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Falafel Three Way with Cauliflower, Sunchokes and Parsnip

March 15, 2018 (Last Updated: August 27, 2023)
Falafel Three Way with Cauliflower, Sunchokes and Parsnip

What is life without falafel? I think I had some of the best falafel while living in Dubai, and I will not pretend this one lives up to those. But it is a super decent lectin-free replacement, chickpea-free and Plant Paradox approved.

Taste-wise is similar, mainly due to the amazing mix of spices I used: cumin (my favorite), ground coriander, and cardamom. The texture is on the soft side, unlike a real falafel. But I am still yet to find a vegetable that gives the same consistency as dry chickpeas.

Life without falafel is not fun

To me, it’s the combination of spices that makes falafel so good. I went fancy with this one and made three types of falafel: the simple one, turmeric falafel, and sesame seed coated falafel. You can just go ahead and make them simple, but it is not much extra work to make the three. Unlike my previous attempts (with different ingredients), they held together perfectly when rolled and fried.

This is relatively easy to make. Most of the preparation time is in fact the mixture sitting in the fridge. Cauliflower, parsnip, and sunchokes are simply steamed or boiled, and then everything is mixed in a food processor. I initially thought of adding some yam, but I decided to keep it lower-carb. Some people add eggs to get a better consistency, but I wanted to keep it vegan, as the falafel traditionally is.

Serve it with tahini sauce (I used this Tahini Orange Dressing) and romaine lettuce, in compliant pita bread or tortilla. Or in a lettuce wrap. Maybe with a little sheep or goat yogurt. Or whatever, eat it as you wish.

Falafel Three Way with Cauliflower, Sunchokes and Parsnip

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By Claudia Curici Serves: 5
Prep Time: 2 hours Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 small head cauliflower, steamed (or boiled), al dente
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and boiled
  • 2 medium sunchokes, peeled and boiled
  • 1 leek, cleaned (use the white head and the light green part) OR one big onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons almond flour (or more if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt (you can start with less and taste)
  • avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil for frying
  • sesame seeds for coating (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons turmeric for turmeric falafel (optional)
  • FOR SERVING (optional):
  • compliant (grain-free) pita bread or tortilla
  • romaine lettuce
  • tahini dressing
  • fresh or dry parsley
  • dash of lemon



To prepare the cauliflower, parsnip, and sunchokes you can boil them all at once or steam the cauliflower separately. The advantage of steaming is that the cauliflower will be less watery, which is better for consistency. Cook them until just fork tender but don't overcook.


Mix all the ingredients in a food processor (minus the sesame seeds and the turmeric), until they are all mashed but not quite all the way (it needs a little bit of texture). Cover and store in the fridge for 1 1/2h.


When the time is up take out of the fridge and start making the falafel balls with the hands. Use about 2 tablespoons of mix per piece. Set on a board or plate coated with cassava or almond flour (just a little bit so they don't stick, but this is optional).


When you used a third of the mix, start coating the next batch of balls with white sesame seeds and set aside. When you have one-third of the mixture left, add turmeric (about 2 teaspoons) and make the third set of turmeric falafel balls.


Heat a frying pan with avocado or extra virgin olive oil (I used a cast iron) and start shallow frying the balls (test one first to see if the oil is hot enough). Don't crowd them. Make the simple batch first, then the turmeric batch and the sesame coated batch at the end. It should take about two minutes to fry on each side.


Take out on a paper towel.


Serve with grain-free pita or tortilla, with romaine lettuce and tahini dressing and dash of lemon. Sprinkle with dry or fresh parsley.


This makes 20 pieces but they are quite small, so I counted 4 per serving.

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