Falafel balls with courgette ribbons recipe

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Our falafel balls with courgette ribbons take just 25 minutes to cook and are a great midweek meal for the whole family

Falafel balls with courgette ribbons
(Image credit: Future)
  • Vegetarian
Preparation Time15 mins plus soaking overnight
Cooking Time25 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories533 Kcal27%
Saturated Fat3 g15%
Fat13 g19%
Carbohydrates70 g27%

These falafel balls with courgette ribbons make a delicious meat-free meal - a vegetarian 'meatballs' with a seriously flavoursome twist.

Going vegetarian for just a couple of nights a week can help reduce your food shopping bill and it's good for the environment too. Flavoured with sesame seeds, sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese the wholewheat spaghetti is far from boring. The falafel is homemade with a soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture.


For the falafel:

  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 75g cooked beetroot in natural juice, cut into chunks
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1tsp garlic salt
  • 25g coriander
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp baking powder

For the spaghetti:

  • 50g feta
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 200g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 300-400g courgettes
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 3tbsp sun-dried tomato puree




  1. Wash the chickpeas and cover them with water; chill overnight. Freeze the feta.
  2. Heat the oven to 200C Fan/Gas 7. Drain and dry the chickpeas. Add to a food processor with the other falafel ingredients and 1⁄4tsp sea salt. Blitz to a rough paste.
  3. Tip the sesame seeds onto a plate. Squeeze the falafel mixture in your hands to drain the moisture and make 20 walnut-sized balls. Roll each in the seeds, then arrange on a lined baking tray and cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the pac
  5. instructions. Drain, saving 200ml of the cooking water.
  6. Use a julienne peeler to peel the courgettes into noodles. Discard the seedy core.
  7. Add the tin of cherry tomatoes and tomato puree to the pan and bring to a boil.
  8. Add the pasta and courgette noodles to the pan, stirring until the courgette is soft. Add a little of the pasta water to thicken the sauce.
  9. Spoon onto plates and top with the falafel balls. Grate over the frozen feta to serve.

Top tips for making falafel balls with courgette ribbons

Feta is lower in fat compared to other cheeses and freezing it gives a light, fluffy texture when grated. It also helps you use less cheese without missing out on flavour. 

How can I prepare this recipe ahead?

The falafel balls can be made ahead and then reheated for 30 seconds to a minute in the microwave or gently reheat in the oven before serving with the pasta and courgette. 

What can I use instead of beetroot?

If you don’t like the flavour of beetroot, swap for some defrosted peas or leftover, cooked sweet potato flesh.

Why can’t you use canned chickpeas to make falafel?

Canned chickpeas have already been cooked. This means they contain more moisture and a lot of their natural starch is removed. The starch is essential for getting falafel ingredients to bind together. If you use canned chickpeas for the falafel you will likely struggle to get the ingredients to form into firm balls.

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

“If you have any leftover falafel balls, try stuffing them into toasted pitta bread with a little hummus and some pickled red onions. It makes a delicious work from home lunch but would be great for kids lunchboxes too!” 

For this recipe you need a julienne peeler to create the courgette ribbons. 

OXO Good Grips Julienne Prep Peeler - View at Amazon

OXO Good Grips Julienne Prep Peeler - View at Amazon

Perfect for creating precise, even strips of carrot, courgette, cucumber and more. This little tool will give your meals a professional finish. It’s easy to clean, lightweight, and small enough to store in your cutlery drawer or jar. 

You might also like our classic homemade falafel recipe. You can use any leftovers in this falafel with herby couscous which makes a delicious lunch or you could make these sesame coated falafel

Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.

With contributions from