Hoagies get to know their vegetarian side in these baked falafel sandwiches with harissa-tomato sauce and tzatziki.
baked falafel hoagies with harissa tomato sauce and tzatziki

So apparently there’s this thing called “winter shape”.

I do not approve.


What happened to the days when winter was the time to be lazy, eat all the cookies, get pleasantly plump, and finally fill out those sweaters your third aunt once removed got you for Christmas two years ago?

What will we have to strive for come April if our bodies are already totally beach perfect?!?

How will the gyms capitalize on our muffin tops come January 1st with all sorts of sales and deals and incentive what nots if there are no muffin tops to speak of?!?

So many questions and almost no answers.


I was informed of this paradox by one of the instructors at my gym who dared to ask the class what our “winter shape goals were”.

My response was something along the lines of “still fit in my clothes come spring”.

Somehow I don’t think that’s quite the level of enthusiasm he was going for.

Everyone else was in the class was super gung ho and spewing forth answers like “Do 2700 sit ups every day!”, “Give up gluten!” and “Limit my non-raw food intake to once a week!”


Veto, veto and WHO ARE YOU.


If it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep my gluten, my pasteurized milk, and any and all food that is heated above 100F.

And I’ll really really enjoy it.

Starting with these hoagies.


Now that football-watching season is here, the.boy attempts to eat all sorts of shenanigans. Some days I let it slide, while others I barricade the kitchen. (It’s a crap shoot.)

And 99.9% of the time, I’m all like HEY! Why does that guy get all the fun?

Subs and hoagies are usually chock full of meat, and even if thereΒ is a vegetarian option, it’s a snoozefest.

But not anymore.

These baked falafel hoagies take sandwiches to a whole new level of crazy awesome. Not only are the falafel themselves moist and totally full of protein, fiber and great Middle Eastern flavor, but they are smothered in a spicy harissa-tomato sauce and a refreshing lemon dill tzatziki.

It’s kind of the perfect bite. I advise you to go for it.

Baked Falafel Hoagies with Harissa Tomato Sauce and Tzatziki
Hoagies get to know their vegetarian side in these baked falafel sandwiches with harissa-tomato sauce and tzatziki.
Yield: 4 servings
For the falafel
  • 1 cup packed kale
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • pinch of black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
For the harissa tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz canned diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tsp sugar
For the tzatziki
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups diced cucumber
  • ½ cup fresh dill, diced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 hoagie rolls
  1. For the falafel, heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt until smooth. Add the chickpeas, garlic, shallots, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Pulse until mixture is combined but not pureed.
  3. Scoop the mixture into 2-3 tbsp sized balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until starting to brown. Let cool while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  4. For the tomato sauce, in a large pot over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Stir in the garlic and let simmer for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the diced tomato, harissa, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  5. For the tzatziki, in a large bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, garlic cloves, salt and black pepper. Season to taste.
  6. To make the sandwiches, halve 4 hoagie or sub rolls. Fill with the falafel and then top with the tomato sauce and tzatziki.
Falafel adapted from My Name is Yeh, tomato sauce adapted from BBC, tzatziki adapted from The Lemon Bowl
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 sandwich

For more sandwich ideas, check out these:

gingered pea tea sandwiches with ricotta

Gingered Pea Tea Sandwiches with Ricotta

roasted zucchini, garlic and basil hummus sandwiches

Roasted Zucchini, Garlic and Basil Hummus Sandwiches

apple, leek and gruyere grilled cheese

Apple, Leek and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

From Around the Web:

Lasagna Grilled Toast Sandwiches from Diethood

Chipotle Peach BBQ Farro Sandwiches from Oh My Veggies

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Broccoli, Sauteed Red Onions, and Red Pepper Flakes from Blogging Over Thyme

Gruyere, Fig Jam and Arugula Breakfast Sandwiches from How Sweet Eats

Apple Sandwiches with Almond Butter and Granola from Garnish With Lemon


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66 Responses to Baked Falafel Hoagies with Harissa Tomato Sauce and Tzatziki

  1. Ala says:

    My gymless existence response: round is a shape, right? I’d join you in Camp Carb anyday. Because vegetarian baked hoagies? Um yes please.

  2. I don’t think anyone would feel like they’re missing out with these hoagies – love the homemade falafel recipe!

  3. WINTER shape???? Um, do the curves of the noodles in my mac and cheese count?

  4. Baby June says:

    OMG that looks amazing! I love love love falafel, but I’ve never tried making it (for some reason…)–this will convince me, I am sure. Wish I had one of these for lunch today. πŸ™‚

  5. Oh my, I want one of these hoagies right now! I don’t care if it’s 7:15 AM πŸ™‚

  6. bellini says:

    No we’re talking Joanne!!!!!

  7. Winter shape sounds like a nightmare! Eff that…I’m going to be eating all the winter-shapers cooking while they’re at the gym! Annnnnnd this hoagie. It’s simply genius!

  8. Hahahha! My winter goals sound veryyy similar to yours—I’m thinking I like this plan. πŸ˜€ As long as I have something as amazing as these hoagies on hand regularly I think I’ll be good. πŸ˜‰

  9. oh my gawd. . I love reading your posts, Joanne. You are hilarious! Winter shape goals?! WTF? I totally agree. . the gyms need the uptick in memberships in January when everyone is scrambling to lose weight and start their new years resolutions. . πŸ˜› love this hoagie and must try the harissa tomato sauce, like now! love this!

  10. Kelly says:

    Winter shape?? Lol, too funny – I didn’t think it mattered since most likely I’d be buried underneath a big puffy parka and hopefully munching on one of these hoagies. Love the sound of that harissa tomato sauce πŸ™‚

  11. LOL I heart you and these hoagies. Yeah, if I don’t GAIN an excessive amount of weight over the winter it’s usually a win.

  12. I love falafel, I need to make it more often! I’m saving this recipe – my fiance would love these flavors!

  13. Those homemade falafel look aaaaaaaaaawsome!

  14. Ugh, winter shape is no fun. But sadly, I probably need to get on board with that (damn wedding). These hoagies look amazing Joanne! (PS. I love me some Mina).

    Thanks for the grilled cheese love too! πŸ™‚

  15. Trisha says:

    Kale in falafel? I love it! I need this sandwich in my life.

  16. Mary Frances says:

    I want to do a class with you girl, those are my kind of goals. Seriously, what happened to Thanksgiving and Christmas to end the year well? Some people just can’t enjoy food anymore …
    I think it is because they haven’t seen recipes like this. Holy cow Joanne, this sounds incredible!

  17. This is genius! I’m middle eastern and have never thought of making felafel this way! looks delicious.

  18. Lori R. says:

    “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll keep my gluten, my pasteurized milk, and any and all food that is heated above 100F.” <– That line. Why I love ya and this blog! Covering up with sweaters and overloading pumpkin desserts are yearly right of passage! This sandwich is a dream come true. Yum!

  19. elly says:

    Anything and everything with tzatziki is amazing. That’s just a fact.

  20. Heather says:

    Winter shape? What fun are the holidays and winter in general if you can’t gain a few pounds because of all the delicious food?!

  21. Susan says:

    I don’t know what type of crazy gym you go to but I’d leave stat. Winter shape, feh. If my pants fit i’m good. That’s what sweaters are for. Also this is genius, pitas always fall apart anyway. Long live falafel in a hoagie!

  22. sandra says:

    who are they indeed – winter shape is for the birds

  23. Ugh. Totally agree with you. I’m excited to start working on my sweater body, thankyouverymuch. And this? This definitely fits in my new sweater-body lifestyle. LOVE.

  24. I could dive into a pool of that spicy harissa-tomato sauce sprinkled with that lemon dill tzatziki and drink my way out of it! That sounds amazing – with just the plain falafel! If there are leftovers of this – please barricade the.boy out till I get there and finish them off! πŸ™‚

  25. Baked felafel is kind of my thing so I’m jumping on your Christmas train! I think the rule is hibernate and get plump and fat for Christmas, eh?

  26. I love falafel. I can’t eat that many carbs in a sitting (so no falafel hoagie for me), but the falafel and tzatziki? I’m in.

  27. Hooray for a vegetarian hoagie! Love these flavors and the thought of them packed into a sandwich.

  28. Pam says:

    My winter shape? Big warm sweaters! πŸ˜‰

    The hoagies look tasty!

  29. I have never had a falafel, how crazy is that?! I love the sauce, such a clever flavor combo!

  30. Your falafel has kale in it?! Also, any chance you’d come serve as MY kitchen barricade for the remaining football season? My football-food-resistance-muscles are WEAK!

  31. cheri says:

    Hi Joanne, oh I am making these tonight for dinner, I even have almost every single ingredient, love this!

  32. Your instructor was talking about winter shape already?? We still haven’t celebrated Halloween and Thanksgiving yet! I’ll take the gluten, and one of these hoagies, please!

  33. Who are these people at your gym?!?!?!?! Mutants is the only answer I can think of…..
    Also I have never heard of hoagies but their overloaded-french-baguette look is very appealing to me.

  34. This is totally my kind of sandwich. Yum.

  35. Kate says:

    I’m pretty sure winter shape is “round” – just look at snowmen.

  36. Eileen says:

    Oh man, why have I never had a huge falafel meatball sandwich like this before? I even have harissa just waiting in the cabinet. Yay!

  37. alyssa says:

    When I first saw you post this picture on IG, I immediately was like, “What is that?”. These look so amazing and that bread – that is so East Coast. I will kill for some good bread like that!

  38. Omgeeeee this sounds AWESOME!!! Like manly vegetarian food! LOL!

  39. I just love all the flavors you melded here, Jo!

  40. β€œstill fit in my clothes come spring” <<< yes, that. It's about the only goal I stand a chance of achieving. And even that is a stretch. (No pun intended.) (Well, maybe a little pun intended.) So, this sandwich? Damn. Looks SO good. I am so hungry. I miss real food.

  41. Oh my goodness, I think I’m going to be using that tomato sauce on everything!! I don’t even want to think about staying in shape over the winter!

  42. Megan says:

    That is one amazing-looking sandwich. I have never heard of “winter shape,” but I’m going somewhere warm for the holidays, so I guess I need to get in it!

  43. June says:

    Now I know why this is the only blog I read ALL the time. I gave up that “winter shape” about forty years ago – too much (but not really) milk, cheese, good food. Thank you for saying what so many of us believe and saying it with wonderful humor. And thanks for the fabulous recipes.

  44. Tash says:

    I would be scared to attempt this just in case it didn’t turn out as perfectly as yours!! Such an exotic sandwich, paired with the most beautiful set of photos! Looks amazing.

  45. My winter shape is formed by all of the macaroni and cheese that I consume. In Chicago, no one really sees your shape under the down coats and boots we all wear for 6 months out of the year. πŸ™‚

    Also, my inner Philadelphian loves that you call them hoagies too!

  46. Kate says:

    I’m with you, Joanne! Giving up cooked food six days out of the week? Noooo way. This hoagie looks beyond delicious!

  47. Wow – this sounds incredible. So many delicious things going on. I love me some harissa!!

  48. Rivki Locker says:

    Falafel with KALE? That sounds AMAZING! Much better than eating raw foods and spending your whole winter doing sit-ups.

  49. Our Whole Foods on the cape has the best salad bar, and I’m always getting the falafel smothered in tzatziki, but now you’ve given me other condiments to slather on top. LOL
    This is the bomb dot com (yeah I said that) hoagie!

  50. Sarah says:

    This looks amazing! First time I’ve seen a vegetarian hoagie and I wish I had some for dinner tonight πŸ™‚ Also winter shape <– haven't heard of it… πŸ™‚ I think of winter as a time many mammals put on weight and hibernate. As mammals ourselves it is our duty to do the same instead of giving up this / that / those foods. Also can you imagine the holidays without great food? I don't wanna!

  51. I actually JUST went to work out today. This was the first time in probably 2 months. But I am definitely on board with you when it comes to goals about winter shape (I also don’t approve)
    Now for another sad part about my life. I have never had hoagies before! And you show up with an amazing vegetarian version? That’s it, I need to try them soon

  52. Good heavens, this sandwich. I’ll be dreaming about it night and day until I can get it into mah belly.

  53. I love these hoagies. I would love to improve my winter shape. I hate muffins tops.

  54. These hoagies are everything!! I love all the flavors!

  55. Joyti says:

    Hey, your goal was probably a lot more realistic, and I bet your 100x more likely to attain it too πŸ™‚

    Also, these hoagies? They look incredible! Definitely my kinda sandwich

  56. Your gym sounds like a scary place. I’d need two of these to recover.

  57. Yes a million times to these hoagies!! One will NOT be enough!! The sauce, the filling, everything looks sooo good!

  58. Christina says:

    Non raw foods to once a week?! Um no. I’m with you, still fitting into my clothes come spring. And all of these Hoagies please! As soon as my boxes are unpacked… yes please πŸ™‚

  59. Danguole says:

    “Veto, veto and WHO ARE YOU.” <—- exactly! My winter shape looks a lot like a pie. Or a bowl of chili.

  60. Kelsey says:

    Yes girl. Yes, yes, yes!

  61. Emma says:

    Lovely, lovely! This hoagie has all of the good stuff… and I’m with you on “Winter Shape”.

  62. Candace says:

    Wow…Joanne, that looks amazing. I could tear that up right now. Yum!

  63. I love falafels so much, so this hoagie is definitely the way to go πŸ˜€

    Choc Chip Uru

  64. Oh people are just silly. I’m all for still fitting in my clothing, I think it is a reasonable expectation and goal. I’m not giving up cheese or carbs haha. Great hoagies too! I haven’t made falafel in a long time. Looks like I need to work on that.

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