Let me set the record straight - I love a crispy fried falafel as much as the next person. But when it comes to cooking at home I just can´t bring myself to deep frying anything.
A baked falafel is a healthy and delicious alternative. Sprouting your chickpeas takes this falafel recipe to the next level in terms of nutritional value. To learn more about how and why sprouting your chickpeas is a good idea check out what Nele Liivlaid has to say about it.
Once you get the hang of making the basic falafel mixture them you can get super creative with what spices you choose.
This recipe is more time intensive than it is labor intensive. It takes a bit of planning ahead to sprout the chickpeas but so worth it! Chickpeas can take 3 to 4 days to sprout.
Basic Falafal mixture
▪ 1 cup of dried chickpeas (soaked in water overnight - 12 hours, if you don't want to sprout)*
▪ 1 onion, diced
▪ 4 cloves of garlic, minced
▪ 1 tsp ground cumin
▪ 1/2 tsp ground coriander
▪ 1/2 tsp baking powder
▪ Zest of one lemon
▪ 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
▪ 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
To make Carrot Turmeric Falafels add:
▪ 1 carrot, diced
▪ 1 tsp turmeric powder
To make Parsley Falafels add:
▪ 1 cup cut and washed parsley
▪ optional: for this recipe I added a spoon full of a green superfood mix I use in smoothes ;).
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Drain and rinse the sprouted chickpeas. Add chickpeas and diced onion to a food processor or Vitamix (which it what I used) pulse a couple of times.
3. Add in the rest of the falafel ingredients and blend until it forms a soft paste-like consistency. You may need to stop a couple of times to scrape down the sides. If it's too dry, add in a couple of tablespoons of water and blend again. You should be able to pick it up and form a ball, and it should stick together. It's meant to be quite a wet, soft mixture. As long as it sticks together, they will be fine. If your mixture is too wet then drain it using a sieve.
4. This is where you can get creative. To make the carrot and turmeric falafels place the diced carrot in the food processor and pulse a few times until the carrot is chopped into small course pieces. Then add the carrots to the falafel mixture and stir in the turmeric. To make the parsley falafels, take the cup of parsley leaves and chop in the food processor until very little. Add to the falafel mixture.
5. Using a tablespoon, spoon out some mixture and form into a ball. You can make them more into a patty if you wish by pressing them down with your palm.
6. Place falafels on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
7. Bake 10-12 minutes, flip patties and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until falafel are golden and cooked through.
If you really want to fry your falafels, by all means go ahead! Ioften bake a double batch of falafels and store them in the freezer. To heat them up I fry them (just a bit). Here is how I do it:
1. Add oil to the frypan, just enough for the oil to cover around half the falafel. I didn't put how much oil as it depends on how shallow your frypan is.
2. Put the pan on high and wait until the oil warms up. I usually just hover my hand over the top of the pan to see how hot it is. Once it's quite warm, add in a test falafel to see if it starts to sizzle and fry straight away. If it does, it's ready. If not, wait until it does. Once it's ready, reduce heat to medium-high.
3. Add in as many balls into the pan as you can comfortably, and fry for about 30 seconds to a minute on either side. When flipping, be careful not to splash oil everywhere. Repeat until they are all done. The mix should make around 18-20 falafels.
4. Serve with hummus and tahini or on a salad…. the possibilities are endless. Pictured is Carrot & Turmeric Falafels served on a bed of sesame crusted kale chips with a lemony hummus drizzle.
*The chickpeas should not come from a can. They should be dried and soaked as we don't cook them. When soaking, make sure you add plenty of water as they absorb quite a lot of it.