Mediterranean food is by far my favorite type of food. The flavors are so fresh and bright. Lemon and parsley and my personal favorite- tahini sauce- are all ubiquitous. Not to mention its typically pretty vegan friendly. In Cambridge, we have a Lebanese restaurant that is maybe my favorite restaurant of all time. Their hummus is impossibly smooth, their falafel is light and crispy and they have a dish that made me fall in love with red kidney beans which I thought was the only bean I didn't like.
But lets get back to the reason were all here. The falafel:
While this falafel isn't the same as the deep fried restaurant stuff, it still has tons of flavor and gets nicely crisp on the outside. Its perfect to put in a pita or wrap or to eat along with salad ad rice- with plenty of tahini sauce, of course.
Oven Baked Falafel
Serves 2-3 as part of a meal
1 Cup Onion, Roughly Chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove, Roughly Chopped
3 Tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Cumin
3/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups Parsley- Leaves only
3/4 Cup Cilantro** Optional
2 Tbsp Tahini
2-15 oz Cans of Lower Sodium Chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed
4-6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 425* F. Into the bowl of your food processor add the onion, garlic, spices and lemon juice. Pulse a few times to chop the onion. Scrape down the bowl of the food processor with a rubber spatula and pulse a couple more times.
Add the herbs, and pulse a few more times to chop the herbs and combine them with the onion and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse once more.
Next add the chickpeas and tahini and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until the chickpeas are mostly combined with the herb and onion, but not smooth- you still want to see chunks of chickpeas. If you completely blend the chickpeas, the falafel will turn out dense and gummy. So work carefully and only use the pulse button.
Now, remove the bowl from the base of the food processor and remove the blade. Sprinkle the flour over top of the mixture and gently stir the flour in with your spatula. Your mixture should be tacky to the touch but shouldn't completely stick all over your hands if you touch it. I start with 1/4 cup of flour here and its usually perfect but add a couple tablespoons more if you need it.
Onto a parchment lined baking tray portion your dough out in about 3Tbsp dollops leaving about an inch and a half of space between each falafel. For this I use a non-stick sprayed 1/4 Cup measure that I don't quite fill all the way. You should get about 16 falafels. You may find that you need a second baking sheet depending on how much space you leave between your falafel. Once your dough is all portioned out, gently pat it down with your fingers to about 1/2 inch thickness.
Bake at 425* F for 15 minutes, remove from the oven ad flip each falafel over with a spatula, then put back into the oven for 10-20 more minutes. For me the sweet spot is 15 minutes, but if your falafel are a little smaller or bigger they may take a little more or less time, so check them after 10. They should be golden brown.
Serve in a pita, or with rice and salad with plenty of hummus and tahini sauce for dipping.
** If you hate cilantro, leave it out! I have made them without cilantro and they are still amazing.
Let me know how you like this recipe!