Camote Falafel with Curried Tahini Dressing… aka “Girl Food”

Camote (Philippine sweet potato) falafel with curried tahini dressing

Camote (Philippine sweet potato) falafel with curried tahini dressing

Girl food.  We all know what that is.

It’s what you eat when your husband or boyfriend is traveling and you are on your own for meals.  My version of girl food is all the things my husband would consider either too healthy, too light, or just too darn weird to ever call a “meal.”

Mark worked the night shift for the first 6 years of our overseas tour.  While there were some advantages to this, such as family dinners every night before he went to the office, the downside was 6 years of him having to (try to) sleep during the day. Shift work throws your hormone levels all out of whack, raises your cortisol, contributes to weight gain, and makes you feel permanently jet-lagged.  Not fun.  I said some mighty fervent prayers of thanks when Mark was able to transition to a day shift.  It is much better for his health, and much better for our family time. But I did love eating dinner together every night at a decent hour.

Lunch, however, has always been on my own, and I must confess I kind of like it that way.  This is when I eat my girl food:  a big salad, small dabs of leftovers, a slice of German rye with tahini & shredded carrot… all of these qualify as legit lunches for me.  So on the few occasions when my beloved would wake up early from his daytime sleep and stumble into the kitchen, looking for something to eat, you can imagine our conversation:”What’d you have for lunch, babe?” he would ask, hoping to discover by my answer what he was going to have for lunch.

“Um…” I would say, wide-eyed, racking my brain for what else we might have in the fridge.  He didn’t realise that anything I had for lunch had exactly ZERO relevance to anything he might have for lunch.   “…I’m having a camote falafel with curried tahini dressing.”

Vegan camote falafel with curried tahini dressing, perfect for lunch!

Vegan camote falafel with curried tahini dressing, perfect for lunch!

“Oh.”  Long pause.  “What’s a camote?”

Just 2 of the several types of camote (sweet potato/yam) in Philippines.  The orange-fleshed one is moist and sweet, while the white-fleshed one is more firm and nutty-tasting.

Just 2 of the several types of camote (sweet potato/yam) in Philippines. The orange-fleshed one is moist and sweet, while the white-fleshed one is more firm and nutty-tasting.

Then: “Actually, just tell me what I can have for lunch…”

I’m being a bit facetious, because Mark is actually very on board with all of my healthy food.  Bless him, he’s gone from being a die-hard meat eater, to embracing the nearly-vegan diet that I enforce so lovingly provide at home.  But sometimes, he might have a tiny little secret wish that the camote falafel were just the side dish to a nice big juicy steak.  But maybe that’s what going out with the guys is for!

So, in honour of understanding “girl food” and all that means in our lives, I’m giving you the camote falafel and curried tahini dressing recipes.  This is not only the is the perfect lunch food combo, but also makes a great appetiser or hearty snack.


And just so you know, camote is the Philippine sweet potato.  It comes in several varieties: orange, yellow/white, and purple- which is called “ube”- not only beautiful but also full of cancer-fighting phytochemicals.  While technically you could use any variety for this recipe, I always try to find the orange camote because of their natural sweetness and moisture.  If you live outside the Philippines, you can use a regular orange sweet potato and this recipe will turn out the same.

I use chickpea flour to bind the falafel, which I find locally at Metro grocery store and often, Rustan’s in Ayala Alabang Village. If you can’t find it, substitute with equal amounts of quick-cooking oats or bread crumbs.

I actually feel a little bad about tacking the curried tahini dressing on at the end, instead of giving it its very own post.

Curried citrus tahini dressing- good on everything!

Curried citrus tahini dressing- good on everything!

Just because it’s attached to the camote falafel doesn’t mean that it’s not good on EVERYTHING ELSE TOO!!!  I dare you to find something it’s NOT good on.  I used honey to sweeten it, so it’s not vegan, but if you want it to be vegan, just sub with agave or pure maple syrup.

Enjoy, and love the girl food.

Vegan camote (Philippine sweet potato) falafel with curried tahini dressing

Vegan camote (Philippine sweet potato) falafel with curried tahini dressing

Camote Falafel with Curried Tahini Dressing

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 12 medium patties

Serving Size: 2 patties per serving

Camote Falafel with Curried Tahini Dressing

Camote (Philippine sweet potato) falafel with curried tahini dressing


  • 2 large orange camote (sweet potato), boiled until tender, then peeled
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 T. flax meal (ground flaxseed) + 2 T. water, mixed well (let stand 5 min)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ c. minced fresh herbs (I used mint and cilantro)
  • 1½ t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. ground coriander
  • ½ t. chili powder
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • regular olive oil, for pan-frying
  • For the Curried Tahini Dressing:
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Juice from ½ a large orange
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 t. honey
  • 1 ½ t. curry powder
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 6 T. tahini
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Mash sweet potato and chickpeas in a large mixing bowl with a fork or potato masher. Add flax/water mixture, garlic, herbs, seasonings, and lemon juice. Mash and mix until most of the chickpeas are crushed and you have a fairly uniform texture.
  • Add chickpea flour gradually, checking the thickness of the batter. You may not use all the flour. The batter should be stiff but not dry, and stick together when you make patties. If it’s still too sticky after you add all the chickpea flour, add 1-2 T. more, and let it stand 5 min to absorb moisture.
  • Form about 12 medium patties.
  • To cook, you can pan-fry them (both sides) in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes per side, or bake them (use parchment to keep them from sticking to the pan) at 200 C (400 F) for 15-18 min until golden brown, flipping once. Serve warm with the curried tahini dressing.
  • For the dressing:
  • In a small bowl, combine all ingredients, and whisk well. If dressing is too thick, you may need to add a tablespoon or 2 of water. (It will get thicker the longer it sits.) Taste and adjust amounts of curry powder, honey, or salt. Makes about ¾ cup.
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    • says

      I buy my flax seeds from Healthy Options and grind them in my coffee grinder. I keep everything in the freezer (you could also keep it in the fridge but I have more space in the freezer) to keep it fresh. If you don’t have a coffee grinder, you can also buy the flax meal from Healthy Options. Definitely keep this in the fridge or freezer as soon as you buy it- it’s quite perishable especially in this climate! 😉

  1. mark says

    Had lentils and spinach over brown rice for lunch today. (no camote today…) I guess there aren’t any more gender norms in food anymore!

    • says

      Not so much… maybe I should post a healthy quiche next?? 😉 For all the real men!! Your lunch sounds fab- I’m making lentil spaghetti “bolognese” tomorrow here… xo

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