Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homemade Falafel

Have you fallen for falafel yet? Seems like a silly question, but I am half-serious.

To me, falafel is one of those anomalies- it is delicious, we all know it, but somehow it rarely shows up on the menu. And when it does, the crowd goes wild. Strange? I think so. Especially when you take into account how incredibly easy it is to make as well as it's undercover nutrient-prowess. 

So I propose a falafel revolution. Let's take it from the back alley of some dingy street into the spotlight- from the old-forgotten-cookbook to the absolute recipe staple.

We start with garlic. The young green sort, harvested from the fields this time of year. Add some onions, fresh herbs, and seasonings. Simple, right? This is an easy recipe to make ahead in bulk and freeze at any point, to finish off later, if strapped for time or hungry mouths.

Chickpeas, or garbanzos: your pick. A plump legume rich in insoluble fiber, protein, manganese, folate and iron, as well as flavenoids such as quercetin and phenolic acid.  Spelled out: Chickpeas are extremely rich in antioxidant power, capable of protecting the body against intruders as well as neutralizing internal abnormal cellular activity. Furthermore, with an ideal ratio of protein to fiber, these delicious beans promote blood sugar regulation as well as cardiovascular health. In other words: Eat Up.


Serves 8-10


1 cup dried chickpeas
4 cups stock/water
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion, in eighths
1 cup parsley 
1 cup cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2- 1 tsp sea salt
fresh pepper, to taste
cayenne, to taste


Set dried chickpeas to soak in hot water for 8-16 hours in stock/water in a large pot, with plenty of wiggle room.

Drain, rinse and set aside.

In a large food processor, mince garlic. Add onions, parsley and cilantro and pulse until minced. If possible, freshly grind cumin, coriander and peppercorn, and add to mixture. Add baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt and drained chickpeas. Process until smooth, adding water a tablespoon at a time if necessary. Taste, and add salt, cayenne and pepper to taste.

At this point, you can freeze "dough" to finish later. To prepare falafel patties, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take 2 tbs. of dough and roll into desired shape (flattening slightly to make a patty). Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. This is another opportunity to freeze patties if desired, first on the baking sheet, and then removing to a bag once frozen.

Let patties rest for 15 minutes on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove, flip and return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately, or freeze in prepared form if necessary. I recommend serving patties as part of a falafel salad with mixed greens, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, olives, feta and carrot with a lemon-cilantro dressing.

Relax. Eat Well.