A Healthy Mezze Plate, Sunflower Falafel Balls and Tabouleh

veg 5

Today I’m sharing a “tray gourmet” platter perfect for a relaxing weekend get together or event. It’s simple to create a modern healthy mezze plate and one that has a variation of tastes and textures.

My Sunflower Seed Falafel Balls are a sensational nibble that can be paired with a variety of drooling dishes to craft a Middle Eastern inspired banquet along with a scrumptious Wheat Free Tabouleh.

Mezze originates in the Middle East and translates to ‘appetizers’. Over time Mezze’s have evolved to include tables overflowing with cosmopolitan spreads; Middle-Eastern, Greek, Italian and Nordic inspired morsels- four different yet favoured ways to enjoy Mezze plates.

At my recent Eat Clean Green and Vegetarian recipe book launch party, falafels were the flavour of the evening.  A popular nibble served drizzled or smothered (depending upon how you want to look at it!) in Tahini Dipping Sauce. Before the plates, piled high with mountains of balls could even skim the surface of the trestle tables, people were lunging forward for more.

To create a mouth-watering mix and match mezze, serve the sunflower seed falafels with Mini Lamb Koftas, perfect for the flextarians in the house and a generous bowl of Baba Ganoush and Hummus. Add in fresh olives and my delicious warm or chilled Slow Cooked Green Beans. Serve alongside a simple yet culinary colourful Wheat Free Tabouleh which belongs on every mezze plate.

You can also add extra dips if necessary depending upon the number of people you are accommodating. My Red Capsicum and Hazelnut or Basil Pesto have impeccable credentials and if you’re worried about making everything from scratch, all of these recipes can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for ease on the day.

Cracker-wise whip up some Lemony Herby Crackers and make extra as they will store in an air tight container for your next Middle Eastern immersion. Or try my Gluten Free Pitta Pockets which work well as a vehicle for flavour filled dips.

Sunflower Seed Falafel Balls with Tahini Dipping Sauce

Falafels have long been a middle eastern favourite and these are a great alternative to store bought deep fried falafel balls, processed in cheap cooking oils. The falafel consistency is attained by using half sunflower seeds and half cashews. The final result is a nutty consistency with zesty flavours and surprise crunches along the way.

Cashews and sunflowers seeds have a high satiety index- making you feel fuller for longer and more quickly. The double combo of nuts and seeds will help make your skin glow and leave your hair looking luscious thanks to the Vitamin E and Omega-3 fats. The tahini dressing also provides a great source of protein and calcium and is an easy to digest dipper.

Be generous with the lemon juice in both the falafel balls and the tahini dressing. The added lemon juice in the tahini dressing gives a zesty explosion of flavour in the mouth when consumed!

Sunflower Seed Falafel Balls with Tahini Dipping Sauce


Makes 4—5



  • 75 g (21/2 oz/1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 80 g (23/4 oz/1/2 cup) cashews
  • 1 tablespoon organic nut butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red capsicum (pepper)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 shallot, chopped
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt
  • 40 g (11/2 oz/1/4 cup) toasted sesame seeds, for coating
  • lettuce leaf, to serve

Tahini Dipping Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 6 drops stevia liquid
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of Celtic sea salt


  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • To make the tahini dipping sauce, place all the ingredients in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of filtered water and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Place all the falafel ingredients, except the sesame seeds and lettuce, in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended.
  • Use an ice-cream scoop to form round balls. Roll in the sesame seeds, transfer to the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Serve in a lettuce leaf and dress with the tahini dipping sauce.


Wheat-Free Tabouleh


Serves 6–8


  • 70 g (21/2 oz/1/3 cup) quinoa, rinsed
  • 80 g (23/4 oz/2½ cups) flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
  • 1 handful mint, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/ 1/3 cup) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber, diced
  • 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 3 spring onions (scallions), sliced
  • 6–8 iceberg lettuce cups, to serve


  • Cook the quinoa in a saucepan of simmering water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • In a bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, cucumber, tomatoes and spring onion.
  • Season well with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Add the quinoa and mix thoroughly. Divide among the lettuce cups and serve.

Happy Cooking 🙂


Lee xo

3 Responses to “A Healthy Mezze Plate, Sunflower Falafel Balls and Tabouleh”

  1. Heidi Freier says:

    I love this recipe Lee, can’t wait to cook it for my families dinner.

  2. Emma says:

    thanks for the yummy recipes, they are fantastic!! Real wholesome food full of flavour and no nasties and soooo easy to make. Thanks for the inspiration Lee!!! xx

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