It was summer 1993 when I first tasted falafel on a street in Tel Aviv and I admit I loved it. Until then I did not know that in all the countries of the Middle East, the food you easily find in every corner of the city, is something like our own Greek souvlaki, not with meat, but with chickpeas meatballs.
For the uninitiated, the falafel is fried chickpea (sometimes they also use fava beans) served in a pita with vegetables (fresh or pickled), chile sauce and tahini sauce. Sometimes falafel is served neat as a snack.
Nowadays falafel has become widely known and sold almost everywhere. The “junk” food of the Middle East, has conquered all the cities of the world and has fans, as it is ideal for vegetarians. As for the vegetables and the sauces that come along, there you can find many variations.
Chickpeas are rich in magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, iron and vitamins B & C. They have great nutritional value, like all legumes, and zero amount of sodium, so it is an ideal food for those who suffer from hypertension. Mostly, though, chickpeas are a rich source of protein, carbohydrates and fiber.
The traditional recipe calls for deep friyng the falafel. On the contrary, we will bake them in the oven in order to have a healthier result, while maintaining the nutritional value of the ingredients of our recipe.
Preparation & cooking time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4-6 (makes approx. 10 medium sized falafels)
- 350 g. (12oz.) chickpeas cooked and drained (about 2 ½ cups)*
- The water in which you boiled the chickpeas
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped (you can use half the amount of parsley and half the quantity of chopped coriander)
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon chile flakes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons wholemeal breadcrumbs
for the tahini sauce:
- 1 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ – 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed in a mortar with a little salt
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
Also, you will need:
- arabic bread, medium size
- tomatoes , cut in medium sized pieces
- cucumbers, cut in medium sized pieces
- onions, cut into rings (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180o (375o F)
- In food processor combine all ingredients except bread crumbs and pulse until they become crumbly. Do not puree.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Your mixture should easily be shaped into a patty. If it need more fluid, add a bit of chickpeas water. If the mixture is already too watery add some of the breadcrumbs, a little at a time.
- Form the falafel into patties and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes on each side, until browned.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce by mixing all the ingredients together.
- Once the falafels are baked, warm as many Arab pies you will need. Cut them with a knife just above the middle, split them and stuff them with 1 or 2 falafels, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, onions and tahini sauce.
And you healthy homemade falafel is ready!!! Enjoy!!
*you will need approx. 175 gr. (6oz.) dried chickpeas
Nutritional Facts per Serving
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