I spent most of my life being completely unaware of how delicious falafel is, as I only discovered it around 3 years ago. I’ve been a huge fan ever since but I actually never attempted to make it myself, until last week and I can say for sure I will be doing this at least once a week. It’s an ideal lunch during the weekend, it’s so quick and you can experiment with the flavours then as well. You can make it more spicy for example, change the texture (make it less smooth) or use fava beans instead of chickpeas, grill them or pan-fry them instead of deep-frying them.
I had mine with some homemade avocado hummus, for which I’ll be sharing the recipe next week. But if you’re dying for some homemade hummus in the meanwhile, have a look at my paprika hummus (with homemade tahini paste) that I posted a while ago. One more tip I can give is that they taste amazing with some sundried tomatoes as well, especially if you heat them up as well and then add them to a fresh cold salad.
My recipe uses chickpeas, a tiny bit of spice and I also blended my mixture quite a lot for a smooth inside. The first time I made them I pan-fried them, but for this recipe I ended up deep-frying them, as that’s the more traditional way to cook them. It obviously makes them less healthy, but in general they are still quite good for you as “Falafel is bean-based, so it provides all the benefits of beans! It provides the filling, satisfying part of chickpeas in addition to being a high quality protein. Falafel has an Amino Acid Score of 111, which means that is a complete/ high quality protein. For people looking for a low fat/low calorie protein source, this is great addition to your diet. High quality proteins help your body replace all the tissues, organs and cells in the body that are constantly being broken down and replaced.“- FitDay
Adding to that, Livestrong says: “As a legume, chickpeas are considered both a vegetable and protein food, helping you hit two important food groups at once. These nutty beans are rich in a number of important nutrients that keep you well — including protein, vitamins and minerals — and they provide fiber too. Including chickpeas in your diet may play a role in reducing your risk of a number of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.”
Makes: 15 small falafel
- 240g chickpeas (soaked overnight or from a tin)
- 1 red onion
- 2 tablespoons of curly parsley
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4-6 tablespoons of flour (Can be gluten-free)
- salt and pepper
The preparation is quite easy, peel the outer skin from your onion, chop it roughly and add it to a food processor along with the chickpeas, spices and baking powder. Add the curly parsley as well and add crushed garlic.
Mix until the onion is chopped, then add flour as well. Start by 4 and add more if it’s falling apart too much. You can now mix more or use a spoon to mix the flour. I had a very smooth mixture myself but you can of course go for something with more structure if you prefer. Try avoiding big chunks of chickpeas however.
Shape them into balls or flatten them if you want falafel burgers.
Next up I heated a deep fryer to 190°C and deep-fried the falafel for a couple of minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Alternatively you can heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and pan-fry them.