• Dairy Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Roasted Plum BBQ Falafel Bowls

    I really hope you’re not getting tired of bowl-style food you guys because I just love it.

    So I guess most people’s first thoughts at the sight of some crates full of plums wouldn’t be barbecue sauce, but you know, I’m weird like that. Yes, that’s the idea that came to me when some of our close friends shared some of the abundance from the plum trees around their home.

    I thought I’d just see how many were left after spending a good part of one rainy afternoon washing, cutting, and freezing tons ofΒ them. It just wasn’t enough though, there were still plenty more to work with so a vat of sauce was inevitable, and when you give a food blogger a vat of bbq sauce they’re going to need something to go with it. With that I decided I wanted to make falafel and after that I mused over what side options I had on hand. We’ve been very busy lately so the usual amount of ingredients in the fridge and pantry were pretty low. But that’s a good thing because it sparks the need for some creativity which always makes the best food.

    I somehow ended up with a very kind of Korean feeling bowl with rice as the base and I topped it with both some fresh and some roasted veggies (and in the case of these plums, fruits). It’s really a simple meal but I think that really helps highlight the flavors in the yummy sauce.

    Alright, so the sauce may seem like a hassle but it’s really pretty simple. However, if you are wanting to just make the bowls for the sake of the falafel and rice then feel free to use store-bought bbq sauce.

    Roasted Plum BBQ Chicken Meatball Bowls

    An unexpected ingredient makes this bbq sauce unique and delicious. It's the perfect complement to this falafel served in a bowl over steamed rice with some colorful veggies!
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Soaking Time 12 hours
    Total Time 1 hour


    Roasted Plum Bbq Sauce:

    • 3 cups halved plums pits removed
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
    • 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic minced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed, minced
    • 1 cup water plus more if needed
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon molasses
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons worchestershire make sure it's vegan or skip
    • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
    • 2 tablespoons brown mustard
    • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
    • 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


    • 1 cup dried chickpeas
    • 1/2 large onion roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 4-6 tablespoons flour


    • 4 - 6 cups steamed white rice
    • 3 large carrots cut into wedges
    • 1 large cucumber sliced
    • 1 cup napa cabbage chopped


    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C) and line 2 baking pans with foil. Spread the plums out on one of the pans and the carrots on the other pan and brush them with oil. Bake for about 30 minutes until the plums are very wrinkled and dark-looking and the carrots are browning on the edges. Remove and cool for about 5 minutes. (Note: please be careful with the juices when pulling the plum pan out, it could spill on you and it's hot--ask me how I know this [hehe, oops].
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium sauce pan and combine onions, garlic, and about half of the roasted plums over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until onions are browned, smashing the plums as you stir. Pour in 1 cup water to deglaze the pan and then add all other ingredients and simmer over low heat until thickened. You can add extra water if sauce gets too thick. You should have about 3 cups.
    3. Cool and pour any extra into sealable container and store in refrigerator. It should last for at least 3 weeks but I've kept it way longer before. You can also freeze.


    1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
    2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
    3. Sprinkle baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour then pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Scrape dough into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours. Once chilled, form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of golf balls.

    Fry Method:

    1. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ΒΊF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry around 6 balls at once for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

    Bake Method:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400Β°F and grease a baking sheet with oil. Arrange the falafel on the greased baking sheet and brush the top of the falafel with a slight amount of oil. Bake the falafel for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and crispy on the outside.


    1. Fill 4 to 6 bowls with desired amount of warm steamed rice. Top with meatballs and garnish the bowls with cucumbers, cabbage, and roasted carrots, and roasted plums.