Archive for May, 2009

Healthier Falafel

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Sorry I’ve been away so long. It’s been a crazy few months around here, but I’m back now and I have a delicious falafel recipe ready and waiting for you.

So, I’ve been making falafel at home for years – or rather attempting it. Until now, the texture had never been quite right and I couldn’t figure out how to make a satisfyingly crispy falafel without deep frying. Those days are over. Today, I managed baked falafel that was perfectly crispy, soft on the inside and bursting with flavor, and I knew that I had to share my newly discovered tricks with you.

The first trick is to use a food processor, not a blender. Blenders tend to require a lot of liquid in order to blend the falafel, and this can lead to falafel that lacks texture and falls apart when you try to shape it. A food processor, on the other hand, chops the dry ingredients finely with very little liquid, leaving you with nicely textured falafel that is easy to work with.

The second trick is heat. The falafel is baked at a moderate heat for 10 minutes, to make sure it’s cooked through. Then, the heat is turned up to make the outsides crispy and brown. Just make sure you watch the oven closely while you’re cooking or you may end up with charred falafel instead.

We like to eat falafel stuffed into a pita with some combination of lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber and maybe even hummus or tahini, just like the falafel that’s served by street vendors everywhere. It’s also great as a side dish, with a grain salad (like this or this) and a green vegetable, as pictured below. However you serve it, it’s a delicious meal rich in protein and fibre, and it makes great leftovers. Enjoy!

Healthier Falafel
Makes 24 small falafels

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (or a 19oz. can of chickpeas, drained)
½ cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. water
1½ tsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup flour (for a gluten free version, use chickpea flour)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, onion, garlic, turmeric, cumin, and parsley until the chickpeas are finely chopped, the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  3. Add the water, lemon juice and oil and pulse a few more seconds, until well mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and mix with flour, adding 1 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture sticks together.
  5. Form mixture into small balls, wetting your hands periodically to keep it from sticking to you. Press the balls  into patties and place on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes, and then turn the oven up to 450F. Bake 10 more minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

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May 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm 1 comment


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*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.