nick (like me) grew up in Southern Maine eating lobster and clams and fresh fish and all things seafood. He then attended college in the south where he grew to love pork and pig and swine and all things hog. So, needless to say, this hasn’t been an easy switch for him. His mother raised him right, though. He sure will eat whatever I put in front of him; all the while complimenting my cooking and wishing it was meat enjoying it. As I shared yesterday, I have to dig deep to find creative ways to cook without animal products. It becomes increasingly difficult when you are cooking for others. If cooking for myself, I am happy just tossing any combination of vegetables in a skillet and eating them over greens or grains. Any veggie, any flavor, with or without tofu, I really am not hard to please.  But I do try to take Nick’s palate into consideration when making meals for the two of us. I try to remember his favorite foods/flavors when planning meals. Something he loves are yams and sweet potatoes, and I find these to be such great vegan substitutes. I find myself incorporating those into as many dishes as I can. Last night I again turned to yams for inspiration. I made baked yam falafel. I followed a recipe from 101 cookbooks  and made a few minor changes. (Heather has a large collection of both vegan and vegetarian recipes on her site. It’s been a great help.) I also made a bean dip to serve with the falafel and served it over greens.

Recipe *slightly* adapted from 101 cookbooks Baked Sweet Potato Falafel

2 Medium yams
2 Teaspoons ground cumin
2 Small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Teaspoon ground coriander
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup garbanzo bean/chickpea flour
Splash of olive oil for oiling the pan
Sesame Seeds for topping falafel
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast yams at 425 degrees for approximately 45 minutes – 1 hour.
Peel the potatoes when they have cooled enough to handle.
Put the sweet potatoes, cumin, garlic, ground and fresh coriander, lemon juice and garbanzo bean flour into a large bowl. Add as much salt and pepper as you prefer and mash until smooth with no large chunks. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until firm. Heather says that because the water content in yams varies drastically, you might find your dough to be slightly wet instead of the desired “sticky” consistency. She instructs you to add more garbanzo bean flour if this is the case. I found the 1 cup to be sufficient.
Form the dough into ovals about 2 inches long.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the bases are golden brown.

Bean Spread:
1 Can pinto beans
2 Cloves garlic-roughly chopped
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Tumeric
Pinch of fresh nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon agave nectar
Salt and Pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency. (I  like mine with bits of beans and not complete mush.)
I placed a dollop of bean spread over each falafel and served over greens lightly dressed in fresh lemon juice and olive oil. I added a few homemade croutons and slices of avocado to the salad and served roasted asparagus on the side.


About Nicole DiMauro

i am the *intern* for this green earth, a lively talk radio show on KPCW 91.9 FM about environmental issues & green living. download or listen live tuesday mornings at 9 am at
This entry was posted in Green Eating, Green Recipes, Vegan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Green Recipes: Yam Falafel with Pinto Bean Spread

  1. This recipe sounds great – I’m definitely going to try it! I bet the bean spread by itself is a nice change from hummus.

    • Nicole DiMauro says:

      Karin, the bean spread was so tasty and I would definitely have used it in place of hummus, had there been any left! I sometimes get the hummus blues as well, though. Baba ghanoush is also a nice change from hummus and very easy to make!

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