Recipe - Baked Falafel
I’ve been in a real plant-based diet phase lately. It’s so satisfying to look down at my table and see a pallet of colour and texture. I rediscovered a meal recently that I used to make all the time, but got out of the habit.
I’m excited to have falafel back in my repertoire during these busy summer evenings. It’s so fresh and satisfying, and most of the prep time is spent chopping up the many fresh toppings. As I’ve said dozens of times to my patients and in blogs, proper nutrition is 80% planning and organization, and falafel is a great example of this principle. I soak and cook the chickpeas the previous day, so when I make this meal, I’ve got the beans ready in the fridge.
2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ cup or more minced fresh parsley
½ tsp salt
Mix everything coarsely in a large bowl until the chickpeas are evenly coated. At this point you have the option of either pulsing this in a food processor (as I usually do) or mashing them vigorously until they are uniformly mashed. The odd identifiable chickpea is ok, but for the most part, you want it to be well disguised.
Spoon falafel mix onto an oiled oven tray; use extra virgin olive oil for this. (I always use cast-iron. If you don’t have that, line a cookie sheet with parchment to avoid burning them). This step will be sticky and messy, and they won’t look like on instagram, so forgive yourself; they still taste really good. As long as they approximate a ball-shaped mass, you’re doing fine.
Coat these in Olive oil and bake them at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, flipping them over once halfway through. When they’re finished they should be golden brown.
While these are baking, take the opportunity to dice up everything in your fridge. Or at least many things. Here are some examples of what I use to fill out my falafel: shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomato, banana pepper rings, pickles, shredded carrot/beet, minced onion, houmous.
Load as much of these things as humanly possible onto a soft pita (or just pile it into a bowl) and break up a couple of falafel balls on top. Don’t be shy with the napkins, and only invite friends who won’t judge you for the sauce that inevitably ends up all over your hands. Oh! The sauce! I almost forgot.
Mix together ¼ cup each of tahini and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Add the liquid a bit at a time to make a uniform paste. Add water if needed to make the sauce the consistency that you like. Add ½ tsp of salt, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and shake it up, adjusting the salt to taste. This also makes an excellent salad dressing.
Good luck and bon appetite!