Lunchbox – chipotle butterbean falafels

I’ve developed a small [MAJOR] obsession with chipotle sauce and I can’t stop using it. It’s in my mayo. It’s in my yoghurt. It’s on my eggs.

And now, it’s in my FALAFEL.

Chipotle butterbean falafel-2
Said falafels.

Life with chipotle sauce is so extremely delicious. Thanks to a little bottle of KANKUN (that’s the brand I use, simply because the packaging looks cool and they have a ‘family story’ section on their website which warms my heart), everything just tastes better. I can get those spicy, smoky, delicious Mexican flavours in whatever meal I like, plus it’s upped my spice threshold which is yet another adulting win.

Spice-haters, use in small quantities for flavour. Heat-chasers, glug away. Although seriously be careful, a bottle would blow your head off.

Oh and b-t-dubs this isn’t sponsored. You can use whatever brand you like, lots of which are readily available in supermarkets – some even do own-brand now. Three cheers for the foodie movement!

So that’s chipotle. Buy it, eat it, love it. 

Now for the falafel. A.K.A beany balls of joy. A.K.A the perfect lunchtime treat. A.K.A yum.

Chipotle butterbean falafel-6
Beany balls of joy

Falafel is another one of my favourite things. I mean if it’s food, chances are it’s on the list, but falafel is up there for a few reasons.

Number 1 – because my mum pronounces it wrong and every time I eat it or make it I imagine her saying it. It’s funny.

Number 2 – you don’t need much to make it. As long as you’ve got beans and a little flavour you’re pretty much there.

Number 3 – it’s the ultimate dress-up, dress-down snack.

To prove my point, I’ve done some extensive research to discover the ways in which chipotle butterbean falafel can be enjoyed. Here are my findings:

  • For lunch, served in adorable little lettuce boats with avocado and tomatoes and tahini dressing drizzled on top.
  • For lunch again, squished into a pitta bread with some hummus and greens.
  • For lunch once more, as part of a mini mezze with more hummus, some olives, some feta and all the other mezze deliciousness.
  • For dinner, served on top of a humungous flatbread with all the above (plus extra chipotle).
  • At a swanky and sophisticated grown up dinner party, with friends and food and something bubbly in a posh glass.
  • As a ‘from-the-fridge’ snack when it’s half way between lunch and dinner and you’re hungry.
  • As a ‘from-the-fridge’ snack when you’re not even hungry but just looking for a distraction from whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing.
  • As a ‘from-the-fridge’ snack whenever.

See, dress-up, dress-down like I said.

Chipotle butterbean falafel-9
This is it all dressed up.

And now for some spoonful of happy advice:

Schedule in just a teeny bit of time on the weekend to make a bit batch of these. Because, hands up, they take slightly longer than the other lunchbox recipes and are best made when you have a bit more time.

Then when you’ve mastered the recipe and can go tin to plate in 20 minutes flat you can whip up a batch on a weekday evening and be a total lunchbox ninja.

But until then, Sunday meal prep is the way to go.

To the recipe!

Chipotle butterbean falafel-2


  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chipotle sauce (or other chilli sauce/powder) depending on spice preference
  • 1 tin butter beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 1 heaped tbsp tahini (or other nut/seed butter)
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Handful fresh parsley or coriander (optional)
  • 50g hazelnuts
  • Pinch of salt
  • Olive oil

*You could also use another white bean such as cannellini, or keep it traditional with chickpeas.


Make it lunchable

Serve with a Greek salad | Serve in a pitta bread with hummus and salad | Serve with flatbread and slaw


Make it saucy

Tahini dressing | Herby dressing | Chipotle yoghurt (simply stir chipotle sauce into natural yoghurt)



  1. Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan. Add the onions and cook for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. Add the garlic, paprika and cumin and cook for a few minutes more. Stir in the chipotle sauce, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. If using, blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until it reaches breadcrumb consistency. Be careful not to overdo it as it will turn into nut butter. Remove and set aside on a plate.
  4. Add the butter beans, lemon juice, tahini, salt and fresh herbs (if using) to the food processor and blitz until the mixture starts to come together.
  5. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture at a time and roll into a ball using the palm of your hands. Roll to coat in the blitzed hazelnuts and place on a baking tray. Continue this process for the rest of the mixture.
  6. Drizzle some olive oil over the falafel and gently shake the tray to roll them in the oil. Pop the baking tray in the oven and cook for 12-18 minutes, depending on the size of the falafel, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Pop in a container in the fridge and snack/lunch happy all week long.

Samantha x

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