Falafel is typically vegan, and its main ingredient is chickpeas, a nutritious pulse. The falafel sold by street vendors, however, is deep fried, which adds lots of oil and calories. Deep frying is also one of the least healthy ways to cook – I deep fry only a handful of times a year, all on special occasions and holidays.
What's does a health conscious falafel fan do? Glad you asked.
If you love falafel but try to minimize deep frying this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for: The falafel is baked, not fried, but I promise you won’t miss it.
Most falafel recipes use some flour to hold the mixture together. In this recipe, though, Ayala's Magic Spice does the trick, so this falafel is gluten free, and has an added nutritional kick.
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- small bunch fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch of hot red pepper
- 2 tablespoon Ayala's Magic Spice
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Soak the chickpeas in a large bowl with enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches overnight, then drain.
Place the garlic in the food processor fitted with the steel blade, and process throughly. Add the drained, uncooked chickpeas, onion, parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, Ayala's Magic Spice and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Form the chickpea mixture into flattened balls, about 1.5 inches in diameter (the size of a walnut). Pack the mixture really tightly so it holds together.
Spray or brush the balls with a little bit of olive oil.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until firm to the touch, crispy and a little brown.
The natural companions of falafel are hummus, tahini, chopped vegetable salad, pickles and hot sauce, but you can be creative and combine it with whatever you wish.
In a pita: It's the classic street food of the middle east.
On a plate: with hummus, pickles and salad, make sure the falafel is separated from wet ingredients such as salad, so it won't get soggy.
In a bowl/jar: I like packing it in a wide mouthed mason jar. I start with the vegetable salad at the bottom, on top of that some hummus and pickles, a few dry leaves of greens to separate the wet ingredients, and a few falafel balls on top.