Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, with savory Middle Eastern spices and chickpea flavor dipped in tahini sauce–what’s not to love about falafels? Nothing except, well, it’s deep-fried and oily–and after the eating-fun is over, you feel bloated and sluggish. So I created a weeknight dinner-worthy version that tastes amazing! These babies bear no resemblance to the sad, cold, dry and heavy falafels at the Whole Foods salad bar. They’re fluffy and light on the inside and golden brown and crispy on the outside–with almost no oil. ( A sprinkle of olive oil before putting in the oven is optional, though tasty). Pop in some of your favorite vegetables next to the falafels on the baking tray, and you have an easy, delicious, and healthy dinner.
Amazing Baked Falafels
Makes 10 falafel balls
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
3/4 cup Italian (flat leaf) parsley, chopped fine and packed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Chop up the onion and parsley. Put them in a blender or food processor, along with chickpeas, spices, and nutritional yeast. Process until the consistency turns pasty. Salt and pepper generously.
3. Spread the breadcrumbs on a plate. Take about 2 tbsp of the chickpea paste in your hands, roll into a ball over the breadcrumbs so that it is coated evenly. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Repeat until all the chickpea paste is used up.
4. If using, sprinkle the 1/2 tsp olive oil over the falafel balls. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until one side is golden brown and crispy. Flip them over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the other side is also golden brown. Serve immediately for best taste.
Serving ideas: Pita bread or rice; fresh tomatoes; sauteed portobello mushrooms; roasted fennel; tahini sauce (below)
4 tbsp tahini
5-6 tbsp water
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, mix tahini, lemon juice, garlic clove together, and add water one tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously until it reaches a creamy consistency. Salt and pepper generously.
More dinner ideas: Coconut Curried Chickpeas with Choi Sum
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling