Falafel (fəˈla fəl] is a fritter made of ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both, usually shaped like a ball or patty, and deep-fried. It is a traditional Middle Eastern food commonly served in a pita (a yeast-leavened round flatbread that sometimes has a pocket in which the falafel is encased), or the falafel balls are laid over a bed of green leafy vegetables and drizzled with tahini sauce.
Falafel balls are often eaten alone as a snack, or when served in a pita or flatbread — or on top of a salad – make a light meal. Falafels are also sometimes served among an assortment of appetizers.
As part of Underground Health Reporter’s Meatless Monday issue, I’m featuring the best recipe for homemade, golden brown, crispy falafel patties that are not only delicious, but also healthier because they’re baked, not fried. And they’re also vegan and gluten-free, and could easily become your go-to comfort meal that’s as healthy as it is tasty.
Crispy Baked Falafel Patties (Baked, Not Fried)
Recipe yields 12 to 13 falafel patties.
Criispy Baked Falefel Balls¼ cup and 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dried (uncooked/raw) chickpeas, rinsed, and soaked for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator
½ cup red onion, roughly chopped
½ cup packed fresh parsley leave
½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
4 cloves garlic, quartered
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into a large baking sheet and spread oil until the pan is evenly coated.
In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, garlic, onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Shape the falafel into small patties, about 2 inches wide and ½ inch thick. Place each falafel on your oiled pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, carefully flipping the falafels halfway through baking, until the falafels are golden brown on both sides.
Place the falafels in a pita or a bed of greens, and drizzle with tahini dressing (store-bought or homemade – see recipe below).
TAHINI DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
¼ cup tahini
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon white miso
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch of cayenne
1/3 cup water
In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and blend well. You can also whisk the ingredients together by hand in a small bowl, just note that you’ll need to chop the fresh herbs and zest more finely than you would if you were using a food processor.