Traditionally, falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas. Falafel balls are usually served as a sandwich in a pita or other flatbread, but they can also be eaten alone, as a lettuce wrap or on a bed of lettuce as a salad. Falafel originated in Egypt but has become a popular dish eaten throughout the Middle East as a street or fast food. McDonald's even serves a "McFalafel" in some countries.
It was difficult to find falafel outside of a Middle Eastern or Jewish neighborhood prior to the 1970s in North America. Today, the dish is commonly found throughout North American cities.
Falafel is a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. But it is a delicious and healthy dish for anyone, especially when you forgo the deep-frying and opt to bake your falafel balls. The following baked falafel recipe was adapted from Foodologie.
1 cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
½ large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons flour
Soak beans overnight in plenty of water. The next day, put the garbanzo beans and onion in the food processor and pulse to roughly chop. Next, add remaining ingredients and pulse until combine. Refrigerate mixture for a few hours.
After the mixture is chilled, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Form the garbanzo bean mixture into 20 walnut-sized balls. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Turn and baked for another 15 minute.
Falafel tastes great topped with the following Yogurt Tahini sauce.
Yogurt Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water (more or less depending on how thick you want it)
Whisk together in a bowl and drizzle over falafel. This recipe makes enough to serve 4 or 5.
Serving suggestion: Make your falafel balls into lettuce wraps and top with a simple cucumber salad and yogurt tahini sauce.