Baked Falafel

Baked FalafelYou’d be hard pressed to go far in Israel without coming across a place selling falafel. Made of a blitzed together combination of chickpeas, onions, garlic, and spices, and served either in a pita or on a platter with hummus and other traditional accompaniments, falafel usually comes deep-fried. Other than the deep fried aspect, the traditional falafel dish makes a wholesome and healthy meal. By baking the falafel rather than frying it, the healthy ingredients really shine, and the overall dish tastes brighter and fresher. Chickpeas, included in each component of this recipe, supply ample protein, fiber, iron, and phyto-chemicals that protect against cancer and disease. Tahini, a paste made of crushed sesame seeds, helps detoxify your liver, provides protein, magnesium, iron, and vitamins E and B, and supplies healthy fats that help your body absorb all the other benefits of this healthy meal. These healthy fats also make your hair, skin, and nails stronger and more beautiful. Enjoy!

Falafel Ingredients:

  • 5 cups cooked chick peas, drained (I used a canned variety)
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled (you can use roasted garlic if you’ve got the time)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, add the onions, garlic, and parsley, and pulse together until everything is finely minced.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, and pulse together slowly, being careful to not puree everything. You need some chunkier chickpeas to hold the falafel together. Fold everything together with a rubber spatula to make sure the mixture is well combined.
  4. Using your hands, shape the mixture into falafel, using the palms of your hand to press them into round or egg shaped balls.
  5. Space all the falafel evenly on a baking sheet, and drizzle each one generously with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, then broil for 1-3 minutes until the falafel turn golden brown and crispy.

To Serve:

Serve with the accompanying hummus (drizzled with olive oil if desired), tahini, pita, and whatever vegetables you like. Tomatoes, sprouts, lettuce, and pickles complement the falafel especially well. You can fill a halved pita with your chosen ingredients, or make a platter with everything.

Hummus Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled (more or less to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • Roughly 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to reach your desired consistency)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all your ingredients in a food processor, and blitz together until well combined. Add more olive oil if needed to get your desired texture.
  2. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon, salt, or pepper as needed.

Note: Enjoy your leftover hummus with vegetables to dip, on a sandwich in place of a mayo spread, or tossed with warm roasted vegetables for a quick and healthy side dish.

Tahini Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tahini sauce
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Roughly 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all your ingredients to a food processor, and blitz well to combine until smooth.
  2. Add more water to achieve your desired consistency. For falafel, a thinner tahini sauce is usually preferable. Season to taste with more lemon, salt, and pepper.

Note: Tahini makes a perfect dressing for salad, and goes well drizzled over fish or meat.

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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate of Hamilton College and The French Culinary Institute, as well as an avid world traveler and dinner party hostess. For more information, visit her website: www.elizabethpalmerkitchen.com

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