I had no idea that falafel balls were made with such healthy ingredients. Most falafel recipes start with chickpeas, garlic, onion, fresh cilantro and parsley. The deep fryer is what transforms these ingredients into delicious, crunchy, not-so-healthy fritters. So, I decided to experiment with baking rather than frying the batter. This recipe is adapted from a homemade falafel recipe from Mark Bittman’s Bitten Blog. Note: If you are looking for an authentic, deep-fried falafel experience, I recommend going to your favorite falafel joint or investing in a deep fryer.
Makes about 12 falafel patties
1 cup dried chickpeas (original recipe called for 1 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (original recipe called for 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed)
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro leaves
a sprinkling of cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of half a lemon
1 egg (added)
about 1 cup chickpea flour (added)
a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds (added)
a sprinkling of dried thyme (added)
a sprinkling of chopped walnuts (added)
olive oil cooking spray
1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.
2. Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with water by 3 or 4 inches; they will triple in volume. Soak for 24 hours, adding water if needed to keep beans submerged.
3. Drain beans well and transfer to a food processor. Add garlic, onion, cumin, coriander, cilantro, salt, pepper, cayenne, chickpea flour, the egg, and lemon juice.
4. Pulse until minced but not pureed, scraping sides of bowl down. Keep pulsing until mixture comes together. Taste, adding salt, pepper, cayenne or lemon juice to taste.
5. Make the mixture into falafel balls or patties and put them on an oiled tray. Sprinkle sesame seeds, thyme and chopped nuts on top and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the patties are golden brown on both sides.
6. Serve warm in a toasted pita, with tahini sauce and/or hummus, and a simple Israeli salad made with chopped tomato, chopped cucumber and chopped onion, a sprinkling of cilantro, simply dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (pictured below).