Oh, falafel. I could sing its praises for a long time. It is tasty, vegetarian and often times vegan, portable, and really easy to make! I fell in love with falafel when I lived in Israel, since it is the primary fast food in the Middle East – move over, McDonald’s. Falafel is traditionally deep fried and accompanied by hummus and tahina sauce. In Israel, it is served in a pita pocket, making it an easily transportable, quick lunch.
If you plan on frying the falafel (which is easily done on the stovetop with olive oil) it is better to use dry chickpeas and soak them for 2 hours, up to overnight. Canned chickpeas are too soft and tend to fall apart during the frying process. Since this recipe is baking the falafel, either canned or soaked chickpeas may be used.
I have tried several different falafel recipes, but I found one from a fellow foodie who spent some time in Israel, and I thought her recipe was so close to authentic! I made a few changes, and came up with this healthy version of the tasty falafel.
adapted from theshiksa.com
makes 12 falafel discs, serves 3-4
1C chickpeas, rinsed
1 small onion
1/2C spinach leaves
1/2C parsley leaves
3 garlic cloves
1T flour (I used spelt to keep these gluten free)
1/2t ground coriander
1 pinch of cayenne
1 pinch of ground cardamom
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2t baking powder (to help them rise with the lack of gluten)
For falafel sandwiches:
Spinach or lettuce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble all falafel ingredients in a food processor. Parsley:
Spinach & spices:
Roughly chopped onion:
Pulse until a course meal is formed. I personally don’t like my falafel to be the texture of baby food.
I used a cookie dough scooper -which to you might be a melon baller- to form the falafels on a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake 15 minutes on the other side. Due to the baking nature, the falafels will only be crispy on the sides that touch the pan. Though you could probably bake them and maintain a round shape, I chose to smash them and make them discs for ease.
Serve them hot with either hummus or tahina or both, or in a pita as a sandwich. I slathered my pita with hummus (see my recipe link above), stuffed it with falafel, spinach, tomato, and tahina sauce (recipe also above.) Or they’re delicious on their own, served with a traditional Israeli Salad. Yum!!
Here’s a picture that I took in Israel of a postcard. The recipe is pretty close!