Baked falafel — Let’s do it safely this time
In 2006, Marc and I moved in together. Neither of us had developed culinary aptitude, but we liked to be adventurous — and at one point, Marc thought our teeny weeny Cambridge kitchen was the place to experiment with deep frying. Our stove was about 3/4 size (if not half size) and we had burners that tipped and teetered. It was not a good scene. I’ll save him the embarrassment of the full story, but let me just say that the stove fan wasn’t on and we had only FIVE tiny windows in our two bedroom apartment, and none in the kitchen. The deep frying went awry, and the entire apartment was full of greasy, icky, thick smoke. And I was pissed. Needless to say, we haven’t made an at-home falafel since.
Until today, that is. I found a recipe on Chow Vegan for baked falafel, a healthier, safer, and tasty alternative to the deep fried falafel that made me angry so many years ago. I have had a taste for falafels for a while, and since we have a stockpile of chickpeas in our basement, we thought it would be a good idea to attempt this recipe.
Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about cooking the falafel, but this recipe turned out FANTASTICALLY! It did take about an hour from start to finish, but it was quite easy. The bulk of the time was waiting for the little chickpea patties to bake in the oven. IT was well worth it, though, and we have enough falafel patties for a few more sandwiches.
(Makes about 21 “patties” or balls)
- 1 15.5 oz.-can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans to some)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas and put in a medium bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a potato masher. Add all the rest of the ingredients (except for paprika) and mix together. I used my hands, and smooshed the chickpeas together further. The smooshier the better — I’m sure you could give it a couple of pulses in the food processor, but mashing with a potato masher is MUCH easier to clean up.
2. Form mixture into SMALL balls (about 1 1/2″ in diameter) and flatten slightly. You should make 21 balls. Place on well oiled cookie sheet. Sprinkle one side with paprika, if you desire.
3. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.
4. Serve warm with your favorite falafel toppings.
Not sure what your favorite falafel toppings are? Most people enjoy a crispy falafel ball inside of pita, with hummus spread inside. Marc and I like to also include lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and tahini with our falafel, pita and hummus. Today, we had to improvise a little bit and used sliced cherry tomatoes and baby spinach in place of tomato slices and lettuce — we had to use up what we had! — but it still tasted great. I can’t wait to nosh on the falafel balls, even on their own. I’m so glad we have extras!