Mediterranean food is a staple at Casa de Pepper, but up until this week – falafel is one of those things that has always escaped the clutches of my home cooking attempts. Supremely fun to say [Try it: FALAFEL!], but somewhat intimidating to make.
After opting to skip over the boxed mixes at the store (and only ordering it at a restaurant when I can find it baked instead of fried), I decided it was time to take the blending and rolling and baking of these delicious little balls into my own hands.
Click through for this healthy how-to (only 260 cals per serving), and let me know if you try it for yourself!
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves (or cilantro)
- 1/4 cup raw unsalted pepitas
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 small yellow or white onion
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (toast these in a dry pan first for extra flavor!)
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- hearty pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and spray a baking sheet generously with your Misto (I use grapeseed oil for of my cooking).
Pulse the herbs in your food processor first, then add the pepitas and onion, pulsing again to chop well. Using the pulse function on your device is key here… because blending for too long on a consistent speed will make it much too pasty to work with. Add the chickpeas, garlic, oil, water, cumin, caraway seeds, ground flax seeds and baking soda; blend for about thirty seconds. You may want to use a spoon, 10 or 15 seconds in, just to make sure everything is mixed – keep in mind that we’re aiming for a fairly coarse consistency.
Using a rounded tablespoon (or melon baller) and your hands, make 18-20 small round falafels balls. Arrange on your baking sheet, and pop them in the oven for about 16-20 minutes, making sure to carefully flip them halfway through. They should end up browning nicely on either side, and will hold together well once they’ve cooled on the counter a bit.
While the falafel balls were cooking, I threw together a simple Greek-inspired salad using a few handfuls of fresh spinach, baby kale leaves, kalamata olives, julienned carrots, grape tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette as dressing.
For the tzatziki: I mixed one single serving cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt with one teaspoon of dill, one minced clove of garlic, one small grated kirby cucumber (the adorable little seedless kind), and salt & pepper to taste.
FUNNY STORY ABOUT THE TZATZIKI… I was throwing this all together in a hurry the other night, and after shoving my pinky finger in to sample a nice big dollop (picture Mr. Pepper giving me a grossed-out look from across the room), realized that it tasted like the dregs of a day-old pot of office coffee*. What the what?! Took a look at the yogurt cup on the counter and realized I had accidentally grabbed a Cafe Latte flavored one by mistake… Oy vay. SO – I start over on the tzatziki, and single-handedly save the dinner from the land of disgusting. :)
This recipe makes enough to serve 3 hungry people, (but we are only two!) so the last portion got used in place of meatballs on top of my Baked Spaghetti Squash Marinara a few nights later.
I have a feeling this is going to become a staple dinner in our home, and plan to make it again this week so that we can wrap them in steamed cabbage leaves and serve with this creative take on homemade harissa.
Let me know if you try the recipe for yourself, and Happy Falafel-ing!
*Office Coffee: AKA, One of the #worstthings in the world.
High in dietary fiber, iron, vitamin A, vitamin b6, and vitamin C!