Falafel is Middle Eastern food gone mainstream, and for good reason. Crispy, spicy, and packed with enough protein (from the chickpeas) to keep you full, it's no wonder it has risen among the ranks of popular fast foods. Especially when wedged between warm toasted pita bread and drizzled with tzatziki, falafel simply can do no wrong. Or can it? When it comes to nutrition, a lot of what falafel inherently offers — plant-based protein, fiber, and a dose of veggies — is compromised during the frying process. This recipe keeps true to falafel's promise of fragrant herbs, hit-the-spot spices, and hearty chickpeas, but using a healthier cooking method — baking. It is then served with the usual suspects.
Figure-Friendly Baked Falafel
Makes about 20 pieces
What You'll Need:
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 handful parsley, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons organic oat flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Up to 1 tablespoon water
What to Do:
- Let the chickpeas soak in water overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add to a pot of water and boil for 5 minutes. This will yield about 2.5 cups of chickpeas.
- After the chickpeas are cool, place them into a food processor and pulse until broken down but still slightly grainy — not hummus consistency!
- Transfer the chickpeas to a deep bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the water. Fold the ingredients together until evenly combined. Add water as necessary to help hold the falafel together.
- Use clean hands to make round balls, about 1.5 inches thick to make about 20 balls.
- Place them on a cooking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until slightly browned. If you bake them in a small oven, make sure to keep the oven door a little bit open whilst baking to allow the moisture to release.
- Enjoy with warm pita bread, chopped tomatoes, chopped greens, and yogurt.