“If I eat another piece of chicken or turkey I am going to start clucking.” This is what I said to my husband the other day, which was the impetus for making some changes in my meals and snacks. I have tasted some fabulous falafel balls in my time, but they were all breaded and/or deep fried. I found this recipe for baked falafel which was wonderful, and I even tried it in a pan, which also worked great. The taste is fantastic, but they are very delicate and don’t stay together like a burger. Still scrumptious, though!
2 15 oz cans chickpeas; drained
½ large red onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ cup loosely packed parsley
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TSP cumin
2 TSP coriander
½ TSP salt
1 TSP baking powder
4 TBSP almond flour (optional for binding)
DIRECTIONS for OVEN BAKED:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil.
Combine chickpeas, onion, garlic, parsley, and cilantro to the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle the olive oil, lemon juice, and spices over top.
Pulse the food processor 10 or 12 times, until the chickpeas are chopped and all the ingredients are mixed. Taste and add more herbs, spices, olive oil, or lemon juice, if you like.
Sprinkle the baking powder and flour, if using, over the mixture.
Continue to mix the chickpeas in pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture forms a ball when you squeeze it in your hand. You can completely puree the mixture if you like, but I prefer to leave it fairly chunky.
The falafel mixture can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to five days. Refrigerating also helps the mixture firm up and be less crumbly when baked.
Using your hands, scoop up some of the mixture and form it into a ball in your hand.
Transfer the falafel balls to the baking sheet and gently press into patties roughly ½-inch thick. Pressing the patties increases the surface contact with the baking sheet and makes the baked falafels crispier. If the patties break a little as you press them, just pat them back into shape.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the falafel partway through: The falafel are fairly delicate (especially if you skipped the flour), so be gentle when flipping them. If one does fall apart, just press it back together with the back of your spatula. When finished cooking, the falafel should be golden brown on both sides and feel dry to the touch, but still give a little when you press the middle.
Eat warm or room temperature on a salad, in a wrap or alone as a snack. Top with tzatziki (http://loryngalardi.com/tzatziki-dip-and-sauce/) to complement the flavors of the falafel! Reheat cooked falafel for 30 seconds in the microwave before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
DIRECTIONS for SKILLET BAKED:
Warm a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, add a little olive oil, and cook the falafel about five to six minutes on each side, until golden.
Using Dry Chickpeas: Soak 1¾ cups of dry chickpeas in a bowl of water overnight. They should double in size to give you about 3½ cups of chickpeas. When ready, you should be able to break apart a chickpea with your fingers.