Crispy Cauliflower Tinga Tacos with Honey Lime Avocado Crema.
Bringing back Street Food Monday with these Crispy Sesame Falafel Melts with Garlicky Green Tahini…and spicy Harissa oil too. Homemade, veggie-filled falafel, topped with melty gouda cheese, then stuffed inside fresh naan with the most delicious garlicky green tahini sauce. Top each melt with a spoonful of spicy harissa oil and any amount of desired toppings you love. This loaded street food style melt is SO GOOD, and makes for a fun, delicious, and different weeknight dinner! Serve each melt with homemade sweet potato fries for a colorful, fun, and delicious dinner.
I figured our Monday could use a recipe that was fun and colorful. Although, maybe you’re currently enjoying the day off due to a long weekend? That’s my hope! When you’re your own boss, long weekends aren’t usually a thing, but that’s ok! I’m very excited because I LOVE this recipe.
This recipe allows me to travel to a new country through food. And with zero travel the last year, it certainly is fun to be “whisked” away to another land. Yes, that’s may be fairytale-ish of me, but I feel like you all know what I mean!
Anyway, some of you may remember, a couple of years ago when I was sharing a lot of street food inspired recipes. We had a lot of fun with those recipes. For some reason, they faded a bit this past year. But I’m happily bringing them back. I’m welcoming the color, the fun, and of course, the deliciousness they bring to the table.
The funny thing about these melts? They were somewhat inspired by my oldest brother, Creighton. He loves Middle Eastern street food. Gyros? Chicken Shawarma? Lamb Kebabs? All some of his favorites, but falafel? Probably the only Middle Eastern thing he would not eat. No meat, so not for him, but I think he’s crazy. Falafel is one of my favorites. And these melts? They were my challenge to win Creighton over.
Challenge met! I think it was the sauces that won him over.
First off, this isn’t a traditional Falafel recipe, or even a traditional way of serving falafel. But as they’re so delicious, and made with plenty of Middle Eastern flavors mixed in with a few of my own twists.
You’ll want to start with the sauces, which as I mentioned are key to this recipe. You guys know I love a good sauce, but these melts actually require not one, but two sauces.
Let’s start with the garlicky green tahini. This sauce is truly beyond good. It’s very creamy from the tahini, heavy on the herbs, and just a touch garlicky. Literally, all you need to do is toss everything into a blender and blend until smooth.
It’s a mix of nutty creamy tahini, herbs, and lemon juice. Then honey for a subtle sweetness, and a pinch of salt to tie it all together. Simple, fresh and so good. This is the creamy, cooling sauce that balances out the spicy harissa oil.
For the harissa oil, I just took store-bought harissa and mixed it with toasted sesame oil plus a pinch of smoked paprika. It’s obviously very simple to mix up but adds a lot of flavor to the final melt.
We LOVE this sauce.
Alright, now the falafel. I used my base recipe that I always use, but instead of frying the falafel, as you would traditionally do, I just cooked them up in a skillet, added cheese, then threw them under the broiler real quick to melt the cheese.
I used a melty gouda cheese, which I think lends itself nicely to the herbs and spices. It. Is. Delicious!
For the vegetables in the falafel, you can honestly use whatever veggies you have on hand. Just use veggies that aren’t made up of all water. I recommend carrots, cauliflower, peas, or broccoli. The falafel is really easy to make, but you do need a food processor for best results.
Once the falafel is made, just put everything together on a warmed piece of naan or pita and enjoy with your favorite topping, plus lots of the spicy harissa oil and green tahini.
No good street food recipe is ever complete without a side of fries, so I recommend you bake up a batch of homemade french fries or sweet potato fries. I did sweet potato fries!
I wouldn’t call this one of my super simple recipes, but trust me, all the effort that went into making these melts is 100% worth it.
Every bite is so good, so full of flavor, and layered with texture. Not to mention it’s just a fun way to switch up the average weeknight dinner.
Also, the leftovers? They’re really delicious the next day crumbled onto a salad or served up with the leftovers fries. Great if you want to double the recipe and have some prepped for the week ahead!
And that’s all I have for you today! Hoping everyone is enjoying Martin Luther King Jr. Day at home with good food…of course!
Looking for more Middle Eastern inspired dinners? Here are a few favorites:
Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes
Cauliflower Shawarma Wraps with Green Tahini and Feta
Grilled Chicken Shawarma with Golden Butter Fries and Garlic Sauce
Lastly, if you make this Crispy Sesame Falafel Melts with Garlicky Green Tahini, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
I found this recipe on the vegan recipe archives, but it has cheese? Is the cheese a deal-breaker for this recipe? Would it still be good without?
You can totally skip the cheese here:) Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT
Would you have any recommendations on how to prep this a day or two early? Will the sauces keep? Could I freeze the falafels uncooked, then thaw and fry? Just curious. Thanks!
Sure, you could make the sauces ahead of time and I would thing the falafels would be just fine in the fridge for a day or two. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx
Creative recipe, I enjoyed using canned chickpeas and adding broccoli and cauliflower to the falafel. However it just had no flavor! Someone help me figure out why. And what did you add to create more flavor? Thanks!
Thanks so much for making this recipe! Was there anything you adjusted? You could always add more spices if needed! xx
Delicious! I’ve made falafel quite a lot but never thought to add other veggies – good way to clean out the fridge!!!
Love both the sauces!! (I made 1/4 batch of each just to try them)
Thanks so much for giving this recipe a go and sharing your feedback!! I love to hear that it was a winner:) xTieghan
This was delicious. My husband doesn’t like a lot of spice, but he loved the harissa. This was our first-time having falafel nd we loved it.
Happy Friday!! Love hearing that you enjoy this recipe, I so appreciate you giving it a try! xxT
I’ve never had or made falafel, but this was a nice change of pace! I used a large carrot and some broccoli as my veggies and it all turned out delicious. Highly recommend the harissa and the green tahini, and I found havarti dill cheese, which paired perfectly.
Fantastic!! I am so glad that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try. Have the best week! xTieghan
I usually don’t try new recipes for falafel, I have one I use all the time and love, but this one looked delicious and it didn’t disappoint. I used carrots and peas for the veggies. I will definitively be making this again
I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it. Happy Sunday! ☀️Tieghan
What could I use instead of the harissa sauce? I can’t fid it anywhere!
I would recommend ordering from Amazon, the harissa is really a key flavor here:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan
These came out so good. Not dry at all and full of flavor. Everyone loved them. Super easy and quick to throw together. I didn’t make the tahini sauce with them but I did make your green harissa recipe with these and that was spot on too. I’ll be making these weekly from here on out. Thanks for such a great recipe!
Thank you so much for making the recipe, I am thrilled it was enjoyed! Have a great weekend:) xTieghan
This recipe took a little more playing around with than I expected. The tahini sauce needed more salt and lemon juice to get it where it needed to be, it just tasted like bland peanut butter. My Vitamix did not work with the vegetables even after adding olive oil and water, so I ended up transferring to a bowl and using a handheld immersion blender and that worked great. I used seasoned breadcrumbs instead of flour. I only had harissa paste, not harissa sauce, so I tried to create my own by “watering” down the paste with ketchup and some other sauces I had. I couldn’t seem to find any recipes online on how to do that so I’d love any suggestions on that. Thanks for the inspiration with this one.
So sorry you had issues with the recipe. I would highly recommend using a food processor for this recipe, a Vitamix is good when you want to make a liquid. Let me know if I can help in any other way! xTieghan
100% perfection from the sauce, to the falafels, to the naan. Thank you.. this is one amazing meal packed with healthy stuff! These falafels are better than any restaurant bought ones!
I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! xTieghan