Homemade Falafel

I’ve been trying to incorporate one, if not two, meatless meals into our weekly dinner lineup . Not only does it make for a healthy, inexpensive meal, but it makes me feel better when we do our part to reduce our carbon footprint. Last week we tried these homemade falafels. Unlike some falafels, these ones are pan-fried, not deep-fried which is an added bonus in my book. (Don’t get me wrong, I love fried food, but we’re trying to be healthy over here!).

IMG_4366I’ve made falafels at home a handful of times but always used a store-bought dry mix. Making them from scratch leaves out all those sketchy sounding ingredients that you can’t pronounce, plus they taste way better!

You’ll need

  • 1 –  19 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried on paper towel
  • 2/3 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if you don’t like parsley try adding cilantro instead)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 – 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of dry breadcrumbs
  • 4 small pita breads (I used whole wheat but white is tasty too)
  • 1 cup of store-bought or homemade tzatziki 
  • 1 cup of hummus – usually a deli will have a tasty one but it’s easy to make at home too.
  • Hot sauce
  • 2 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1/2 cucumber (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • Shredded green leaf lettuce

IMG_4361Get Busy

Mash the chickpeas with a fork in a large bowl. I did this part at the dining table while watching T.V. –  you could also use a food processor if you have one, it could save a bit of time.

IMG_4392Stir in the onions, parsley, 1 tbsp of olive oil, cumin, baking powder, garlic, lemon juice, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper. The mixture will still be loose at this point. Have no fear.

IMG_4404Gradually add the breadcrumbs (you may not need to use the entire cup). Go ahead and use store-bought breadcrumbs, but remember, it’s a cinch to make them at home. If you have a day or two old loaf just tear it up and pop it into the food processor (if using fresh just dry it out in the oven for ten minutes at 350 degrees).

IMG_4407The crumbly appearance of my mixture had me a bit worried. That’s when I decided it was best to get in there and really mix it up with my hands. Voila! These little babies just needed a bit of elbow grease. Form into compact 1-inch balls.

IMG_4371To make the veggie salsa just mix the diced cucumber, tomato and red onion with salt and pepper to taste. Finish the salsa with a good squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.

IMG_4418Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large fry pan. Add the falafel balls and cook until golden brown all over. This will take roughly fifteen minutes. Allow to rest on paper towel while you assemble your pita.

IMG_4427In a slightly warmed pita spread a healthy dose of hummus, top with a small handful of lettuce, a couple of tablespoons of tzatziki, 2-3 falafel balls, the fresh salsa, and hot sauce if you’d like.

Serves 4

*works well for lunch or dinner. I suggest serving right away since they can dry out over time. However, I did have mine for lunch as leftovers and just amped up the tzatziki serving.

Enjoy! 

Recipe source Balls! By Angela Murrills

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