One of my favorite middle-eastern dishes is the falafel. Falafel is a ball or patty made from ground chickpeas (garbonzo beans) and usually served in a pita. They are usually deep-fried, but this recipe version can also be baked or cooked on a George Foreman-type grill. They are a filling and flavorful meat-replacer. – Jessica
1 med-large onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can chickpeas (garbonzo beans), or 1 1/2 cups cooked ones
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs (more or less)
- CHOP & MIX: In a food processor, mince the onion, parsley, and garlic very small. (You can also do this by hand, it will just take longer.) Add the chickpeas and pulse until they are chopped small, but still have some texture. We don’t want a mushy mess.
- STIR: In a medium sized bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, salt, black and cayenne peppers, lemon juice, baking powder, olive oil, and egg. Stir just until evenly mixed. Stir in the chickpea onion mixture.
- THICKEN AND FORM PATTIES: Slowly stir in the bread crumbs just until the mixture holds together well and you are able to form patties that are not too sticky and do not crumble apart when you try to flip them with a spatula. Form the mixture into balls and then flatten into patties. I like to make mine about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
- COOK: I like to cook my falafel on a George-Foreman type grill because it is so easy. Simply spray both sides of the falafel with a spray cooking oil and place then on the pre-heated grill. Cook until browned on both sides and cooked through. If baking in the oven instead, spray both sides of the falafel with spray cooking oil, bake them at 425 F for 20 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve in warm whole wheat pitas with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion and cucumber yogurt sauce (see dancing carrots recipe for cucumber yogurt sauce).