There’s a fairly new all-vegan falafel joint in my town, and we checked it out a few months ago because, really, how could we not. The food was tasty but extremely heavy. I had a falafel bowl, which involved about a cup and a half of creamy hummus, topped with a small amount of pickled vegetables (called “salad” by the chef), topped with several fried falafel balls, topped with tons of tahini sauce, topped with french fries (?). The falafel were very good, but I felt that food in my stomach for hours afterwards, which is not what I want from my lunch, ever.
The hankering for another serving of fried chickpea has been hitting me hard recently, and seeing the pre-made frozen falafel balls at Trader Joe’s the past two weeks have only added fuel to the fire. However, I figured I could do better than frozen falafel or even the boxed mixes I have tried in the past. Making the mysterious and magical falafel from scratch has intimidated me…but I was also intimidated by using a pressure cooker, and I slayed that beast without blowing my house up. So far. Compared to that, making falafel should be relatively safe.
I decided to bake them, rather than go the traditional frying route, mainly because this morning’s coffee cake breakfast had already provided me with my weekly dose of canola oil calories. Besides, I have a convection oven which helps give baked goods a like-fried crunch. I also added fresh mint to the mix, most of which only asked for parsley and cilantro, because why the hell not.
For the sauce, I wanted something a bit different form the standard tahini sauce, so I added a little miso to sweeten it up a bit. Miso is a wonder ingredient that, in addition to being a tasty probiotic and a source of vitamin B12, it is rumored to counter the effects of radiation. Yes, I know there is little fallout risk in New Jersey at the moment, but it’s a cool little bit of trivia about one of my favorite ingredients.
Since I had already had plenty of wheat with my breakfast coffee cake, I skipped the traditional pita and served the falafel and tahini sauce over a salad prepared by Thing 1 of mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, and grape tomatoes. I learned last night that I am not mature enough to watch my daughter use a real knife, by the way. A glass of 3 Blind Moose cabernet rounded out the meal and calmed my rattled nerves.
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs or so fresh parsely
- 2 tbs or so fresh cilantro
- a few fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (I prepare my by cooking dried beans in the pressure cooker, but you can also use about 1 15 ounce can drained and rinsed beans)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp corriander
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbs whole wheat flour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 375 degree–I find a convection oven gets things nice and crispy, if you have access to one. Spray a baking sheet lightly with oil.
- Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse until well chopped, but not pureed. Add fresh herbs and pulse again to chop.
- Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Taste to adjust salt and pepper.
- Roll mixture into balls that are 1-1/2″ in diameter, place on baking sheet, and flatten slightly. You should wind up with about 20 patties.
- Spray top sides lightly with oil.
- Place in oven and bake, turning gently once when they get brown on the bottom, about half way through cooking. As far as how long to cook them–you’re on your own there. My cooking style is to stay close and keep an eye on things. I think they took about 20 minutes total, but don’t quite me on that. Besides, your time will vary greatly depending on your oven.
makes a whole lot, so you’ll have extra.
- 1-1/2 tbs or so olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbs miso
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 tbs or so red wine vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup water
- sea salt to taste
- Put the olive oil and garlic in a high speed blender and run the soup cycle (alternatively, heat oil and garlic in a pan just until warmed and the aroma of garlic is detectable. You want to heat it, but not fry it)
- Add other ingredients except water and pulse until smooth. Add water and pulse to combine, then check seasoning to adjust salt levels.
- Serve at room temperature.