easy (baked) falafel
I love falafel. It is a street food that I cannot get enough of. However, it is usually fried, and I wanted to make a healthier version at home! By drizzling olive oil on top of each ball, and then baking them, it gives the flavor of a fried falafel with none of the grease. This recipe is one of my favorites because of its versatility. Because the mixture is pureed in a food processor before it is baked, I find that this is a great vehicle for veggies that your family wouldn't normally touch. Tonight I snuck in a half of cup of arugula without anyone batting an eye. If you are worried that your picky eater won't touch anything that has green specks, leave all the greenery out, and I would opt for dried herbs instead of fresh (1 teaspoon parsley dried)
I have given the base recipe here, and have added cumin and paprika for a Middle Eastern flavor, but you can easily swap out spices and create a whole new dish!
My 3 year old daughter calls this falafel "spicy meatballs". And she's right...this recipe does have a little kick to it! If your family doesn't particularly love spicy food, I would suggest leaving out the crushed red pepper flakes. Tonight I served our falafel over a bed of greens and purple cabbage and topped with a green goddess dressing that I whipped up, but for a more traditional take, serve them in a pita with some chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and plain greek yogurt.
Or if you have a toddler, just serve with some ketchup ;)
1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (or one 15 oz can as is), drained
1/2 of a yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup fresh parsley (leaves and stems)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tablespoons flour of choice (I use spelt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
drizzle of good olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°
Add chickpeas, onion, garlic, arugula, parsley, cumin, paprika, salt, and red pepper flakes to a food processor. Blend for 2 minutes, stopping halfway to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Scoop mixture into a separate bowl, and stir in baking powder and flour. Let mixture set for 10 minutes in the fridge.
Once chilled, roll mixture into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet with a silpat (or if you do not have one, a greased baking pan). If the mixture is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a sprinkle at a time until you can roll the balls easily. If you add too much flour, the falafel will become dry!
Drizzle each ball with just a touch of olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a nice golden color has been reached. Serve with your choice of toppings, or as is!