During my ‘culinary road trip endeavor’ at the boarding school, I tweeted about my cooking experience. Specifically the day I crafted about 100  hand made falafel and wanted to know if I could add ‘falafel making’ as a LinkedIn skill. Post-Tweet, I had lots of requests for an intro to this protein packed vegetarian option. I’ve made a some changes to the school's recipe, (which called for 8 pounds of chickpeas), and scaled it back to fit your home. Unless you really, really like falafel. Then you can email me for the 8 pounds of chickpea and 18 cloves of garlic version. These oven baked beauties have a kick of cayenne and a crispy shell, but served with yogurt cilantro sauce, they're an all around party pleaser.

What is falafel? 

Falafel is a spiced vegetarian bean patty that is traditionally fried. There are two main regional types of falafel. In Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan, chickpeas and  fava beans are used. In Israel, falafel are made only with chickpeas. Falafel is often served with pita bread, a yogurt sauce, and a variety of vegetable toppings like onion, lettuce, or cucumber. I personally like falafel over a salad with extra herbs and lemon.

Is falafel healthy?

Falafel can be part of a healthy diet if you bake it as in this recipe, not fry it. Since the falafel is filled with protein rich chickpeas and anti-inflammatory foods like garlic, falafel is a functional food! It’s also flavor packed with cumin and parsley, meaning you don't have to load on extra salt or fat.

Baked Falafel Recipe

Ingredients

  • 15 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 th large white onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 -2 T flour
  • cilantro
  • olive oil
  • yogurt/sour cream

Directions

Add all ingredients except the sour cream and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse until chickpeas are mashed and ingredients are thoroughly distributed. The mixture should be close to a paste consistency. Let the mixture rest for 30 mins.

Lightly spread olive oil onto a baking sheet with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Roll the chickpea mixture into small, slightly flattened balls (they should be ping pong ball sized). Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the falafel are browned and crisp on the outside.

Are you a falafel newbie? Try it!

-Carlene 

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.