Stuffing "Falafel" Pitas with Tahini Gravy


Leftover stuffing and mashed potatoes get a new lease on life in these crispy, sesame-studded, falafel-like patties from Chef Zoë Kanan. “I was inspired by the overstuffed, colorful, and briny pitas of Tel Aviv,” Kanan says of this next-level Thanksgiving sandwich. “The key here is introducing crunch to the sandwich. Use my recipe as a guide, and riff by including whatever textural ingredients you have around, like fried onions, sunflower seeds, or even wasabi peas.” She tucks the patties into pitas with crunchy pickled onions and drizzle of tahini-bolstered gravy for the ultimate Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Tahini brands can vary in thickness; thin with a splash of warm water or broth, if needed.

Stuffing Falafel Pitas with Tahini Gravy
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen
Total Time:
35 mins
6 to 8


  • 2 cups leftover stuffing, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

  • 3 tablespoons grated yellow onion

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, divided

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup leftover turkey gravy

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 6 to 8 (6-inch) pita rounds, toasted and halved

  • Leftover cranberry sauce, pickled onions, and hot sauce, for serving

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


  1. Stir together stuffing, mashed potatoes, cilantro, onion, flour, egg, lemon zest, cumin, and coriander in a large bowl until combined. Shape stuffing mixture into about 28 balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl. Roll each ball in sesame seeds; gently flatten into patties.

  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, add patties to skillet; cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

  3. Heat gravy in a small saucepan over medium; whisk in tahini until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in salt and lemon juice.

  4. Stuff each pita half with 2 patties. Add a generous drizzle of tahini gravy, and top with cranberry sauce, pickled onions, and hot sauce. Garnish with parsley and cilantro.

Suggested Pairing

Spicy Mediterranean red.

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